When it comes to fun in the sun, southern California has it all. With its year-round tropical climate, year-round average water temperature of 78 degrees, perfect waves, excellent dining, and numerous oceanfront resorts, this earthly paradise also boasts picturesque harbors and a shimmering coastline filled with sand, surf and sun.
Not only is it home to millions of people but it beckons millions more each year from all over the globe. Whether you are a California resident headed to the beach to soak up the sun for a day, or you are planning a family vacation that your kids will remember for a long time to come, you'll find some beaches to add to your itinerary here.
Here are six of the top beaches in California, including nice, quiet beaches as well as a few beaches that are particularly nice for visiting families.
1. Santa Monica Beach. The West Coast's answer to Coney Island, this magnificent stretch of wide, sandy beach located in the seat of Los Angeles County features the famous Santa Monica Pier which houses its own amusement park atop one of the oldest wooden piers on the west coast. The site has also appeared in dozens of movies and television shows. Take a ride at sunset on the Ferris wheel for a spectacular ocean view. Enjoy lunch or dinner at the many different eateries in the area and be sure to check out the nearby attractions, which include Venice Beach and Palisades Park. This is one place that's sure to make a splash with the entire family.
2. Newport Beach. A fascinating and trendy bit of real estate located in Orange County, Newport Beach offers locals and tourists a variety of activities. Stroll on a scenic walkway, embark on a refreshing harbor cruise, or go boating, scuba diving, or bodysurfing Dining at most restaurants includes panoramic views of the harbors. Make sure to check out the Fun Zone and Balboa Pavilion.
3. Cardiff State Beach. Located in San Diego County, this recreational facility features lifeguards, restrooms and a smoothly sloping beach for sunbathing, fishing, swimming, surfing and kayaking. People love Cardiff State Beach for its quiet beach, casual atmosphere, fewer crowds and excellent restaurants. Nearby points of interest include Restaurant Row, which features savory seafood and Mexican fare; San Elijo Lagoon, which boasts great bird watching; and the Seaside Market where you can purchase a wide variety of healthy foods and snacks.
4. La Jolla. If your preference is sheltered coves and unique landscapes, then visiting these beaches in San Diego County should definitely be listed on your itinerary. The versatility of La Jolla's beaches makes for intriguing and enchanting getaways or they can be loads of fun for the entire family. Investigate the underwater marine life while snorkeling or simply walk the shoreline barefoot. Nearby attractions include The Scripps Institute of Oceanography and The Stephen Birch Aquarium Museum.
5. Oceanside City Beach. Tropical palm trees stretch along the shores of this tranquil and eloquent beach located in northern San Diego County. Take a leisurely walk, ride your bicycle or roller-blade down what is called "The Strand" (the main street alongside the beach) or spend some time fishing off the pier at Oceanside. Nearby Cape Cod Village offers lots of great restaurants and the beach has lifeguards and restrooms.
6. Coronado Beach. If you're in San Diego, you'll love the wide expanse of Coronado Beach with plenty of room for the family to spread out. While the kids are playing volleyball, soccer or tag, or tossing Frisbees, flying kites or building sand castles, you and your spouse can kick back and enjoy the surf, the sand and the seagulls.
This enchanting locale is home to the famous Hotel Del Coronado and is just a short ferry ride away from San Diego Bay. Or you can opt to pack everything you'll need for a day at the beach and drive across the Bay Bridge. No food is sold at the beach so be sure to bring along sandwiches, soft drinks and other snacks. There is free parking on Ocean Avenue but it gets crowded quickly so try to get there early.