Top 10 Breathtaking California Beaches To Visit

California Beaches

In this article, the top 10 beaches in California are discussed. In each section, a brief overview of the selected beach is given, emphasizing its many benefits. Towards the end of the article, a traveler’s guide is offered that should help you choose from these breathtaking locations.

How the Ratings Were Chosen

When selecting the beaches that you see below, a number of factors were considered. For example, the reputation of the beach was highly valued as well as its popularity. Furthermore, the beaches’ scenic views, ease of access, and safety was also considered.

While all of the beaches chosen represent the cream of the crop, there are some relative differences worth noting that have been highlighted using a 5-star rating system

COMPARISON TABLE

Top 10 California Beaches

In this section, the top 10 beaches in California are discussed.

Laguna Beach is one of the most attractive beaches in California due to its generally clean and calm water. This makes it very amenable to swimming, as beach goers don’t have to worry about swimming in dirty or dangerous water. Laguna beach is also the name of the associated coastal city in Orange County, California.

Laguna Beach – Top California Beach

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This city is home to many gorgeous coves, art galleries, and cute shops. If you are interested in visiting an area with a very distinct culture, then Laguna Beach is the place to go. There is plenty of sunshine throughout the year at Laguna Beach, which makes it a great place for getting a tan or just basking in the sun. It also doesn’t rain very often at Laguna Beach, making it great for a picnic.

The water at Laguna Beach ranges in temperature from the 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Many visitors love these moderate temperatures, as they can be very cooling amidst hot weather. This beach gets 4 stars out of 5, as its popularity in recent years due to the eponymous MTV show has caused it to become crowded at times.


One of the most attractive features of Venice Beach is its mile-and-a-half long boardwalk. This boardwalk provides many things for visitors to do. There are many delicious food options on the boardwalk as well as talented performers that will keep you entertained all day. Venice Beach is also highly lauded for its muscle beach gym, which allows you to work out right on the beach.

Venice Beach – Top California Beach

Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

If you are interested in health and fitness, then this is a must-see destination. Of course, it helps that the beach is gorgeous and provides unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean. This beach gets 3.5 stars out of 5, as the boardwalk can be quite crowded at times. If you are interested in more of a secluded, quiet location, then Venice Beach might not be ideal for you.


Many people flock to Hermosa Beach due to its abundance of outdoor activities. Many people like to use this beach to play volleyball,surf, swim, and even paddle board. If you are interested in joining a game of volleyball,then Hermosa Beach might be the best place to frequent. Many locals claim that there is always a game of volleyball going on.

Hermosa Beach – Top California Beach

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

This California beach is also close enough to downtown Los Angeles that you can easily spend a night in the city after spending the day at the beach. Some beaches in California are so isolated that enjoying nightlife is almost impossible. Additionally, if you do experience rainy weather, you can always find something to do in the local city.

This beach gets 4.5 stars out of 5, as this beach is great for families due to its long 1.5-mile stretch of sand. There is also a farmer’s market near the beach which will appeal to anyone interested in buying local foods. Many people like to have a picnic on Hermosa beach using freshly bought produced, making this beach health-promoting as well.  


Carmel Beach is located near the city of Monterey incentral California. This beach has a very relaxed atmosphere without many regulations. For example, alcohol is allowed on this beach, makingit a great destination for parties or gatherings. For this reason, many young people go to this beach, making it a great place for socializing.

Carmel Beach – Best California Beach

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This beach is also dog-friendly, making it an ideal spot for walking your dog. There is free street parking, though it fills up quite quickly. Paid parking is also available, but many locals recommend getting here early in the day to ensure that you get a spot.

Otherwise, you might have to park far away and walk to this gorgeous beach that is lined with Cyprus trees. This beach gets 5 stars out of 5, as it offers many panoramic views of the rugged California coastline. This will appeal to any kind of artist, as the views are very inspiring. 


Pfeiffer Beach is one of themost spectacular beaches in California due to its purple sands. This color isdue to manganese garnet rocks in the nearby cliffs, which makes this locationtruly magical. Pfeiffer Beach is located in the Big Sur region of California, which means it’s definitely off the beaten path.

Pfeiffer Beach – Best California Beach

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If you are looking for more of a secluded spot to spend the day, then Pfeiffer Beach would be ideal. A two-mile, twisty road leads to the shore, which means that RV’s and trailers are not allowed. Many photographers flock to this beach at sunset due to its gorgeous scenery.

Keyhole Rock is another popularly photographed landmark at this beach due to its stunning natural arch. This beach gets 5 stars out of 5, as many tide pools form at low tide which invite exploration. 


El Matador State Beach is located near many mansions in Malibu, California. There are many tide pools, caves, and large rocks to explore at this beach, making it ideal for anyone with an adventurous spirit. In the same vein, the pristine sands at this beach also make it great for anyone who wants to relax and bask in the sun.

El Matador State Beach – Best California Beach

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Many families like to come to El Matador State Beach and have a picnic. This beach also offers incomparable views of the California coastline, as visitors must first traverse a steep trail before getting to the shore. This beach gets 4.5 stars out of 5, as this beach is especially beautiful at sunset.


Huntington City Beach is a great surf spot, as it’s perennially known as “Surf City”.  If you love to surf or simply want to learn, then this would be a great spot to check out. This California beach has 3.5 miles of white sand, making it ideal for laying out in the sun. There are also bonfire rings located at this beach, making it ideal for nighttime gatherings.

Huntington City Beach – Best California Beach

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

There are many concessions stands at this beach, which means you never have to worry about being hungry. This might appeal to families who want to avoid packing tons of food. Volleyball courts at this beach make it an attractive sport for anyone who loves outdoor sports. There is truly nothing like playingbeach volleyball while listening to sounds of the waves.

This beach gets 4 stars out of 5, as this beach can be very crowed during certain times of the year. This might be a positive feature if you are looking to socialize. However, if you are looking for a quieter location, then this beach might not be ideal for you.


Natural Bridges State Beach is located in Santa Cruz, California. This beach offers unparalleled access to various wildlife like seals, birds, whales, and otters. This beach consists of 65 acres of protected California lands. The natural bridge that gives this beach its name is stunning
at sunrise or sunset, making it an attractive location for photographers.

Natural Bridges State Beach – Best California Beach

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Many people travel to this beach to see monarchbutterfly migrations during the winter months. Many kids will love this element of the beach, making Natural Bridges State Beach great for the family. This area also offers access to grasslands and coastal shrub with many diverse wildlife. This beach gets 4.5 stars out of 5.


McClure’s Beach is located in Point Reyes National Seashore in northern California. There are many hiking trails in this area, making it ideal for anyone who likes to exercise and view wildlife. This a very remote beach that does not allow dogs.This gives it a very quiet, quaint feel that can be hard to find at some California beaches.

McClure’s Beach – Best California Beach

Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

During low tide, tide pools can be investigated.However, visitors should be careful of sneaker waves at this beach which can easily knock you down if you’re not careful. This beach gets 3.5 stars out of 5, as this beach is not amenable to swimming despite its stunning views.


Coronado Beach is often referred to as paradise due to its gentle waves and sparkling sand. The sand literally sparkles here due to the mica deposits. This California beach is located just outside of downtown San Diego, giving visitors tons to do.

Coronado Beach – Best California Beach

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

This beach is also known for being very flat, which makes it ideal for walking and skim boarding. The famous Hotel del Coronado is nearby, which will appeal to anyone interested in iconic architecture. Many people love this beach for its clean water andsand, as its perennially considered one of the cleanest beaches in San Diego.

Given its large size, you don’t feel crowded when you’re at Coronado Beach, which is always a plus. This beach gets 4.5 stars out of 5 due to its laid-back culture.

Traveler’s Guide for Choosing the Best California Beach

As you can tell, California is replete with breathtaking beaches. If you are interested in a remote beach that isn’t very crowded, then Pfeiffer Beach and McClure’s Beach will likely be your best bet. Both of these beaches are located off the beaten path, which will surely appeal to anyone with an explorative spirit.

If you area couple looking for a romantic spot, then both of these beaches would be ideal. If you are interested in surfing, then Huntington City Beach offers unparalleled waves. This place is so ideal for surfing that it has been nicknamed “Surf City”.

If you are a looking for a more crowded beach for socializing, then Venice Beach or Laguna Beach would be your best bets. These places have an incredible energy that can only be understood after they are experienced. 

Final Thoughts on California Beaches

California is home to some of the best beaches not only in the US but in the world. It’s important that these beaches be well maintained in order for future generations to enjoy them. One way of ensuring this longevity is to never litter. Littering makes the beach dirty and unenjoyable for visitors. It also disturbs the local ecosystem, which is a big part of these beaches’ appeal.

One way of preventing litter is to bring food bags with you to the beach if you plan on eating there. This will allow you to store your food scraps after you are done eating so that they can be disposed of properly later. If you are considerate when attending these California beaches, future visitors will be able to enjoy their many features.