10 Best Beaches for Families in California | Discover Now

best beaches for families in california

Greetings! If you’re planning a family beach vacation in California, you’ve come to the right place. California’s breathtaking coastline is home to some of the best beaches for families, offering a perfect mix of sun, sand, and family-friendly activities.

From Southern California’s sunny shores to Northern California’s picturesque beaches, there are endless options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for gentle waves for the little ones, exciting beachside attractions, or serene coastal landscapes, California has it all.

In this article, I’ll be your guide as we explore the top family-friendly beaches in California. From laid-back beach towns to vibrant beach destinations, we’ll uncover the hidden gems and popular hotspots that will make your family vacation unforgettable.

So grab your sunscreen, pack your beach gear, and let’s dive into the best beaches for families in California!

Key Takeaways:

  • California offers a wide range of family-friendly beaches, from Southern California to Northern California.
  • These beaches provide a safe and enjoyable experience for kids of all ages.
  • There are plenty of activities and attractions to keep the whole family entertained.
  • Whether you prefer calm waters or adventurous beachside fun, California has the perfect beach for your family vacation.
  • Don’t forget to explore the unique features and hidden gems of each beach destination!

Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach, located in San Diego County, is consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the nation for families. The sparkling shoreline is known for its soft sand and gentle waves, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for kids of all ages.

One of the highlights of Coronado Beach is its close proximity to the iconic Hotel del Coronado. Even if you’re not a guest at the hotel, you can still enjoy the amenities they offer at Del Beach, including chair and cabanette rentals and food and drink service right on the sand.

Make sure to explore the area during low tide to catch a glimpse of the sunken shipwreck and the tide pools in front of the hotel.

There are also plenty of other family-friendly activities in the area, making Coronado Beach a must-visit destination for families in California.

tide pools at Coronado Beach

La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores Beach, located in San Diego, is a fantastic destination for families looking for a fun-filled beach day. With its long and wide sandy stretch, this beach offers plenty of space for families to relax, play, and enjoy the sun. The gentle waves make it an ideal spot for swimming and boogie boarding, ensuring that everyone can cool off and have a great time in the water.

La Jolla Shores

One of the unique features of La Jolla Shores is the opportunity for tide pooling. During low tide, families can explore the fascinating tide pools and discover a variety of sea creatures up close. It’s a fantastic educational experience for kids and a chance to appreciate the natural beauty of the area.

In addition to beach activities, La Jolla Shores offers a beachside playground at Kellogg Park. Kids will have a blast playing on the swings, slides, and other equipment while enjoying the stunning views of the coastline.

With its beautiful shoreline, family-friendly activities, and opportunities for swimming, boogie boarding, and tide pooling, La Jolla Shores is a top choice for families visiting California. Make sure to pack your beach gear and create lasting memories at this family-friendly destination!

Newport Beach

Newport Beach, located in Orange County, is a premier destination for families seeking a memorable beach vacation. With its picturesque coastline and abundance of family-friendly activities, Newport Beach offers something for everyone. From the exciting thrills of the Balboa Fun Zone on the Balboa Peninsula to the serene beauty of Corona del Mar State Beach, there are endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation.

Newport Beach
  1. Balboa Peninsula: Families can spend their days exploring the Balboa Peninsula, which is home to the famous Balboa Fun Zone. This waterfront attraction is filled with amusement park rides, arcade games, and delicious treats, guaranteeing hours of fun and excitement for kids of all ages.
  2. Newport Beach Pier: If you’re looking for a leisurely stroll and breathtaking views of the coastline, the Newport Beach Pier is the perfect spot. Take in the panoramic vistas, watch surfers catching waves, or cast a line and try your hand at fishing.
  3. Corona del Mar State Beach: For families seeking a more relaxed beach experience, Corona del Mar State Beach is just a short distance away. The calm waters and picturesque surroundings provide the ideal setting for leisurely picnics, sunbathing, and beachcombing.

No matter what you’re looking for in a family beach vacation, Newport Beach has it all. From the excitement of the Balboa Fun Zone to the tranquility of Corona del Mar State Beach, this coastal paradise offers endless opportunities for unforgettable family memories. Pack your sunscreen, grab your beach towels, and get ready for an incredible adventure in Newport Beach.

Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica Beach is a popular destination for families, offering a wide range of activities and attractions. The Santa Monica Pier is a major highlight, featuring the Pacific Park amusement park with its iconic Ferris wheel and roller coaster. Families can enjoy a day of fun-filled rides, games, and delicious treats. The pier is also home to the Heal the Bay Aquarium, where kids can learn about marine life and interact with fascinating creatures. With its beautiful sandy beach, lively atmosphere, and family-friendly entertainment, Santa Monica Beach is a must-visit spot for families exploring California.

Santa Monica Beach

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach, located in Orange County, offers a unique coastal experience for families. The city is known for its artistic culture and picturesque landscapes, making it a favorite destination for families seeking a blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions.

Laguna Beach

Main Beach Park is a popular spot for families, with its sandy beach and playground. Kids can build sandcastles, play beach games, and enjoy the gentle waves. The park also offers picnic areas, perfect for a family lunch by the ocean.

Treasure Island Beach is another must-visit location in Laguna Beach. This hidden gem offers stunning views and a tranquil atmosphere. Families can explore the tide pools, where kids can discover fascinating marine life up close.

Aside from the beaches, Laguna Beach is home to various art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. Families can take a leisurely stroll through the town’s charming streets, admiring the artwork and grabbing a bite to eat. The artistic vibe of the city adds a unique touch to the beach experience and offers cultural enrichment for all visitors.

With its beautiful beaches, cultural attractions, and family-friendly activities, Laguna Beach is an ideal destination for families looking to create unforgettable memories by the sea.

Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City USA, is a paradise for families seeking sun, surf, and a lively beach town atmosphere. With its renowned surf culture, vibrant beach scene, and family-friendly amenities, Huntington Beach is a top choice for families visiting California.

The iconic Huntington Beach Pier is a must-visit destination, offering stunning views of the coastline and opportunities for fishing and strolling. The pier is a perfect spot for families to take a leisurely walk and enjoy the beauty of the ocean.

Huntington Beach Pier

Adjacent to the pier is the Huntington City Beach, which provides a wide sandy shore perfect for building sandcastles and enjoying beach activities. With plenty of space to run around and play, this family-friendly beach is a great place for kids to have fun in the sun.

Bolsa Chica State Beach is another fantastic option for families in Huntington Beach. This beach offers calm waters and picnic areas, providing a relaxing and enjoyable environment for the whole family.

Whether you want to catch some waves, explore the pier, or simply soak up the sun, Huntington Beach has something for everyone. Its beautiful coastline and family-friendly activities make it an unforgettable destination for families looking to create lasting memories.

Avila Beach

Avila Beach, located in San Luis Obispo County, offers a charming and family-friendly beach experience. With its relaxed atmosphere and array of family-oriented attractions, Avila Beach is a hidden gem for families seeking a laid-back beach getaway.

Avila Beach

The Avila Beach Pier is a focal point of the area, offering opportunities for fishing and relaxing. Take a leisurely stroll along the pier and enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline. It’s the perfect spot to spend quality time with your loved ones and create lasting memories.

For a fun-filled experience, head to the Avila Valley Barn. This family-friendly destination allows kids to interact with farm animals and enjoy exciting activities such as hayrides and corn mazes. It’s a great place to engage in outdoor fun and learn about agriculture.

If you’re a biking enthusiast, don’t miss the Bob Jones City to Sea Bike Trail. This scenic route provides a picturesque journey from Avila Beach to San Luis Obispo, allowing you and your family to immerse yourselves in the beauty of nature. Whether you prefer biking or walking, this trail offers a perfect opportunity for outdoor adventure.

Avila Beach is a destination that caters to families, ensuring that everyone has a wonderful time. With its family-friendly activities, picturesque pier, charming barn, and scenic bike trail, Avila Beach is the ideal place to relax, unwind, and create unforgettable memories with your loved ones.

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach, located in San Luis Obispo County, offers a classic beach town experience with its beautiful sandy shore and welcoming atmosphere. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or engage in various outdoor activities, Pismo Beach has something for everyone.

One of the main attractions of Pismo Beach is Pismo State Beach, a stretch of coastline that provides ample space for families to enjoy beach activities such as swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles. The beach is well-maintained and offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

A visit to Pismo Beach wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Pismo Beach Pier. This iconic landmark offers a picturesque spot for fishing and sightseeing. Walking along the pier, visitors can take in the panoramic ocean views and soak in the refreshing sea breeze.

Monarch Butterfly Grove

One of the unique attractions of Pismo Beach is the Monarch Butterfly Grove. Located nearby, this grove is a sanctuary for thousands of monarch butterflies that migrate there annually. Witnessing this mesmerizing natural phenomenon is truly a sight to behold and a memorable experience for families.

With its natural beauty and family-friendly activities, Pismo Beach is the perfect destination for a California beach vacation. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or the opportunity to witness the wonders of nature, Pismo Beach has it all.

Silver Strand State Beach

Silver Strand State Beach, located in San Diego, offers a unique beach experience with its pristine sands and beautiful views of the ocean and bay. Families can enjoy a variety of beach activities, from swimming and sunbathing to building sandcastles and playing beach games.

One of the highlights of Silver Strand State Beach is its location near the Coronado Cays Park, where families can have a picnic and enjoy the picturesque surroundings.

Silver Strand State Beach

The beach is also a popular spot for whale watching during the migration seasons. With its natural beauty and family-friendly amenities, Silver Strand State Beach is a hidden gem for families in California.

Mission Beach

Located in the sunny city of San Diego, Mission Beach offers a plethora of family-friendly activities and attractions that are sure to delight both kids and adults. One of the main highlights of Mission Beach is Belmont Park, a renowned amusement park that features the iconic Giant Dipper roller coaster, as well as various other thrilling rides, arcade games, and delicious food options.

For a leisurely stroll and breathtaking views of the ocean, families can explore the Mission Beach Boardwalk. This scenic promenade stretches along the beach and offers a vibrant atmosphere filled with street performers, shops, and restaurants. Kids can also enjoy building sandcastles and playing beach games in the soft sands of Mission Beach.

Just adjacent to Mission Beach is Mission Bay Park, a sprawling waterfront park that provides additional recreational opportunities. Families can indulge in activities such as picnicking, kayaking, paddleboarding, and even sailing. With its combination of exciting rides, stunning beachfront, and outdoor adventures, Mission Beach is truly a top choice for families seeking fun and adventure in California.


What are the best beaches for families in California?

Some of the best beaches for families in California include Coronado Beach, La Jolla Shores, Newport Beach, Santa Monica Beach, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Avila Beach, Pismo Beach, Silver Strand State Beach, and Mission Beach.

What family-friendly activities are available at Coronado Beach?

At Coronado Beach, families can enjoy activities such as exploring tide pools, visiting the sunken shipwreck, and taking advantage of amenities like chair and cabanette rentals and food and drink service at Del Beach.

What activities can families enjoy at La Jolla Shores?

Families visiting La Jolla Shores can engage in activities such as swimming, boogie boarding, and exploring the tide pools during low tide. The beachside playground at Kellogg Park also offers additional entertainment for kids.

What family-friendly attractions are there in Newport Beach?

Newport Beach offers attractions like the Balboa Fun Zone with amusement park rides and arcade games, the Newport Beach Pier with stunning views, and the tranquil Corona del Mar State Beach for a relaxed beach experience.

What are the highlights of Santa Monica Beach for families?

Santa Monica Beach is known for the Santa Monica Pier, which features the Pacific Park amusement park, the Ferris wheel, and the Heal the Bay Aquarium. Families can enjoy rides, games, and learn about marine life.

What makes Laguna Beach a family-friendly beach destination?

Laguna Beach offers a combination of natural beauty and cultural attractions. Families can enjoy Main Beach Park with its sandy beach and playground, explore Treasure Island Beach’s tide pools, and visit art galleries and boutiques in the town.

Why is Huntington Beach a popular choice for families?

Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City USA, offers a lively beach town atmosphere with attractions like the Huntington Beach Pier, Huntington City Beach with its wide sandy shore, and Bolsa Chica State Beach for calm waters and picnicking.

What family-friendly activities are available at Avila Beach?

Avila Beach offers activities such as fishing at the Avila Beach Pier, visiting the Avila Valley Barn with farm animals and fun activities, and enjoying the scenic Bob Jones City to Sea Bike Trail for biking and walking.

What attractions can families enjoy at Pismo Beach?

Families visiting Pismo Beach can enjoy beach activities at Pismo State Beach, fishing and sightseeing at the Pismo Beach Pier, and witnessing the annual migration of monarch butterflies at the Monarch Butterfly Grove.

What makes Silver Strand State Beach a family-friendly destination?

Silver Strand State Beach offers a pristine sandy beach, beautiful views of the ocean and bay, and nearby opportunities for picnicking at Coronado Cays Park. The beach is also a popular spot for whale watching during migration seasons.

What are the family-friendly activities available at Mission Beach?

Mission Beach offers a range of family-friendly activities, including visits to Belmont Park with its roller coaster, the Mission Beach Boardwalk with panoramic views, and Mission Bay Park for picnicking, kayaking, and paddleboarding.