Top Beaches on the West Coast of the USA

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  • Cannon Beach // Oregon

    Cannon Beach
    ©Dima Sergiyenko (DiscoverWithDima)

    Look for Cannon Beach on a map of Oregon and you'll find its not only the name of a stunning stretch of west coast shoreline, but also a city in Clatsop County. Named one of the world's most beautiful places by none other than National Geographic (and they should know), Cannon Beach also featured in the last scene of the 1991 cult classic Point Break.

    Face out from the soft sands… read more »

  • Baker Beach // California

    Baker Beach

    Situated between San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge to the north, Baker Beach is a flat, wide expanse of golden sand approximately 800 metres in length.

    In the city's Presidio area, its natural vistas are improved by views of the entirety of the Golden Gate Bridge on all but the foggiest of days. Within Golden Gate National Recreation Area, it also boasts a coastal trail that leads up onto… read more »

  • Laguna Beach // California

    Laguna Beach
    ©Joe Belanger

    Located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego, Laguna Beach is the archetypal Southern Californian beach town. This is one of the most fashionable seaside towns in Orange County and as such has attracted the wealthy and famous for many years. Laguna Beach has a long established reputation as a cultural hotspot and is home to any number of art festivals, most notably the Pageant of the Masters. 

    But it is… read more »

  • La Jolla Cove // California

    La Jolla Cove
    ©John Uhrig

    Tucked away at the foot of the sandstone cliffs north of San Diego, La Jolla Cove is one of the most photographed beaches in SoCal, so it's fair to say it's exceptionally beautiful. The Spanish phrase "La Jolla" means "jewel" and this cove is a gem.

    Facing north it has an exceptionally clear deep blue waters with visibility up to 30 feet in depth making it popular for swimming, snorkelling… read more »

  • Moonstone Beach // California

    Moonstone Beach

    Located in Cambria, San Luis Obispo County, central California, Moonstone Beach is made up of a dark sand the colour of brown sugar. Located within Hearst San Simeon State Park, it has also no facilities.

    However, Moonstone Beach does boast a number of attractions that make it well worth a visit. A mile-long boardwalk runs from Moonstone Beach Park at Santa Rosa Creek to Leffingwell Landing. You can find parking at… read more »

  • Pacific City Beach // Oregon

    Pacific City Beach
    ©Bonnie Moreland

    Pacific City Beach is a hugely diverse landscape, though the attention of most people will fall immediately on the its wide expanse of gently undulating sand.

    At its southern extreme is a spit of land created by the Big Nestucca River entering the Pacific Ocean which attracts everything from herons to puffins, making the beach popular with bird watchers. Seals, sea lions, otters, and porpoises can all be seen in the… read more »

  • Stinson Beach // California

    Stinson Beach
    ©Adam Derewecki

    Situated within California's Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Stinson Beach lies approximately 30 kilometres northwest of San Francisco along Highway 1, making it a popular day trip for residents of the city.

    This long stretch of sand offers a relatively shallow entry into the waters of the Pacific, which can be a little on the cold side. However, as one of the region's cleanest beaches it offers a range of… read more »

  • Ariya's Beach // Oregon

    Ariya's Beach
    ©Matt Kieffer

    Ariya's Beach is located in Oregon's Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor, an area of protected land named after the state's first superintendent of parks. A wide and secluded expanse of clean sands, you'll find few rocks on which to accidentally tread on. However, the main attraction is the sea stacks immediately offshore, which certainly add to the majesty of the Pacific Ocean at this point on the Oregon coast.

    Easily… read more »

  • Venice Beach // California

    Venice Beach

    When thinking of Los Angeles it is hard not to picture the city's iconic Venice Beach. Whilst many beaches are exactly that, and nothing else, Venice Beach is much more than that; a beach, cultural institution, vibrant community and international tourist destination to name a few. What goes on along the beach front is as important to Venice beach's character as the sand,ocean and palms trees that physically define it.

    read more »
  • Bandon Beach // Oregon

    Bandon Beach
    ©Andrew Soundarajan / iStock

    Bandon Beach is a wide and wild public beach. Its sands form a relatively flat surface as they head towards the Pacific, making them suitable for all sorts of games, from beach football to tag. Commonly referred to as Bandon State Natural Area, the beach is probably best known for its sea stacks - thin slivers of rock that rise majestically out of the surf and have all manner of… read more »

  • Santa Cruz Main Beach // California

    Santa Cruz Main Beach
    ©Rabin Pamela

    Santa Cruz Main Beach is also known as Boardwalk Beach because it sits in front of the boardwalk amusement park. Dating from 1907, it contains the historic Big Dipper rollercoaster, a swimming pool, mini golf, and restaurants among its attractions.

    On the opposite side of the municipal wharf from Cowell Beach, Main Beach faces south and stretches on to the mouth of the San Lorenzo River. Despite its size, Main Beach… read more »

  • McWay Falls Cove // California

    McWay Falls Cove
    ©Dawn Ellner / License

    Set in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park this beautiful little horseshoe shaped cove is surrounded by high, tree-lined cliffs. Perhaps the beach's most notable feature though is McWay Falls, a waterfall that vertically plunges 80 feet directly into the aqua-blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. The cove here is one of the undisputed highlights of Big Sur and only a short trip from California's legendary coastal highway, Route more »

  • Sand Harbor Beach // Nevada

    Sand Harbor Beach
    ©Mariusz Blach

    When you think of beaches in America you're probably thinking California, Florida or even Hawaii. Yet, he we are several hundred miles inland and in the mountains. I guess half of the lake is in California, but the beach we are interested in is over the border in Nevada.

    There are actually around over 70 miles of beaches around the shores of Lake Tahoe but of all these Sandy Harbor is… read more »

  • Huntington Beach // California

    Huntington Beach
    ©James Kim

    Nicknamed "Surf City USA", Huntington Beach is a popular resort destination for locals and international tourists. This 121-acre state beach has a long pier and a beautiful sandy beach with dunes sheltering many bird species.

    Facilities include parking lots (open until 10pm), bathrooms, showers, lifeguard HQ and fire rings for bonfires. It is ideal for sunbathing, walking, fishing and watching pro surfers.

    There are sandbars at the south end of Huntington Beach… read more »

  • Santa Monica State Beach // California

    Santa Monica State Beach

    Just west of downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica State Beach stretches for an astonishing 8 miles of soft sand. Cleaned and raked on a daily basis, it will host the beach volleyball competition of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

    The archetypal West Coast beach town, Santa Monica State Beach has a pier with an amusement park that contains a carousel dating from 1922 and is listed as a National Historic… read more »