Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles The beaches along the Southern California coast are among the most beautiful in the world. The best part? But not all SoCal beaches are created equal, and with some 300 or so miles of coastline to choose from, selecting a beach destination for your trip can be daunting. The Best Stops for a Road Trip on the Pacific Coast Highway. Bringing your pooch? Just off Ocean Avenue, this gorgeous crescent-shaped stretch is known for its soft, pure white sand and views of the Pebble Beach golf course. Santa Monica beach. The beachside parking lots are $2 for two hours, while the public parking lots scattered around downtown Santa Monica are free for 90 minutes and a few dollars per hour for anything over that.Â. There are two piers including the Newport Beach Pier and Balboa Pier, walk out to the ends to get some spectacular ocean views. It doesn’t matter where you’re from in Southern California; when you tell people from outside of the Golden State that you hail from its sunnier side, they invariably imagine the same scene: a warm, glowing beach, complete with surfers, oiled-up sunbathers, skateboarders, and boardwalk visitors. Head out to the Balboa Fun Zone which is an amusement park that houses numerous attractions for all the family including a huge ferris wheel. The flat, wide beaches and desirable breaks along Huntington Beach gave this town its “Surf City, USA” nickname in the 1950s when the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing first took place. Del Norte, Mendocino, Sonoma, and Ventura Counties don't have any well-known nude beaches. Don’t forget to check out the 1328 foot long concrete pier, also known as Hermosa Beach Pier. Perfect for families with children, Huntington State Beach offers basic facilities and has lifeguards on duty all summer. #1 La Jolla: Best Beaches in Southern California. Nothing captures Southern California’s beauty quite like spending a day at the beach. If you get hungry and want to go out to a fancy restaurant for dinner, make sure to visit the nearby popular Gaslamp Quarter which offers all kinds of cuisine. Here, you'll find beautiful beaches big and small that are perfect for exploring, lounging or both. There are seasonal lifeguards everywhere on the beach and being pet-friendly, you can walk your dog up and down the sandy stretch. Clothing is required at all Malibu beaches. Thankfully, there is a sign that will guide vacationers down the steep stairs which are surrounded by trees providing plenty of shade. You will also find over 20 miles of hiking trails, mountain biking tracks and horseback riding schools. Huntington City Beach is home to the pier and hosts all types of events throughout the year, from skate competitions to the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing. Best Heritage Stay: Hotel del Coronado – See Rates at TripAdvisor "One of Southern California’s most iconic properties." >>Next: The Best Stops for a Road Trip on the Pacific Coast Highway, California’s New Lockdown: What Travelers Need to Know, 10 Things You Should Do Every Time You Rent a Car, Sign up for the Daily Wander newsletter for expert travel inspiration and tips, AFAR’s Gift Guide for Shopping Small Businesses, Subscription Boxes and Membership Gifts That Are Perfect for Travelers, 14 Travel Gifts That Made Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2020, The Best Compression Socks You Should Never Travel Without. During the summer season, you will find lifeguards patrolling the area from morning to night. The 1000 Steps Beach is personally one of my favorite beaches in all of Southern California and it also happens to be one of the least known beach spots. Whether you choose to spend your day sunbathing, surfing, or just walking the shore, these seven beaches are your best bet for the perfect combination of privacy and paradise. Many people come to this beach to take wedding photos, and with the amazing sunsets, we can see why. Surrounded by cliffs, La Jolla Cove is one of the smallest beaches in Southern California and definitely the most picturesque beach in the region. El Matador State Beach A rickety set of stairs leads you down to the shore. Collect 10 nights get 1 free* and unlock your secret price! Home to some of the best beaches in the United States, Southern California is well-known for its warm weather throughout the year and a variety of vacation destinations to choose from. #17 in Best California Beaches Malibu is one of Southern California's greatest treats. Located just a 20-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica Beach is one of the most popular beaches in California. Latest. Huntington City Beach, Huntington Beach. From there, explore the beaches by renting a kayak (available from Two Harbor Dive & Recreation Center, Wet Spot Rentals, and others) and paddling out for the day. Once you finally reach the bottom, you will be rewarded by spectacular views of the ocean. The Best Beaches in Southern California (Video) Whether you're seeking ideal surfing or swimming conditions or prefer a secluded spot for sunbathing, there's a beach in Southern California … Situated right between Los Angeles International Airport and Hermosa Beach, Manhattan State Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Southern California, with over 4 million visitors each and every year. Unfortunately, the water is quite cold and swimming off the beach is not recommended for inexperienced swimmers. It was built in the early 20th century and is situated at the end of the main entertainment and shopping area, Pier Avenue. You can also have a meal at one of the high-end restaurants on the island. Every family has a California beach destination (or 10) on their travel bucket list — whether it’s the waters of teal-blue Lake Tahoe or the famous boardwalks surrounding Los Angeles. These are 10 of the best beaches in southern California that you need to add to your bucket list next time you visit. From Santa Barbara to San Diego, we’ve narrowed down hundreds of miles to 10 magnificent beaches for your next sunny getaway. A municipal pier located in Huntington Beach between Santa Ana River and Beach Boulevard, Huntington State Beach features a two-mile-long beach that is perfect for activities like swimming, surfing, fishing, volleyball, and romantic walks. Thanks to the 30-feet visibility under water, this beach is ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. Carpinteria State Beach has plenty of tide pools for spotting starfish and sea urchins. When you’re ready to go, consider our picks for the best family beaches in California… You will also find a skate park, outdoor gym, and dozens of colorful murals. Keep in mind that surfboards and boogie boards are not allowed on La Jolla Cove because it’s part of the Underwater Park Ecological Reserve. Here is our list of the best beaches in Southern California: Located in Malibu, El Matador Beach is one of the most stunning beaches in the region and features amazing rock formations and stunning views of the surrounding areas. Located right next to Point Dume in Malibu, Zuma Beach is a popular beach among surfers and there are a couple of large annual surfing events based here. Hendry’s Beach, as the locals call it, is a place where you can see migrating whales during the winter season. Best Hotels in Southern California, California (CA), 15 Best Things to Do in Castro Valley (CA), Santa Monica Beach: oneinchpunch / shutterstock, Coronado Beach: WaitForLight / shutterstock, Venice Beach: Ingus Kruklitis / shutterstock, Newport Beach: Grzegorz Czapski / shutterstock, La Jolla Cove: jessicakirsh / shutterstock, Hermosa Beach: aragami12345s / shutterstock, Crystal Cove State Park: LagunaticPhoto / shutterstock, Catalina Island: Chris Grant / shutterstock, Windansea Beach: Sebastien Burel / shutterstock, Manhattan State Beach: OlliCh / shutterstock, Huntington State Beach: holbox / shutterstock, 1000 Steps Beach: LagunaticPhoto / shutterstock. This cultural hub attracts millions of tourists each year who come to people-watch and soak up the quirky atmosphere. Here are the best SoCal beaches, from Malibu to San Diego. Whether you are looking for iconic beaches with plenty of family-friendly activities and facilities or secluded beaches that offer more privacy, you will definitely find your ideal beach in Southern California. The city of Huntington Beach has five beaches to choose from. Resorts. Those with deep pockets who don’t want to waste time on traveling can arrange transportation with a helicopter! Vacationers who are visiting La Jolla Cove during low tide will have a chance to explore fascinating tidal pools. However, keep in mind that swimming is almost impossible due to the large hazardous rocks. Parking costs $9, but you can find free street parking if you come early in the morning. With the wonderful weather and abundant permanent courts, the California coast is arguably the beach volleyball capital of the world. More Close to Home. Image Credit: Emma Svalstad via Unsplash. If you are into long walks and like to explore magnificent tidal pools, Crystal Cove State Park should definitely be included in your list of beaches to visit while on vacation in Southern California. About 15 minutes south of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria State Beach is a dream for families and anyone interested in small aquatic creatures. At the southern end, a secluded spit of land called Black’s Beach is a must-see but notoriously difficult to reach. We know that the idea of walking up, or even down, 1000 steps doesn’t sound very inviting, but actually, there are only 230 steps. The easiest way to reach the island from the mainland is by boat that departs from San Pedro, Long Beach, and Newport Beach. At the southern edge, Point Dume is a destination for whale-watching from December until mid-April. Carbon Beach is one of the best beaches in southern California, and it’s nicknamed “Billionaire’s Beach” for its many expensive homes along the coast. You will also notice many visitors playing volleyball in the inviting soft sand. Black’s Beach has some of the best surfing in the area and never has loads of tourists or families. When it comes to the beaches of Southern California, these 10 volleyball hotspots are known as the best of the best. Located in Los Angeles’s ritzy Pacific Palisades neighborhood across the street from the striking Getty Villa museum and gardens, there are plenty of beach activities to enjoy here, from fishing and windsurfing to a pickup game of volleyball. It is popular for various activities including swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. Whether you prefer the endless expanses of fine, golden sand of Zuma Beach in Malibu, or the purple sands of Pfeiffer Beach in Northern California, you will find your ideal beach in California.There are beaches where people watching is more fun than swimming, like in Santa Monica in California or Newport Beach.There are California beaches where families bring kids to frolic in the … Near Santa Barbara . Windansea Beach is situated at the end of Nautilus Street in La Jolla and features a small stretch of sand which is popular among families with kids and surfers. The city of Huntington Beach and its 10 miles of uninterrupted coastline are every surf and skate amateur’s dream, with five different beaches. Cancel free on most hotels. As summer approaches, it’s a good idea to book your reservation ahead through Two Harbors Visitor Services. Trek up the hiking trail at Zuma Beach for full views of Santa Monica Bay. In Los Angeles County, from Leo Carrillo Beach in the North to Redondo Beach in the South, you will enjoy surf, sand, and sunny weather.. Best Activities: Terranea Resort – See Rates at TripAdvisor "Feels like another world." It makes sense that this postcard-perfect seaside village has one of the best beaches in California. We all know that California beaches have surf, sand, and plenty of sunshine, but not a single beach in the state can be compared to fabulous Venice Beach. By Allyson Reedy. Some of the most popular activities include sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. Don’t forget to take a camera with you as Catalina Island offers plenty of photo opportunities. Santa Monica is perhaps Southern California’s most iconic beach. There’s a lot to love: The lively atmosphere, constant opportunities to catch talented buskers, beachside bars such as the Bungalow and the Independence, and the many oceanfront cafés and restaurants all make it a must-hit spot. The pier, with its famous Ferris wheel, hosts a free autumn concert series with up-and-coming as well as well-known artists (previous performers include Khalid, Lemaitre, Rufus du Sol, Borns, and Mavis Staples). During low tide at El Matador State Beach, you’ll be able to walk through the rocky arches. The sapphire water and surrounding cliffs make for a dramatic backdrop that give this spot the vibe of a Fijian island, while restaurants like the family-owned Crab Catcher (and its ocean-facing oyster bar) lend a dash of upscale dining. The beach itself is surrounded by sheer cliffs and stretches for ages. 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