Top 25+ Southern California Beaches

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  • 1. Laguna Beach

    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 »

  • 2. La Jolla Cove

    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 »

  • 3. Santa Monica State Beach

    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 »

  • 4. Venice Beach

    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 »
  • 5. Huntington Beach

    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 »

  • 6. Coronado Beach

    Coronado Beach

    Consistently voted one of America's finest beaches, Coronado Beach is a long sandy stretch on the outskirts of San Diego. The main Central Beach runs along Ocean Boulevard from the Hotel del Coronado to Sunset Park. An area near Sunset Park is set aside for dog owners to bring their dogs to play on what is known locally as Dog Run Beach. There is parking near the Coronado Hotel.

    The beach… read more »

  • 7. Black's Beach

    Black's Beach
    Raquel Baranow

    Situated on the beautiful California coastline north of San Diego, Black's Beach is north of La Jolla at Torrey Pines, just below the famous golf course of the same name. The name Black's Beach comes from the horse farm in the area that was once owned by the Black family.

    A little off-the-beaten-track, the beach is accessed down a steep sandy trail from the Gliderport Parking Area. It can be tricky… read more »

  • 8. Zuma Beach

    Zuma Beach

    One of largest and most popular beaches in Los Angeles County, Zuma Beach has clean waters and wide sands that extend for a total of around two miles. The location for the famous final scene in the original 1968 version of Planet of the Apes, it is now better known by the surfing community for its breaks, with Zuma Beach hosting several major competitions each year. Kite surfers tend to… read more »

  • 9. Dockweiler State Beach

    Dockweiler State Beach
    Alistair McMillan

    This vast beach, which sits just three miles away from Los Angeles' international airport is a near-four mile stretch of soft golden sand on California's south east coast.

    Its proximity to the airport makes it a top spot for seeing the aeroplanes take off, but there's a lot more to this beach than plane spotting.

    Among the many amenities here, you'll find fire pits, picnic facilities, showers and restrooms, and there… read more »

  • 10. Santa Barbara East Beach

    Santa Barbara East Beach

    East Beach is the archetypal Californian beach; the Pacific Ocean, golden sand, tall palm trees line the boulevard behind the beach, beach volleyball courts, lifeguard towers and the backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains rising steeply behind the city. The beach here is home to many of Santa Barbara's most upmarket hotels, however, development has been sympathetic so you won't find any of the high-rise blocks that blot many of… read more »

  • 11. Will Rogers State Beach

    Will Rogers State Beach
    © Don Ramey Logan

    Will Rogers sits between two illustrious neighbours, Malibu and Santa Monica, just to the north of Los Angeles. Stretching for nearly 3 miles this is a great option when the city beaches become too busy.

    The long sandy beach here is everything you would imagine of a South Californian beach. Surf from the deep blue pacific, permanent sunshine and a host of volleyball courts.It should be little surprise… read more »

  • 12. Newport Beach

    Newport Beach
    Mitch Barrie

    Home of the biggest recreational harbor on the west coast, the classic California surf town of Newport Beach offers sandy beaches, water sports, and incredible views of the sunset. This is a place you will never run out of ways to fill your day, and you can experience a real slice of Southern California beach life.

    The sand stretches for 10 miles at Newport Beach with the central Municipal beach… read more »

  • 13. Scripps Beach

    Scripps Beach
    Kenny Chung

    Scripps Beach takes its name from the adjoining UCSD Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla. Although the iconic long concrete pier is not open to the public, you can use the sandy beach on either side of it.

    This beach is much quieter than its better-known neighbour at La Jolla Shores as it is less accessible, but it is popular with locals. Surfers head for the… read more »

  • 14. Palisades Beach

    Palisades Beach
    © Milan Ashley

    This narrow strip of soft white sand is just along the coast from the ever-popular Santa Monica.

    Unlike its next-door neighbor, there aren't a whole host of beachfront bars and restaurants, which helps to keep the crowds away, and means there's plenty of wriggle room for a spot of sunbathing.

    Lifeguards are on duty every day and there are loads of places to park nearby if you're taking the car to the… read more »

  • 15. Redondo Beach State Park

    Redondo Beach State Park

    This 1.5 mile-long stretch of shoreline is jam-packed with activities and facilities, which keep visitors coming back time and time again.

    At the far north of the beach you'll find the magnificent pier. It's a great place for a spot of fishing, and there are plenty of bars, shops and restaurants here too, with plenty of variety on the menus. Naturally as you'd expect, there are plenty of fresh seafood places… read more »