Couple walking on beach


California's Stunning Beaches

From golden sands to stunning, rugged coastline

The beaches of California are diverse and varied and with more than 1100 miles of stunning coastline, no matter what your perfect day involves; you are sure to find the perfect beach in this golden state. Hike seaside trails, catch your first wave, look for marine life in the rock pools, relax and watch the sunset and end your day toasting s'mores around a beach campfire. 

Northern California

In the north, the rugged coastline is largely untouched, with beaches set beneath steep, rocky cliffs, like Agate Beach at Patrick’s Point in Marin County, Ocean Beach in San Francisco, and Bodega Dunes in Sonoma County. For a hidden beach with colourful crumbling bluffs, search out McClures Beach along the northwestern shoreline of Point Reyes National Seashore. In Mendocino County there are some unusual finds; Bowling Ball Beach in Schooner Gulch State Beach has spherical sandstone concretions that can be seen at low tide and Glass Beach in the MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg has an abundance of coloured sea glass. 

Central Coast

In central California, unspoiled swathes of gold hug the Pacific Coast, with fog shrouded cliffs and crashing surf offset by rugged hiking trails. Beaches here include El Capitan in Santa Barbara County for rocky tide pools, Sand Dollar Beach in Big Sur to look for jade stones and sand dollars and Carmel City Beach in Monterey County which is perfect for watching the sunset. Close to San Simeon, you can watch the elephant seals basking on the beach at Piedras Blancas. 

Southern California

Southern California’s shores are the most famous, with sandy dunes and warm ocean temperatures; try Pacific Beach or La Jolla Shores in San Diego County, where you can kayak into sea caves. Coronado Beach is a great option for families as typically doesn't have large wave due to the protection of Point Loma. Venice Beach and Santa Monica Beach in Los Angeles County has lots of entertainment as well as a huge stretch of sand. Newport Beach and Huntington Beach in Orange County, both have gorgeous wide stretches of sand and surfers riding the waves.