Are These the Best Beaches in California?

A curated list of sand meets surf from one end of the California coastline to the other.

In a recent story from Coastal Living, the best beaches of California have been chosen … well, at least 20 of them. With a coastline that spans 840 miles, our state has no shortage of sandy stretches to savor where the Pacific Ocean meets our shores. Did your favorite beach make the cut? Here are few of the highlights:

Coronado Beach, San Diego

“Coronado Beach’s mile and a half of silvered beach—from its high concentration of mica, a pearly, silver mineral—literally shines in the bright Southern California sun.

Set on a peninsula in the San Diego Bay just 10 miles from the Mexican border, Coronado Beach has a brigade of famously watchful lifeguards, soft waves perfect for boogie boarding, and a flat walking surface, all of which makes it ideal for families. Learn to surf from the highly rated Coronado Surfing Academy, or stroll along Ocean Boulevard, with seaside mansions on one side—including the stately Hotel del Coronado—and the Pacific surf on the other.”

Huntington State Beach, Huntington Beach

“Just one of five storied beaches along the 10-mile ‘Surf City USA’ coastline—a 2016 Best Beach in the USA—Huntington State Beach is nestled between Highway 1 and the Pacific, southeast of Los Angeles.

Huntington State Beach’s stretch of coast boasts 121 acres, with 3.5 miles of waterline and 200 fire rings, perfect for nighttime s’mores and cookouts—and the beach doesn’t close until 10 p.m., so there’s plenty of time to cook out after sunset. During the day, surfers will love the prime waves and the surfing history, while landlubbers can make the most of the scenic Huntington Beach Bike Trail, which runs the length of Huntington Beach’s 10-mile waterline and connects to other paths to the north and south.”

Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur

“Pfeiffer Beach’s famed purple sand—caused by run-off from the surrounding rock cliffs after rain—towering rock formations, and crashing waves make it a photographer’s paradise.

Pfeiffer Beach, in the thick of Big Sur’s long-heralded, rugged coastline, isn’t for swimming or sunbathing; instead, visitors can take in the views, climb over the terrain, explore the famous arch rock and revel in the feeling of being lost in the wilderness, even as cars rush by on Highway 1 only two miles away.”

Capitola City Beach, Capitola

“Capitola City Beach, across the bay from Monterey and a little more than five miles out of the heart of Santa Cruz, is bookended by ocean bluffs but level with Capitola’s colorful (literally—many storefronts are painted tropical hues) downtown; visitors and residents alike hop from beach to town throughout the day.

In fact, you can step straight from the sand to artists’ shops and local restaurants of California’s oldest seaside resort town and a 2016 Happiest Seaside Town. A 855-foot long wooden fishing wharf on the west side of the beach holds even more restaurants and offers sweeping views of Monterey Bay.”

Photo by Diane Robinson

Enderts Beach, Crescent City

“Reaching Enderts Beach requires a mile-long stroll along a redwood-shaded path—it’s in a northwest corner of Redwood National and State Parks—but those who make the trip are rewarded with stunning views of the jagged coast, rough waves and even the occasional sea lion, whale or elk. For more animal sightings, tag along on a ranger-led tour of the many well-populated tide pools, where sea stars, urchins and anemones sway in the water.

The crescent-shaped and secluded beach is five miles outside Crescent City and 20 miles south of the Oregon border; its shores are strewn with driftwood and rocks for collecting, examining and clambering over.”

Read Coastal Living’s full list here.


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