Top Picks for Best Beaches in California!

best beaches in california

California, also known as the Golden State, is famous for its breathtaking coastline and stunning beaches. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, exploring the beautiful beaches of California is a must-do activity. From the sandy shores of Huntington Beach to the rugged cliffs of El Matador State Beach, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

In this article, I will guide you through a curated list of the best beaches in California. These top picks have been carefully selected based on their natural beauty, amenities, and overall beach experience. So grab your sunscreen, pack your beach essentials, and get ready to explore the best that California has to offer!

Key Takeaways:

  • California offers a diverse range of beautiful beaches for beach lovers.
  • Huntington Beach is a paradise for surfers and offers a vibrant beach culture.
  • El Matador State Beach in Malibu is known for its stunning natural beauty and hidden sea caves.
  • Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur is famous for its unique purple sands and picturesque rock formations.
  • La Jolla Shores in San Diego is a family-friendly beach with gentle waves and nearby attractions.

Huntington Beach: The Surfing Paradise

Huntington Beach, also known as “Surf City,” is a haven for surfers. It offers excellent surfing conditions and a vibrant surfing culture. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to catch your first wave, Huntington Beach has something for everyone.

Surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the California coastline, Huntington Beach boasts consistent waves that attract surfers from around the world. The beach is known for its long stretches of sandy shoreline, providing ample space for surfers to paddle out and catch the perfect wave.

But Huntington Beach is not just for surfers. It offers a wide range of beach activities for visitors of all ages. You can take a leisurely swim in the pristine waters or simply relax on the golden sand. With its laid-back atmosphere and picturesque pier, Huntington Beach is the perfect place to unwind and soak up the sun.

After a day of surfing or beach activities, you can explore the vibrant downtown area of Huntington Beach. Home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, it offers plenty of options to keep you entertained off the sand.

So, whether you’re looking to hang ten or simply enjoy the beauty of the California coast, Huntington Beach should be at the top of your list of must-visit beaches in California.

Huntington Beach

El Matador State Beach: A Natural Wonder

El Matador State Beach in Malibu is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. With its rugged cliffs, unique rock formations, and hidden sea caves, this beach offers a truly breathtaking experience. It is a popular spot for photographers, hikers, and sunset enthusiasts. Accessible only by a steep trail, El Matador State Beach provides a sense of seclusion and tranquility that is unmatched.

Pfeiffer Beach: A Purple Paradise

Located in Big Sur, Pfeiffer Beach is one of the must-visit beaches in California. What sets it apart from the rest is its unique feature – purple sands. Yes, you heard that right! The sands of Pfeiffer Beach have a stunning purple hue, which creates a mesmerizing and surreal experience.

Surrounded by lush mossy redwood forests, Pfeiffer Beach offers a truly captivating atmosphere. As you stroll along the shore, you’ll be greeted by the sight of a magnificent rock arch, sculpted by the relentless crashing waves. The beach’s rugged beauty provides the perfect backdrop for photography enthusiasts looking to capture the essence of California’s coastline.

Pfeiffer Beach is not only visually appealing but also offers plenty of opportunities for leisurely walks. You can explore the shoreline, breathing in the salty ocean air and enjoying the breathtaking views. The beach’s secluded location adds to its charm, making it a hidden gem among the best beaches in California.

If you’re planning a visit, keep in mind that Pfeiffer Beach can be slightly difficult to find. The entrance is unmarked, and a narrow road leads you down to the beach. However, the effort is well worth it once you set foot on the purple sands of this enchanting paradise.

So, if you’re seeking a unique beach experience, make sure to put Pfeiffer Beach on your list of must-visit beaches in California. Its purple sands, beautiful surroundings, and tranquil atmosphere make it a hidden gem that showcases the natural beauty of the state’s coastline.

La Jolla Shores: Family-Friendly Fun

When it comes to family-friendly beaches in California, La Jolla Shores is a top contender. Located in San Diego, this beach offers a safe and enjoyable environment for children and families. With its gentle waves and wide sandy shoreline, La Jolla Shores is perfect for building sandcastles, playing beach games, and even taking a refreshing dip in the Pacific Ocean.

What sets La Jolla Shores apart from other beaches is its range of public facilities, ensuring a convenient beach experience for visitors. The beach offers clean bathrooms and showers that allow families to freshen up after a fun-filled day in the sun.

For those looking to explore the underwater world, La Jolla Underwater Park is just a stone’s throw away from La Jolla Shores. This popular spot is a haven for scuba diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, with its diverse marine life and clear waters. Families can embark on adventures together, discovering the wonders beneath the surface and creating unforgettable memories.

La Jolla Shores

Surrounded by the vibrant community of La Jolla, the beach offers plenty of attractions for visitors of all ages. From quaint shops and local eateries to art galleries and museums, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Take a stroll through the charming streets of La Jolla Village or explore the breathtaking cliffs and coastal trails nearby.

For families seeking a beach experience that caters to their needs, La Jolla Shores is an excellent choice. With its family-friendly atmosphere, gentle waves, and proximity to exciting attractions, it is no wonder why La Jolla Shores is among the best beaches in California.

Santa Monica Beach: SoCal’s Iconic Destination

Santa Monica Beach is one of Southern California’s most iconic destinations. Located along the beautiful California coastline, it is renowned for its stunning stretch of golden sand and crystal-clear waters. The beach offers visitors a quintessential California beach experience, complete with a lively pier, picturesque coastline, and vibrant atmosphere.

For those seeking relaxation, Santa Monica Beach provides a perfect setting for sunbathing and taking a refreshing dip in the ocean. With its gentle waves and inviting waters, it is ideal for both experienced swimmers and families looking to enjoy a day at the beach.

However, Santa Monica Beach is more than just a place to soak up the sun. It is a hub of beach activities, offering something for everyone. From beach volleyball and paddleboarding to biking along the scenic bike path, there are plenty of ways to stay active and have fun in the sun.

Santa Monica Beach

The Santa Monica Pier: A Must-Visit Attraction

A highlight of Santa Monica Beach is the iconic Santa Monica Pier. Stretching out into the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, it offers breathtaking views of the coastline and a vibrant atmosphere. The pier is home to a variety of attractions, including an amusement park with thrilling rides, games, and delicious beachside food options.

Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the pier, enjoy the mesmerizing sunset, or even try their hand at fishing. The Santa Monica Pier also hosts events, concerts, and festivals throughout the year, making it a lively and entertaining destination for both locals and tourists.

Endless Entertainment and Dining Options

Surrounded by the bustling city of Santa Monica, the beach offers visitors an array of entertainment options beyond the sand and surf. Take a leisurely walk along the famous Third Street Promenade, home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Indulge in a shopping spree, catch a live performance, or savor a delicious meal at one of the many trendy eateries that line the streets.

For those looking to explore the best coastal towns in California, Santa Monica is undoubtedly a top choice. Its vibrant atmosphere, beautiful coastline, and plethora of entertainment options make it a must-visit destination for beach lovers and adventurers alike.


California is a true coastal paradise, offering some of the best beaches in the country. Whether you’re looking for world-class surf breaks, hidden gems, or a picturesque spot for a beach vacation, this diverse state has it all. From the iconic Santa Monica Beach to the natural wonder of El Matador State Beach, each destination offers a unique experience for beach lovers.

For those seeking adventure, the top-rated beaches in California provide an array of activities, from thrilling waves for surfing enthusiasts at Huntington Beach, also known as “Surf City,” to the captivating beauty of Pfeiffer Beach with its purple sands. If relaxation is your goal, the family-friendly La Jolla Shores offers calm waters and a tranquil atmosphere, perfect for a rejuvenating vacation.

Don’t miss out on the hidden gems of California beaches, such as the breathtaking El Matador State Beach with its rugged cliffs and hidden sea caves. These lesser-known spots provide a sense of seclusion and tranquility for those looking to escape the crowds. With endless opportunities for outdoor exploration, stunning photography, and memorable experiences, a visit to the best beaches in California is a must for any beach enthusiast.

So, grab your beach essentials and dive into the golden sands of the Golden State. Whether you’re planning a relaxing getaway, an adventurous surf trip, or simply want to soak up the sun, California’s top-rated beaches will fulfill all your beach vacation dreams.


What makes Huntington Beach one of the best beaches in California?

Huntington Beach, also known as “Surf City,” offers excellent surfing conditions, a vibrant surfing culture, and a beautiful pier, making it a haven for surfers and beach lovers alike.

Why is El Matador State Beach considered a hidden gem?

El Matador State Beach in Malibu is known for its stunning natural beauty, including rugged cliffs, unique rock formations, hidden sea caves, and a sense of seclusion due to its steep trail access.

What is unique about Pfeiffer Beach?

Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur is famous for its purple sands, surrounded by mossy redwood forests, a captivating rock arch, and crashing waves, creating a unique and picturesque beach experience.

Why is La Jolla Shores a great beach for families?

La Jolla Shores in San Diego is a family-friendly beach with gentle waves, making it ideal for children. It also offers public facilities, nearby attractions like La Jolla Underwater Park, and a vibrant local community.

What makes Santa Monica Beach an iconic destination?

Santa Monica Beach in Southern California is famous for its lively pier, picturesque coastline, and vibrant atmosphere. It offers a quintessential beach experience, including swimming, sunbathing, and various beach activities.

Are there other beautiful beaches in California?

Yes, California has a diverse range of beaches to suit different preferences. From world-class surf breaks to scenic hidden gems, there are many other must-visit beach destinations along the state’s coastline.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *