Planning a seaside getaway? We’ve got the very best beaches in California. Whether you’re travelling as a family, in a couple or solo, these are the beaches that will win you over with crashing waves and soft sand.
This fun state has the perfect stretch of sand for everyone: couples looking for a romantic bay, families on a day out and watersports thrill-seekers…
Best Beaches in CaliforniaHow do these rankings work?
1. Pfeiffer Beach – Big Sur
This famous beach has purple-hued sand and is definitely off the beaten path, but well worth the drive. The focus point is Keyhole Rock, which has an amazing natural arch at the base where salt water and the last rays of sunlight shine through. Once you visit this it will instantly become clear why it’s one of the best beaches in California.
2. Glass Beach – Fort Bragg
This is no ordinary beach – Glass Beach gets its name from the smooth colourful glass pieces that make up its shore. Once a local dumping site, the glass has become pretty pebbles over the years and the beach is now a protected spot.
3. Bowling Ball Beach – Point Arena
This unique beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in America, with its large round rocks that resemble bowling balls. You’ll find this picture-perfect spot at the northern end of Schooner Gulch State Beach. You can only see the bowling balls at low tide, so plan your visit around it!
4. Coronado Beach – San Diego
Featured in Marilyn Monroe’s 1958 film “Some Like it Hot,” Coronado’s long sandy beaches are special and literally sparkle, thanks to the mineral mica in its golden sand. The stretch is 1.5 mile long, with several little bays to explore.
5. Newport Beach – Newport Beach
For picturesque views of California’s sunrise and sunsets, Newport Beach is among the state’s best beaches. The beach also has a thriving surf scene, thanks to more than 8 miles of sand and the bodysurfers’ bucket-list spot known as the Wedge.
6. Venice Beach – Los Angeles
Venice Beach is one of many great L.A. beaches, but it’s the only one where the lively Venice Beach boardwalk is more of an attraction than the ocean itself.
Be sure to take full advantage of the Metro Bike Share on Venice Beach. 24-hour access costs just $5, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore the local hotspots: The Boardwalk, Muscle Beach, and the Venice Canals.
7. Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach is the sandy hub of so-called ‘Surf City’ in Orange County, with a curving shoreline, where you can bicycle down an oceanfront path, play volleyball, and, of course, surf. There’s 10 miles of beaches and consistent swells. Enjoy great viewing of some of the local surfers riding the waves alongside the landmark Huntington Beach Pier.