California is the most populous state in the country, and the natural beauty of it is one big reason why so many live there. From the soaring peaks and cliffs of Yosemite and the towering redwood trees in northern forests to the quiet serenity of the high desert, the Golden Bear State has plenty to offer nature buffs.

One of the best things California has is lots and lots of beaches, as it straddles the Pacific Ocean coastline for hundreds of miles. Knowing the best beaches in California to visit makes it much easier to plan your trip if you’re coming in from another part of the world.

While major cities, such as San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, have their spots along the coast, there are also many small beach towns you can find, too. These are known for their casual nature, welcoming friendliness, and limitless options for fun and relaxation.

If you want to know the absolute best, then it’s probably Laguna Beach town. The town itself is strikingly gorgeous, but there are also 20,000 acres of natural land set aside for climbing and trekking. You can also lease bicycles to visit an enchanting shopping area for amenities and entertainment. Montage Laguna Beach offers you a comfortable place to stay and enjoy drinks and fun.

Other great California beaches include:

  • Butterfly Beach: Located in Montecito, this beach is a top choice among those living in Santa Barbara for its swimming, sunbathing, and surfing.
  • Ventura: Just over an hour from Los Angeles, this beach has a working harbor, with fishing, surfing, paddle-boarding, and amusement park rides.
  • Malibu: This might just be the most famous beach stretch in the world. Enjoy themed shopping on a long wooden dock jutting into the Pacific.
  • Santa Monica: The Los Angeles area doesn’t have as many beaches as you would expect, but this beach town answers that problem nicely.
  • Coronado: Sitting south of San Diego, this beach is a long-running destination for celebrities and global leaders.
  • Huntington Beach: The 200,000 residents make this too big to be a small town, but the vibe is still as cool as anywhere. Level sandy beaches are why.


Many people equate time at the beach with happiness, and with all the sun and surf available, you should have no trouble finding a reason to smile. From fishing and surfing to building sandcastles with the kids or just reading and tanning, being on, by, or near the water is a great vacation or day off.