Best 10 Beautiful Beaches In California

beautiful beaches in california
| 5 min read

While some head to California to find their foot in the movie industry and others to enjoy good tacos, many more people plan trips to California to enjoy the great beaches. What immediately comes to mind is the sight of bathing suits and beachgoers frolicking in the sun and sea. This definitely is no surprise considering California is home to more than 420 public beaches. Tempted enough? Every beach is different in aesthetics, facilities, type of wave and so on. To help you decide which are some of the best beaches to visit, continue reading below to make your choice. With this information, you will be better equipped to plan your next epic beach holiday. Here’s our list of the most beautiful beaches in California.

1. Glass Beach, Fort Bragg

Glass Beach Fort Bragg
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ggerdel used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Looking for a unique beach experience? Then Glass beach at Fort Bragg is one to visit. Admire the sand at this beach, which is formed by glass pieces. Legend has it that prior to the 1906 earthquake which tore apart Fort Bragg, residents stored their garbage and reused as much as they could. Following the disaster when rebuilding was in progress, much of the garbage had to be bulldozed. As this practice continued for decades after that, it was believed that broken bottles, pottery, glass windows and so on were washed onto the shore, eventually becoming sea glass. The best time to look for sea glass in this area is when the high tide has just ended or during a full moon in fall or spring. This Glass beach is constantly covered with small pieces of mostly colored glass.

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg

Address: Fort Bragg, CA

Website: Glass Beach

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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2. Baker Beach, San Francisco

Baker Beach
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daniel Schwen used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The very beautiful Baker Beach is located at the foot of the cliffs which stand majestically to the west of the SFO Golden Gate. The beach is characterized by large waves and strong currents. As such, this beach is deemed unsuitable for swimming. Nonetheless, the beach is the prime place to enjoy panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Marin Headlands and Lands End. You can also stand at the shores and enjoy some fishing, if you like. The beach area is also conducive for picnic-goers as there are tables and grills around the area.

Baker Beach

Address: Gibson Road, San Francisco

Website: Baker Beach

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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3. Coronado Beach, Coronado

Coronado Beach 2018
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Antony-22 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Coronado Beach is also known as Central Beach and it is a long beach that stretches beyond Sunset Park. The beach is dog-friendly, so dog owners can bring their cuddly pets here to roam freely and have a great time out. Families love spending time out at this beach as the water is warm and the sand is fine. There are also several restaurants in the area that serve delectable cuisines at lunch and dinner time. Also, enjoy great sights of the surrounding landmarks.

Coronado Beach

Address: 919 Ocean Blvd., Coronado, Ca. 92118

Website: Coronado Beach

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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4. La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove view
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dirk Hansen used under CC BY-SA 3.0

La Jolla Cove is a great water body that is frequented by both locals and visitors from all over the globe. Many people throng to this area to soak in the gorgeous views of the sunset as well as to catch sight of sea lions that may be frolicking in the water. Visitors to the cove area can also enjoy dining at one of the many sea-facing restaurants. The water at La Jolla Cove is part of the 6,000-acre (2430-hectare) La Jolla Underwater Park, where there is an ecological reserve. Here, one can get glimpses of a variety of marine life such as seals, the giant sea bass, baitfish and so on.

La Jolla Cove

Address: 1100 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037-3600

Website: La Jolla Cove

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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5. Zuma Beach, Malibu

Zuma Beach, Malibu, California
Source: Photo by user Alex Beattie used under CC BY 2.0

Zuma Beach is one of the most popular beaches located in Los Angeles. This is a long stretch of beach which attracts all kinds of people; families, sunbathers and so on. There are also many facilities around the beach for one to have gatherings. On the south of the beach, one will come across Point Dume State Beach. This area is famous among climbers as well as hikers who try to get to the top for some panoramic views of the city.

Zuma Beach, Malibu

Address: 30000 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu, CA 90265

Website: Zuma Beach, Malibu

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

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6. Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica

Santa Monica beach
Source: Photo by user Mike McBey used under CC BY 2.0

The best time to visit Santa Monica beach would be around sunset time when lots of people throng to take great sunset pics. Kids will also love this beach stretch as there is an amusement park with some rides, a Ferris wheel and some roller coasters. During the weekends, there are free tours which take place. In these tours, visitors get to learn more about the history of the Santa Monica Pier. Do also visit Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, which features lots of species of marine life.

Santa Monica Beach

Address: Pacific Coast Hwy, Santa Monica, CA 90401, United States

Website: Santa Monica Beach

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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7. Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur

Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California, United States
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Robert Brett used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Pfeiffer Beach is located in the Big Sur area and it takes a bit of effort to reach there. Big waves are found here, with the gentle tides being found in the northern region of the beach. The main part of this beach is the Keyhole Rock where there is a natural arch, allowing sunlight to pass through. Sunset views at this beach are frequently photographed. The beach is not very popular among tourists so it remains largely unspoiled. What is also interesting is that this beach features unusual purple sand.

Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur

Address: 47199 Clear Ridge Rd, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA

Website: Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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8. Dog Beach, San Diego

Lady Momma and the new found joys of doghood, Dog Beach, near San Diego, California, USA
Source: Photo by user Wonderlane used under CC BY 2.0

The Dog Beach in San Diego is one of the few leash-free beaches in the United States. This beach is located at the mouth of the San Diego River and it is a great place for pets and humans to enjoy the beach culture. At this beach, one can get to see many dogs of various sizes, breeds, color and so on. It is a great sight to behold to see free-spirited dogs enjoying their time at the beach, along with people surfing or lazing on the sands.

Dog Beach, San Diego

Address: San Diego, CA 92109, USA

Website: Dog Beach, San Diego

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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9. Seabright Beach, Santa Cruz

Seabright beach, Santa Cruz CA
Source: Photo by user Adam Kent used under CC BY 2.0

Seabright Beach is a beautiful sandy beach that is situated next to the Santa Cruz Main Beach. This beach is part of the Twin Lakes State Beach. The beach has a wide stretch of sand that eventually leads out at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River. Visitors can access the park at East Cliff Drive, where they can enjoy the views of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk Amusement Park. Parking is also easily available in the area.

Seabright Beach

Address: E Cliff Dr and Mott Ave Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Website: Seabright Beach

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

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10. Tamarack Surf Beach, Carlsbad

Hardscape and Seascape Meet:  Carlsbad State Beach CA
Source: Photo by user Joe Wolf used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Tamarack Surf Beach, located in Carlsbad, is part of the Carlsbad State Beach. This is a wide and sandy beach that leads all the way to Frazee Beach. This beach, with warm water, is ideal for families and kids. One can enjoy water activities like swimming, scuba diving, fishing and so on. The beach area is also conducive for having picnics as there are tables and grills located all around. If you enjoying watching sunsets, then this beach is the place to be. Every night, people throng the northern end of this beach to enjoy the views of the sun setting in the Pacific Ocean.

Tamarack Surf Beach, Carlsbad

Address: Carlsbad Blvd & Tamarack Ave, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Website: Tamarack Surf Beach, Carlsbad

Opening hours: 5am - 10pm (daily)

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Visit the best beaches

California Coast
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Murray Foubister used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The best beaches listed above are truly spectacular and worth a visit. It is definitely worth sitting at one of these gorgeous beaches and watching the day go by. So, make a decision and pack your bags and look forward to a wonderful holiday.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Sheela, a devoted mother to two remarkable young children, takes immense pleasure in family travel experiences. With a well-traveled history spanning numerous countries, her passion lies in the...Read more

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