California stretches from the Mexican border, along the Pacific Ocean, for approximately 900 miles. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations not only in the USA, but also in the whole world. There are no shortage of beautiful ( both natural and man-made) attractions - from the Golden Gate Bridge and Yosemite National Park, to the famous Disneyland. All of this makes people keep coming back to California.
A big part of the California’s beauty are its approximately 400 beaches spreading over the 900 mile coastline. Secluded, crowded, sunny, foggy, rocky or sandy – whatever type of beach falls into your tastes, you are sure to find it.
As such, here are 10 of the best and most popular beaches in California (in no particular ranking or order):
1. Carmel Beach
Clear silvery sand, fine-looking cypress trees and stunning sunsets - these words are synonymous to the popular Carmel beach. The best thing you can do here is to lose yourself in the middle of scenic beauty while leaving footprints behind on the fine silvery sand, making it a great place for romantic gateways as well. A yearly sand castle building contest takes place on this beach, indicating how good the quality of the sand is. The sunset on the beach is breathtakingly beautiful, and you will certainly fall in love with it once you see it. In fact, watching the sunset is a community event in the surrounding area of the beach. Put all these things together and Carmel beach will definitely leave its mark on your mind.
2. Cayucos State Beach
With its laid back feel, Cayucos state beach takes pride in its miles and miles of unscathed terrain and spotless sands. If you feel like spending some time with just yourself, or with the company with someone you love, walking Cayucos beach towards the horizon could be a very good option. There’s a public pier named Cayucos Pier for fishing in the marina and other popular activities include, but are not limited to: kayaking, kiteboarding, surfing or simply beachcombing.
3. Coronado Beach
If you ever step foot in San Diego and don’t visit Coronado Beach, you will regret it for lifetime! Why is that? Because… you have missed a great, magical beauty! A l-o-n-g expanse of soft, clean white sands as far as the eye can see, changing colors with the passing of the waves, and the sky above like a scene out of a fairy tale. The beach isn’t very crowded and is perfect for swimming, volleyball games, skim boarding and dog running/walking; the iconic Hotel del Coronado also sits here on this beach. If you live somewhere close to the beach, we highly recommend grabbing a mens bike or one of the best womens cruiser bikes and ride around this spectacular beach, all the while enjoying the views and gentle breeze.
4. East Beach
Set in Santa Barbara, East beach is renowned for its palm trees, volleyball courts, bike path and the best beachfront diner serving marvelous blueberry pancakes. Probably the most attractive part of this beach is that it’s not very large, as well as not being very crowded. It’s perfect for spending a day to get out of the city life, and the surrounding environment is so beautiful and engaging that anybody living in a city would love to spend at least a few hours strolling on the beach. If you aren’t fond of beach sports, you could rent a bike and ride over the beach.
5. Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach is one of the many typical southern California beaches that are often seen in movies. Girls in bikinis, surfers, joggers, sunbathers and beach sports players are seen everywhere. Being so popular, it’s no surprise that the beach is always crowded, but that doesn’t lessen its beauty. In fact, all these things are a part of the total charm of Manhattan Beach. There is a long spectacular pier as well, which is quite a famous photography spot.
6. Pfeiffer Beach
Pfeiffer Beach is a wonderful yet hard-to-find secret of California. It’s an isolated beach with a rocky coastline and quite unique in nature. The beach is small and fat, full of boulders, and purple sands which make it spectacular among all California’s beaches. Even the journey to the beach is an adventure, with towering roadside redwoods saying “hello” to visitors. There is a gigantic boulder lying on the beach with a big hole that seems like a doorway, with waves constantly flowing through. Visitors use the boulder and keyhole as an excellent backdrop for amazing sunset pictures, particularly during the winter season.
7. Moonstone Beach
Thinking of keeping your head down from the crowd for some time? If so, head off to the Moonstone beach situated in Cambria. The beach is quite simple and calm and not run over by the typical beach loving crowd, and a long wooden path set alongside the beach will make your walk more enjoyable; you won’t even have to step on the sand even after walking for miles! If you are lucky enough, you can also enjoy the playful activities of sea otters, whales and dolphins together with the picturesque crashing waves against the shoreline.
8. Santa Monica State Beach
Not far from downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica Beach is vast and offers picturesque views of mountains, popular volleyball courts, fine bike paths and acre after acre of beige-colored clean, fine sand. Along with the beach, the famous Santa Monica Pier is also another big crowd attraction. The pier features shopping, food, rides and an aquarium.
9. Venice Beach
It’s quite likely that Venice Beach will look familiar to you, because there is a high chance you may have seen it in any beach-themed movie. The place is heavily crowded and it may look more like a circus than a beach on your first visit. Apart from the beach, the place is popular for its singers, jesters, snake charmers and jugglers. A nice boardwalk is also available where you can see lots of small shops selling everything from food to shirts and souvenirs.
10. Baker Beach
Baker Beach is a mile long white, sandy stretch located at the bottom of steep, serpentine cliffs, and the famous Golden Gate Bridge is straight east of it. The beach is excellent for surfing, fishing and sunbathing, but not for swimming as the undertow and rip currents make it quite perilous. You can stroll along and enjoy the amazing views of Land’s End, Marin Headlands and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
These are some of the perfect beaches to relax, swim, take part in beach sports and just completely forget about your busy life. If you are planning a vacation in California, consider visiting as many of these beaches as you can to make your experience a very memorable one. Alternatively, if you’re planning a beach vacation in Texas, you should check out this list of best Texas beaches. Happy Travels!