15 Best Beaches for Kids in California – Family Fun Await!

best beaches for kids in california

California is known for its beautiful beaches and sunny weather, making it the perfect destination for a family vacation. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which beaches are best for kids. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the 15 best beaches for kids in California. From Coronado Beach to Leo Carrillo State Park, these beaches offer a wide range of activities and amenities that are sure to keep the whole family entertained. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a weeklong getaway, California’s family-friendly beaches have something for everyone.

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Best Beaches for Kids in California

  • California offers a wide variety of family-friendly beaches for kids to enjoy.
  • Coronado Beach in San Diego is known for its wide sandy shores, gentle surf, and range of activities.
  • La Jolla Shores, also in San Diego, offers gentle waves, clear waters, and the opportunity to explore tide pools.
  • Newport Beach in Orange County is a popular destination with calm waters, sandy shores, and a range of activities including surfing and boogie boarding.
  • Santa Monica Beach in Los Angeles features iconic attractions such as the Santa Monica Pier and offers a range of activities for kids.
  • Laguna Beach in Orange County combines natural beauty with an artistic atmosphere, offering a unique beach experience.

1. Coronado Beach

Activities at Coronado Beach

Located in San Diego, Coronado Beach is a top choice for families seeking a perfect beach experience. With its wide sandy shores and gentle surf, this beach offers a safe and enjoyable environment for kids to play and explore. The stunning views of the Pacific Ocean add to the overall charm of Coronado Beach.

coronado beach

One of the highlights of Coronado Beach is the iconic Hotel del Coronado, which offers a plethora of activities and amenities for families. Kids will love the hotel’s kids’ club, beachfront dining options, and water sports rentals. With the cleanliness of the beach and the presence of lifeguard services, parents can have peace of mind while their children have a fantastic time at Coronado Beach.

There are numerous activities to keep kids entertained at Coronado Beach. They can let their creativity flow by building sandcastles, engage in some friendly competition with beach volleyball, or enjoy the thrill of flying kites against the backdrop of the beautiful ocean. Kids can also splash in the surf and create lasting memories with their family.

Coronado Beach is an ideal spot for picnics, barbecues, and family gatherings, providing ample space for families to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Additionally, the nearby Hotel del Coronado offers a range of family-friendly activities, including bike rentals, beach bonfires, and outdoor movies. With so many options available, Coronado Beach ensures that kids will have a day filled with fun and excitement.

2. La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores, located in San Diego, is another great beach for families. With its gentle waves, wide sandy shores, and clear waters, it’s the perfect place for kids to swim and play. The beach is also home to the Birch Aquarium, which offers interactive exhibits and educational programs for kids of all ages.

La Jolla Shores

In addition to swimming and exploring the tide pools, kids can also try their hand at kayaking, snorkeling, or even stand-up paddleboarding. With its family-friendly atmosphere and range of activities, La Jolla Shores is a must-visit beach for kids in California.

Activities at La Jolla Shores

There are plenty of activities for kids to enjoy at La Jolla Shores. They can swim in the gentle waves, explore the tide pools, or play beach volleyball. The beach is also a popular spot for kayaking, snorkeling, and stand-up paddleboarding. The Birch Aquarium offers interactive exhibits and educational programs that are sure to engage and entertain kids of all ages. With so much to do, La Jolla Shores is a beach that kids will love.

3. Newport Beach

Newport Beach, located in Orange County, is a popular destination for families looking for the best beaches for kids in California. With its wide sandy shores, calm waters, and range of activities, it offers a family-friendly beach experience that is sure to delight kids of all ages.

newport beach activities for kids

Activities at Newport Beach

There are plenty of fun activities for kids to enjoy at Newport Beach. Whether they want to swim in the calm waters, play beach volleyball, or build towering sandcastles on the shore, there is something for every child to explore and enjoy.

  • Swim and splash in the gentle waves
  • Play beach volleyball with friends and family
  • Build elaborate sandcastles and sand sculptures
  • Learn to surf or try boogie boarding for an adrenaline-filled adventure

In addition, Newport Beach is home to the iconic Balboa Fun Zone. This waterfront amusement park offers a variety of arcade games, thrilling rides, and even whale watching tours. Kids can have a blast playing games and going on rides, creating unforgettable memories with their family along the way.

With its range of activities and family-friendly atmosphere, Newport Beach is the ideal destination for families seeking a fun-filled day at the beach. From building sandcastles to experiencing the excitement of the Balboa Fun Zone, Newport Beach has something to offer every young beachgoer.

4. Santa Monica Beach

Activities at Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica Beach, located in Los Angeles, is a classic California beach that offers a wide range of family-friendly activities. Whether you’re looking for a day of swimming, building sandcastles, or exploring the iconic Santa Monica Pier, this beach has it all.

santa monica beach

When visiting Santa Monica Beach, kids can enjoy:

  • Swimming in the ocean
  • Playing beach volleyball
  • Building sandcastles on the sandy shores

One of the highlights of Santa Monica Beach is the Santa Monica Pier. Kids will love the amusement park, featuring exciting rides, games, and even an aquarium. Families can also take a leisurely bike ride or walk along the beachfront bike path, enjoying the scenic views of the coastline. The grassy areas are perfect for picnics and relaxation, allowing you to soak up the California sun.

With its range of activities and the iconic Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica Beach is a must-visit destination for families looking for a memorable beach experience in California.

5. Laguna Beach

Activities at Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach, located in Orange County, is known for its beautiful coastline and artistic community. It’s also a great beach for families, with its gentle waves, tide pools, and range of activities. Kids can swim in the ocean, explore the tide pools, or even try their hand at skimboarding. The beach is also home to several art galleries and shops, providing a unique and cultural experience for the whole family. With its natural beauty and artistic atmosphere, Laguna Beach is a beach that kids will love.

There are plenty of activities for kids to enjoy at Laguna Beach. They can swim in the gentle waves, explore the tide pools, or try their hand at skimboarding. The beach is also home to several art galleries and shops, providing a unique and cultural experience for the whole family. Kids can also enjoy hiking or biking along the coastal trails, or simply relax and soak up the sun on the sandy shores. With its range of activities and artistic atmosphere, Laguna Beach is a must-visit beach for kids in California.

laguna beach

6. Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach, also known as “Surf City U.S.A.,” is a popular destination for families who love the beach and water sports. With its wide sandy shores, consistent surf, and range of activities, it’s the perfect beach for kids to enjoy.

Kids can swim in the ocean, learn to surf, play beach volleyball, or simply build sandcastles on the shore. The beach is also home to the International Surfing Museum, which offers exhibits and educational programs that are sure to engage and entertain kids of all ages. With its surf culture and range of activities, Huntington Beach is a beach that kids will love.

There are plenty of activities for kids to enjoy at Huntington Beach. They can swim in the ocean, learn to surf, play beach volleyball, or build sandcastles on the sandy shores. The beach is also home to the International Surfing Museum, which offers exhibits and educational programs that are sure to engage and entertain kids of all ages. Kids can also enjoy biking or walking along the boardwalk, exploring the shops and restaurants, or simply relaxing and soaking up the California sun. With its surf culture and range of activities, Huntington Beach is a must-visit beach for kids in California.

huntington beach

7. Avila Beach

Activities at Avila Beach

Avila Beach, located in San Luis Obispo County, is a hidden gem on the Central Coast of California. With its protected cove, gentle surf, and range of activities, it’s the perfect beach for families. Kids can swim in the calm waters, explore the tide pools, or even try their hand at kayaking or paddleboarding. The beach is also home to Avila Beach Pier, where families can fish, take a leisurely stroll, or simply enjoy the beautiful views. With its family-friendly atmosphere and range of activities, Avila Beach is a must-visit beach for kids in California.

There are plenty of activities for kids to enjoy at Avila Beach. They can swim in the calm waters, explore the tide pools, or try their hand at kayaking or paddleboarding. The beach is also home to Avila Beach Pier, where families can fish, take a leisurely stroll, or simply enjoy the beautiful views. Kids can also enjoy playing on the sandy shores, having a picnic in the park, or even visiting the nearby Avila Valley Barn, which offers a petting zoo and farm-fresh produce. With its range of activities and family-friendly atmosphere, Avila Beach is a must-visit beach for kids in California.

avila beach activities for kids

8. Pismo Beach

Activities at Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach, located on the Central Coast of California, is a popular destination for families looking for a beach getaway. With its wide sandy shores, gentle surf, and range of activities, it’s the perfect beach for kids to enjoy.

Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles on the shore, or even try their hand at surfing or boogie boarding. The beach is also home to the Pismo Beach Pier, where families can fish, take a leisurely stroll, or simply enjoy the beautiful views. With its family-friendly atmosphere and range of activities, Pismo Beach is a beach that kids will love.

There are plenty of activities for kids to enjoy at Pismo Beach. They can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles on the sandy shores, or even try their hand at surfing or boogie boarding. The beach is also home to the Pismo Beach Pier, where families can fish, take a leisurely stroll, or simply enjoy the beautiful views. Kids can also enjoy playing volleyball on the beach, exploring the nearby sand dunes, or even going on a horseback ride along the shore. With its range of activities and family-friendly atmosphere, Pismo Beach is a must-visit beach for kids in California.

pismo beach

9. Silver Strand State Beach

Activities at Silver Strand State Beach

Silver Strand State Beach, located near Coronado in San Diego, is a hidden gem that offers a range of activities for families. With its wide sandy shores, calm waters, and range of amenities, it’s the perfect beach for kids to enjoy.

Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles on the shore, or even try their hand at boogie boarding. The beach is also home to a campground, where families can enjoy a beachfront camping experience. With its family-friendly atmosphere and range of activities, Silver Strand State Beach is a must-visit beach for kids in California.

Silver Strand State Beach

There are plenty of activities for kids to enjoy at Silver Strand State Beach. They can swim in the calm waters, build sandcastles on the sandy shores, or try their hand at boogie boarding. The beach is also home to a campground, where families can enjoy a beachfront camping experience, including campfires and stargazing. Kids can also enjoy playing volleyball on the beach, flying kites, or even going for a bike ride along the strand. With its range of activities and family-friendly atmosphere, Silver Strand State Beach is a must-visit beach for kids in California.

10. Mission Beach

Mission Beach, located in San Diego, is a popular destination for families looking for a beach vacation. With its wide sandy shores, gentle surf, and range of activities, it’s the perfect beach for kids to enjoy. Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles on the shore, or even try their hand at boogie boarding or surfing.

The beach is also home to Belmont Park, which offers amusement park rides, games, and even a historic roller coaster. Families can also enjoy beach volleyball, picnics on the grassy areas, or bike rides along the boardwalk. With its range of activities and family-friendly atmosphere, Mission Beach is a must-visit beach for kids in California.

Activities at Mission Beach

At Mission Beach, kids can have a blast participating in a variety of activities. Some popular things to do include:

  • Swimming in the ocean
  • Building sandcastles on the sandy shores
  • Trying boogie boarding or surfing
  • Enjoying amusement park rides at Belmont Park
  • Playing beach volleyball
  • Having picnics on the grassy areas
  • Going for bike rides along the boardwalk

There’s something for everyone at Mission Beach, ensuring that kids of all ages will have a fantastic time exploring and enjoying the beach.

Mission Beach

11. East Beach, Santa Barbara

Located in Santa Barbara, East Beach is a popular destination for families seeking a beach getaway. With its wide sandy shores, calm waters, and a variety of activities, it’s the perfect beach for kids to enjoy.

Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles on the shore, or even try their hand at boogie boarding or surfing. The beach also features a playground, where kids can have fun on swings, slides, and climbing structures.

Families can partake in beach volleyball matches, enjoy picnics on the grassy areas, or simply relax and soak up the California sun. The family-friendly atmosphere and range of activities make East Beach a must-visit beach for kids in California.

East Beach Santa Barbara

12. Doheny State Beach, Dana Point

Activities at Doheny State Beach, Dana Point

Doheny State Beach, located in Dana Point, is a popular beach for families. With its wide sandy shores, calm waters, and range of amenities, it’s the perfect beach for kids to enjoy. Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles on the shore, or even try their hand at boogie boarding or surfing. The beach is also home to a campground, where families can enjoy a beachfront camping experience. With its family-friendly atmosphere and range of activities, Doheny State Beach is a beach that kids will love.

There are plenty of activities for kids to enjoy at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point. They can swim in the calm waters, build sandcastles on the sandy shores, or try their hand at boogie boarding or surfing. The beach is also home to a campground, where families can enjoy a beachfront camping experience, including campfires and stargazing. Kids can also enjoy playing volleyball on the beach, exploring the nearby tide pools, or even going for a bike ride along the shore. With its range of activities and family-friendly atmosphere, Doheny State Beach is a must-visit beach for kids in California.

doheny state beach

13. Moonlight State Beach, Encinitas

Moonlight State Beach, located in Encinitas, is a hidden gem that offers a range of activities for families. With its wide sandy shores, gentle surf, and range of amenities, it’s the perfect beach for kids to enjoy.

Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles on the shore, or even try their hand at boogie boarding or surfing. The beach is also home to a playground, where kids can enjoy swings, slides, and climbing structures.

moonlight state beach encinitas

Families can also enjoy picnics on the grassy areas, beach volleyball, or simply relax and soak up the California sun. With its range of activities and family-friendly atmosphere, Moonlight State Beach is a must-visit beach for kids in California.

14. Carpinteria State Beach, Carpinteria

Activities at Carpinteria State Beach, Carpinteria

Carpinteria State Beach, located in Carpinteria, is a popular destination for families looking for a beach getaway. With its wide sandy shores, calm waters, and range of activities, it’s the perfect beach for kids to enjoy.

Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles on the shore, or even try their hand at boogie boarding or surfing. The beach is also home to a campground, where families can enjoy a beachfront camping experience.

Carpinteria State Beach

Family-friendly activities at Carpinteria State Beach:

  1. Playing volleyball on the beach
  2. Exploring the nearby tide pools
  3. Going for a bike ride along the shore

With its range of activities and family-friendly atmosphere, Carpinteria State Beach is a must-visit beach for kids in California.

15. Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu

Leo Carrillo State Park, located in beautiful Malibu, is a hidden gem that offers a wide range of activities for families. With its expansive sandy shores, fascinating tide pools, and abundance of amenities, this beach is the perfect destination for children and parents alike to have a memorable day in the sun.

At Leo Carrillo State Park, kids can take a refreshing dip in the ocean as they splash and play in the gentle waves. They can also channel their inner explorers by venturing into the captivating tide pools, where they can observe an array of fascinating marine life up close. For those seeking a bit of adventure, surfing and boogie boarding are popular activities that kids can try under the guidance of skilled instructors.

If you’re looking to spend more time in nature, Leo Carrillo State Park has a campground that offers a unique beachfront camping experience. Families can gather around crackling campfires, roast marshmallows, and share stories under the starry night sky. Additionally, the park boasts scenic hiking and biking trails that provide breathtaking views of the coastline, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

With its family-friendly atmosphere, scenic beauty, and diverse range of activities, Leo Carrillo State Park is a must-visit beach for kids in California. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or simply a day filled with memorable family moments, this beach has it all.

FAQ

What are the best beaches for kids in California?

Some of the best beaches for kids 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, Mission Beach, East Beach, Santa Barbara, Doheny State Beach, Moonlight State Beach, Carpinteria State Beach, and Leo Carrillo State Park.

What activities can kids do at Coronado Beach?

Kids can build sandcastles, play beach volleyball, fly kites, splash in the surf, enjoy picnics and barbecues, and participate in the family-friendly activities offered at the nearby Hotel del Coronado.

What activities can kids do at La Jolla Shores?

Kids can swim and play in the gentle waves, explore the tide pools, try kayaking, snorkeling, or stand-up paddleboarding, and visit the Birch Aquarium for interactive exhibits and educational programs.

What activities can kids do at Newport Beach?

Kids can swim, play beach volleyball, build sandcastles, learn to surf, visit the Balboa Fun Zone for arcade games and amusement park rides, and go on whale watching tours.

What activities can kids do at Santa Monica Beach?

Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles on the sandy shores, enjoy the amusement park rides and games on the Santa Monica Pier, bike or walk along the beachfront bike path, and have picnics on the grassy areas.

What activities can kids do at Laguna Beach?

Kids can swim in the gentle waves, explore the tide pools, try skimboarding, visit art galleries and shops, hike or bike along coastal trails, and relax on the sandy shores.

What activities can kids do at Huntington Beach?

Kids can swim in the ocean, learn to surf, play beach volleyball, build sandcastles, visit the International Surfing Museum, bike or walk along the boardwalk, and explore the shops and restaurants.

What activities can kids do at Avila Beach?

Kids can swim in the calm waters, explore the tide pools, try kayaking or paddleboarding, fish or take a leisurely stroll on Avila Beach Pier, and visit the Avila Valley Barn for a petting zoo and fresh produce.

What activities can kids do at Pismo Beach?

Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles, try surfing or boogie boarding, visit the Pismo Beach Pier for fishing or a leisurely stroll, play volleyball on the beach, explore nearby sand dunes, or go on a horseback ride along the shore.

What activities can kids do at Silver Strand State Beach?

Kids can swim in the calm waters, build sandcastles, try boogie boarding, enjoy beachfront camping, play volleyball on the beach, fly kites, and go for bike rides along the strand.

What activities can kids do at Mission Beach?

Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles, try boogie boarding or surfing, visit Belmont Park for amusement park rides and games, play beach volleyball, bike or walk along the boardwalk, and have picnics on the grassy areas.

What activities can kids do at East Beach in Santa Barbara?

Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles, try boogie boarding or surfing, enjoy the playground with swings and slides, play beach volleyball, have picnics on the grassy areas, and relax on the sandy shores.

What activities can kids do at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point?

Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles, try boogie boarding or surfing, enjoy beachfront camping, play volleyball on the beach, explore tide pools, go for bike rides along the shore, and have campfires and stargazing experiences.

What activities can kids do at Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas?

Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles, try boogie boarding or surfing, enjoy the playground with swings and slides, play beach volleyball, have picnics on the grassy areas, and relax on the sandy shores.

What activities can kids do at Carpinteria State Beach in Carpinteria?

Kids can swim in the ocean, build sandcastles, try boogie boarding or surfing, enjoy beachfront camping, play volleyball on the beach, explore tide pools, go for bike rides along the shore, and visit the nearby Avila Valley Barn for a petting zoo and farm-fresh produce.

What activities can kids do at Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu?

Kids can swim in the ocean, explore tide pools, try boogie boarding or surfing, enjoy beachfront camping, hike or bike along coastal trails, have picnics in the park, and relax on the sandy shores.