Known for sun-soaking weather, Southern California has been the center of tourism all year round. Whether you visit it for the Hollywood glamor for a glimpse of West Coast life, there’s only one thing that can make your trip complete- visiting the best beaches in Southern California. Blessed by nature, SoCal offers some of the longest beaches spread throughout the Malibu-San Diego coastline.
Planning your next beach trip to Southern California? Let’s dive right in and check out the best that the area has to offer.
Best Beaches in Southern California
1. Laguna Beach
Located in one of the most fashionable cities, Laguna, Laguna Beach offers an awe-striking experience in every aspect. The city itself is culturally rich, providing another strong reason to visit this part of Orange County. In its calm days, the deep blue water is perfect for swimming while the warm, white sand becomes an attractive spot for the strollers, volleyball players and families with children. After a carefree day at Laguna Beach, you can hit the tide pools, underwater parks, and art galleries and call it a day.
2. La Jolla Cove
Rich in marine life, La Jolla Cove is a travel destination for snorkelers and scuba divers. Considering that it is one of the smallest beaches in San Diego and offers comparatively better tourist attractions, expect it to be crowded during summer. What makes La Jolla Cove so aesthetic, lies in its picturesque view of deep-blue water, rocky cliffs, and underwater park. If you love swimming and snorkeling, the fascinating underwater world and tidal pools will welcome you with open arms.
3. Santa Monica Beach – Beaches in Southern California
When it comes to the most iconic Southern Californian beaches, Santa Monica, situated in Downtown LA crosses the mind. Widespread sandy beach, bike trails, volleyball courts, surfing, paddle boarding- Santa Monica State Beach has it all. Divided into two piers, it offers plenty of seaside attractions including the Annenberg Community Beach House, Carousel Park, International Chess Park and numerous restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. Whether it’s about spending long summer holidays or mere weekends, you can never go wrong with this fun-filled, festive and family-friendly beach.
4. El Matador State Beach – Beaches in Southern California
If you are tired of all the hustle and bustle of the overcrowded sea beaches, then El Matador State beach may be your go-to destination for a relaxing day-long session. Home to exotic birds, this tiny beach surrounded by massive rock formations is not only great for spending some romantic moments but also perfect for trying out your photography or painting skills. In order to discover this breathtaking beauty, pack a picnic box, get in your car and start driving towards Oxnard. The movie-like, rather private beach accommodates 20 cars only, therefore, you may want to start early and save the best spot. Step up your tour plan with the tide schedule and you will have a truly unforgettable Malibu beach experience.
5. Zuma Beach – Beaches in Southern California
Zuma Beach, located in Malibu, is exactly what you picture when you think about a classic Southern California beach. Popular among surfers, active beach-goers and bikini-clad tanned beauties, this beach is the perfect representation of summer. Whether you are a surfer or not, you can still find yourself mesmerized at the charismatic surfing tactics. When you have had your view, for the time being, enjoy some kite surfing or play volleyball until the heavenly aroma from the beachside restaurants reminds you of a small break.
6. Coronado Beach – Beaches in Southern California
Coronado Beach is a 1.5-mile long beach stretched on the coast of San Diego. Due to its kid-friendly, pet-friendly environment, the beach is extremely popular with large groups of tourists. Apart from its quiet ocean waters and soft white sands, Coronado Beach is known for the iconic Hotel Del Coronado. While the weather and the warmth of the sun are well suited for a day for enjoying volleyball or sunbathing, the calm water is ideal for new swimmers. There is an abundance of lifeguards along with the necessary amenities like toilets and showers. Considering all the facilities it provides, it is not surprising that Coronado beach remains packed with couples and families during the season.
7. Venice Beach – Beaches in Southern California
Naturally blessed, Southern California beaches have all that sand and sunshine, but nothing compares to Venice Beach when it comes to cultural excellence. If this is your first time visiting the fabulous Venice beach, you will be taken aback by the roadside attractions. A concrete boardwalk along the beach has a cultural hub full of artists, sculptors, small food stalls and flea markets. The tourist spot also offers an outdoor gym, skate park and artistic murals. If you want to see the life of SoCal beaches, Venice Beach deserves to be on top of your list.
8. Hermosa Beach – Beaches in Southern California
Hermosa Beach has this movie-like aesthetic that can make your heart beat faster than usual. Located in the South Bay area, Hermosa Beach is well known for its various outdoor activities. Swimming, surfing, beach volleyball, the small beach has it all. There is also a paved boardwalk for the strollers, bikers, and joggers. Before you head for home, give the Hermosa Beach Pier a look. If you are on a shopping spree, you can also check out Pier Avenue, standing at the end of the Hermosa Pier.
9. Catalina Island
If you love horseback riding, snorkeling or scuba diving, then Catalina Island may the right option for you. Located 22 miles off the SoCal coastline, Catalina Island offers one of the best beaches in the Southern California region. In addition to its stunning geographical view, its numerous outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, strolling, etc. are some of the tourist favorite activities widely enjoyed on this island. Roadside shops, galleries, restaurants are another way to pass the day as an enthusiastic vacationer in Southern California.
10. Windansea Beach – Beaches in Southern California
Situated at the end of La Jolla, Windansea Beach is in a popular vacation spot among the surfers. The area is most famous for its historic beach surf shack that has attracted tons of tourists from 1946. Due to its strong current and dangerous rock formations, tourists should not enjoy swimming even in the winter season. However, there are lifeguards that standby to assist when necessary during the summer season; therefore, you can count on safety-related issues. Regardless of the duration of your stay, don’t forget to take your camera as every part of Windansea Beach is worthy of framing for the perfect shot.
Finally, now that you are familiar with our top 10 picks, you can easily plan your beach trip in Southern California. Regardless of your choice of solitary evenings with dreamy sunsets or the day-long fun-filled active sessions, memories made in these Southern California beaches are to cherish for life.