There’s nothing quite like a beautiful, sunny day spent at the beach. With the sand beneath your feet, the gentle crash of waves sounding in the background, seagulls squawking from above – what’s not to love? Grab your friends and family for some fun in the sun and check out one of these must-visit beaches in California.
Boasting a 3-mile shoreline, Huntington Beach is a popular spot of all ages. Also known as “Surf City USA,” this beach is home to the US Open of Surfing and the International Surfing Museum. Volleyball players, surfers, and rollerbladers frequent here due to its famous waves and paved boardwalk. Pet owners love it here too, thanks to the mile-long, dog-friendly beach area.
2. Natural Bridges State Beach
Named for the last remaining natural bridge, this beach is perfect for wildlife lovers. Home to seals, birds, otters and migrating whales, this 65-acre beach will not disappoint. Be sure to visit between October and February too, when 150,000 or so monarch butterflies migrate to this natural preserve.
3. Baker Beach
Featuring a picnic area with tables and grills, this is a prime location to eat a delicious lunch and enjoy the view. Baker Beach might not be the most ideal for sunbathing, but the iconic view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands is unequivocal. You may even get the chance to see some harbor porpoises playing in the surf.
4. El Matador State Beach
One of the three beaches within Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach, this is the most popular spot for visitors. With large swells and a variety of rocks, arches, caves and other hidden spots to explore and photograph, this beach is perfect for those that enjoy surfing and exploring.
5. Pfeiffer Beach
Located within Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, this natural wonder is significant for its purple sands and stunning rock formations. Rather than a sunbathing spot, this beach is perfect for hikers and wildlife lovers. There are many hiking trails, some leading to waterfalls and benches where you might be able to catch a glimpse of migrating whales.
6. Venice Beach
Venice Beach is a unique hotspot that is a far cry from your typical beach day. With a mile-and-a-half-long boardwalk, you can expect to find a variety of food, shops, flea markets, sand sculpture artists and street performers. At this second-most visited location in Southern California, you can also experience the notable Muscle Beach, where bodybuilders workout in front of crowds.
7. Coronado Beach
Featured in several famous films, included “Some Like it Hot” starring Marilyn Monroe, this iconic beach with its 1.5-mile shoreline is a must-see. With its designated Dog Beach, the combination of the gentle surf, and sandcastle-builders, it is an incredibly popular spot for families and pet owners. Come for the day and stay for smores at sunset in one of the designated fire pits.
8. Santa Monica Beach
Famous for the Santa Monica Pier and its giant Ferris wheel, this beach is a favorite for beachgoers of all ages. The pier includes a boardwalk, amusement park, street performances, food vendors and restaurants. Be sure to stay for the breathtaking sunsets and view of the nearby Santa Monica Mountains.