Growing up at the southern California Beaches, I can truly say the beach provides an unsurpassed amount of fun. Starting with the cool foggy morning walks on the sand, the smell of salt air, to the full sun during the day along with gorgeous sunsets.
Let me share with you my Top 10 California Beaches, that are a must visit for all travelers to California. Each beach has their own special quality but what they all have in common are the amazing unsurpassed sunsets. Make sure to pick up your Lonely Planet Guide for you next California trip. You can also check Trip Advisor for some activities and hotels in each beach area. [links are in green]
[Great travel clothes that wash and dry overnight. Ones that I use!]
Morro Bay – California Beaches
Table of Contents
- Morro Bay – California Beaches
- Santa Barbara – California Beaches
- Venice Beach – California Beaches
- Santa Monica – California Beaches
- Manhattan Beach – California Beaches
- Huntington Beach – California Beaches
- Newport Beach – Balboa Island – California Beaches
- Laguna Beach – California Beaches
- La Jolla – California Beaches
- San Diego – California Beaches
Visit this quaint Northern California seaside town of Morro Bay known for the famous Morro Rock. Try one of the year-round activities; biking, hiking, golfing, kayaking and surfing. The visitors guide is helpful to plan your day. There are two separate Maps one for bikes and one is a visitors guide. The seafood chowder is wonderful in this cooler climate town.
Santa Barbara – California Beaches
Stay in this upscale California Beachside town of Santa Barbara. With its beautiful pier and seafood restaurants poised to catch the sunsets. Make sure to take a view of the boats in the marina. Try some upscale shopping, art galleries and quaint restaurants that lead to the pier. Take a visit the missions nearby. Spend a few days here and relax.
Venice Beach – California Beaches
Welcome to Venice Beach or “Muscle Beach” as I know it. Enjoy this quirky beach town and walk the strand. Yes, walk on the beach path next to bike riders, roller skaters or skate boards enjoying the sun swaying to the music. Make sure you are walking on the correct side. Nothing worse than running into another person head on. Stop by and watch the weight lifters on the beach showing off their tanned tone muscles under the sun. Eat like a local, and do some souvenir shopping.
Santa Monica – California Beaches
At the end of iconic Route 66 sits the Santa Monica Pier at this California Beach. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel which twinkles at night. Santa Monica is located next to Venice Beach, not far from the Los Angeles Airport. Rent bikes and ride the strand which goes along the beach. You can also find the fancy Santa Monica Place shopping center and Third Street Promenade. If you’re looking for the legendary Beverly Hills just drive northeast.
Manhattan Beach – California Beaches
Travel towards Los Angeles and stop at Manhattan Beach. Another beachside town with the strand path for bike riding or walking. People watch the street performers or visit one of the fun and crazy restaurants/bars. The “Comedy and Magic Club” in nearby Hermosa Beach is where Jay Leno sometimes frequents which is close by. One of my favorite upscale Italian Restaurant is the “Bottle Inn”. Make sure to make reservations.
Huntington Beach – California Beaches
Huntington Beach a Surfers Paradise with guys and gals catching a wave and enjoying the life. This is one of the famous California Beaches. No worries here while you enjoy the warmth of the sun. Shop surf clothes then grab a bite of food or enjoy a refreshing beverage. Take a walk along the pier, play volleyball, bicycle or rent a surf board. I just love to soak in the sun and watch the surfers. Growing up, this was my hangout in the summer.
Newport Beach – Balboa Island – California Beaches
Another surf town is Newport Beach, which has the hustle and bustle of people and a fun places to catch a wave. You can also visit the famous Balboa Island for some quaint shops and cafes. Also drive along Pacific Coast for stunning views of the beaches and ocean waves that takes you from one beach to the next. Stay in one of the luxury hotels and have a sunset dinner.
Laguna Beach – California Beaches
Laguna Beach with its quaint town of shopping and restaurants right next to the beach makes it a favorite beach of mine. I really do enjoy my favorite sushi restaurant here.
La Jolla – California Beaches
Travel north of San Diego where sits the beautiful La Jolla with its elegant shopping and cafes. Take a meander down to the beach and watch the surfers.
San Diego – California Beaches
Welcome to home of the happiest people of California. With lots of fun things to do in town plan your day. Go across the bridge to Coronado Bay and rent a paddle board, go out on a yacht for a sunset cruise and so much more. As a treat splurge on a night at the Hotel del Coronado to get pampered.
[Looking for a great tour in your favorite city try Viator. They have provided some wonderful tours for me!]
Hope you enjoy my 10 favorite California Beaches that I love to visit. With so many fun things to do at the beach from water and beach activities to restaurants, bars and shopping.
All is do is just a drive along the coast and seeing the beach with its’ blue cold Pacific Ocean, smelling the salt air, I feel at home.
Life is short, go out and have an adventure!
Have you traveled to a California Beach? What was the best activity you did while in Cali?
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