Best California Beaches

California is certainly known for having some of the country’s most amazing beaches, but what most people don’t know is that not all of California’s beaches are created equal. Finding the best beaches can be difficult – especially since what’s considered the “best” changes depending on which area of California you’re in.

Let’s start up north. Many people who visit California assume that all the great beaches are in the south, but this isn’t true. While the northern beaches may be a bit colder and have more rocks than the southern ones, they still provide some beautiful waves and scenery. The beaches up north are a little less civilized, true, but that’s part of their charm. For example, the Lost Coast beach is a great place to backpack, and since it’s less crowded, you may actually have all the seashells and driftwood to yourself.

calibeachDown around central California, you’ll find a number of amazing beaches. The coastline of Big Sur is a terrific sight, although you won’t find much in the way of beach access here. Much of this area is protected from development, so you won’t find many hotels or restaurants. However, in this area, you can access the Carmel River State Beach, which is full of white sand you can play on. Monterey Bay is another nice beach to visit, as is Pismo Beach. Attractions in central California include surfing, swimming, scuba diving, whale watching excursions, and more. Kayaking in Ventura and hang gliding near Santa Barbara are also two very popular attractions in the area – just imagine soaring over the pristine beaches in a hang glider!

Next up is the San Francisco Bay Area. While you can find plenty to do in the city itself, there are also some nice beaches in the area. North of San Francisco lies Point Reyes and Marin County – two undeveloped areas that will make you feel like you’re miles from the city, even though you’re really only a few minutes from your hotel. On the coast near the city itself are a number of beaches, although many of them tend to be chilly and windy. You may find a few secluded areas to sunbathe, but your best bet is to look further south. The small communities south of San Francisco have some of the best beaches in the state – Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz are two very popular surfing locations, and both have very nice beaches.

As you might expect, southern California contains the most popular and well-known California beaches. Marina Del Rey is a great beach for small children since the cove is sheltered from large waves. Santa Monica’s beach comes complete with the Pacific Park amusement park and its nine-story Ferris Wheel that provides a unique and incredible view of the ocean. Zuma Beach features some great dining opportunities, with many restaurants offering views of the waves while you eat. Laguna Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Huntington Beach all also offer amazingly sandy beaches and warm waters to splash around in.

These are just a few of the many beaches in California. As you can see, there are a wide variety of beach types and settings in the state. This means you’re sure to find something for you – whether it’s the rocky shores of the north or the sandy beaches of the south.