There’s nothing quite like watching a sunset from the California coastline. Whether you’re taking the Pacific Coast Highway down the Golden State, or stopping in one city, there’s a beach calling your name.
Stinson Beach: This beach is one of the most popular local spots in Northern California. On a warm summer’s day, you’ll find residents and vacationers soaking up the sun on this soft sand beach.
Baker Beach: Sit, back, relax and grab a view of the Golden Gate Bridge from this famous San Francisco beach. While the temperatures may be cool, the views will remain some of the most iconic in the Bay Area.
Pacifica State Beach: This beautiful inlet on the Pacific Ocean is home to surfing, paddle boarding and a bevy of sea life like whales, dolphins and seals. With great hiking trails nearby, this is the perfect place to spend the day.
Santa Cruz Beach: This Beach Boardwalk is known for its warm sand, surfing and tons of amusement park rides and entertainment. The Boardwalk has over 40 rides including its famous Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster and other attractions like gift shops, games, indoor arcades and mini golf.
Pfieffer Beach: Don’t forget to stop at this iconic landmark when you take a Highway 1 California Road Trip at Big Sur. Right next to the Bixby Bridge, watch McWay Falls and enjoy a stroll along the sandy shores with unique rock formations.
Pismo Beach: This town is a laid back family friendly beach area makes for the perfect day trip. Whether you’re heading down to Los Angeles or up the coast to San Francisco, this is a great halfway point to stretch and take a stroll along the long white beaches.
East Beach: This sun-drenched, sandy beach located in Santa Barbara, is perfect for family friendly activities like playing volleyball, renting a bike or just taking a walk along Stearns Wharf.
Zuma Beach: This beach is popular year-round for many reasons. This is a top California favorite with clean sand, food stands, gentle waves and easy parking. In the summer, locals will be swimming and soaking up the sun, but in the winter, guests will have great access to wildlife spotting.
Dockweiler State Beach: Made up of 3-miles of soft sand, this beach is a perfect getaway for the day. Take comfort in this sandy beach with its lifeguards on duty, fire pits to roast marshmallows and smooth paved bike paths and facilities.
Doheny State Beach: This state beach has two separate beaches – North and South. North Beach has a large grassy area with picnic spots and sand volleyball courts. This popular spot is filled with swimmers, stand-up paddle boarders and the ideal spot for beginner surfers. The South Beach has a large campground for tourists to stop over with a freshwater lagoon. This spot is amazing for bird-watching and spending the night alongside the coast.
Newport Beach: This neighborhood got its claim to fame from the television show, The O.C., but this area is known for its upscale shopping and restaurants along the coast. Take a walk along the Newport Pier, or stroll through Balboa Village next to the Bayfront Boardwalk and Balboa Fun Zone lined with restaurants, shops and many rides including the Ferris Wheel.
Coronado Beach: Coronado Island has some of the greatest beaches worth visiting in California. This 1.5 mile long sandy beach is set to the backdrop of the iconic Hotel del Coronado. Coronado beach is popular for swimming, surfing, sunbathing and soaking in the beach.
La Jolla Cove Beach: This intimate, small beach is tucked away between sandstone cliffs that block the waves. This is one of the most photographed spots in San Diego. La Jolla Cove Beach is trafficked with kayakers, stand-up paddle boarders and swimmers. Besides the beautiful backdrop, you’ll find sea lions huddled together barking along the bluffs.
South Ponto Beach: As you’re making your way down the Pacific Coast Highway, you’ll notice this wide stretch of sandy beach in Carlsbad. This beach is one of the largest and best areas for families. Over the summer, take your kids to enjoy a wide variety of beach-friendly activities like surfing, volleyball, and boogie boarding. This beach is just a short walk from Cape Rey, perfect for any California traveler.