Top 10 Southern California Beaches

Top 10 Southern California Beaches

Southern California has no shortage of gorgeous beaches. The region’s coastal beauty and warm climate draw many visitors to “The Golden State.” Here’s a list of its Top 10 Beaches including some famous tourist hot spots and other lesser known destinations. Celebrate summer’s arrival and experience SoCal’s beach culture on a seaside retreat.

1. Malibu Lagoon State Beach, Malibu

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The upscale oceanside city of Malibu has miles of pristine beaches, which is probably why so many celebrities and other wealthy people choose to build their houses along its shore. Malibu Lagoon State Beach, also called Malibu’s Surfrider Beach, is located where Malibu Creek enters the Pacific Ocean. It’s an extremely popular surfing beach and was designated as the first World Surfing Reserve Site in 2010. In addition to an amazing beach, the 110-acre site bordered by the Santa Monica Mountains also features wetlands, gardens, a picnic area, the Historic Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum.

2. La Jolla Cove, San Diego

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The stunning beach in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego has towering cliffs, an amazing cover and many resident pinnipeds.  Sea lions relax on rocks and harbor seals nap on the nearby Children’s Beach.  La Jolla Cove been dubbed “The Most Photographed Beach in San Diego” and “The Jewel of San Diego.” Surfing and bodyboarding is not permitted in the cove’s ecologically-protected ocean waters.

3. Huntington State Beach, Huntington Beach

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This 3.5-mile long beach of the same name as the city that it’s located is one of the most famous Orange County beaches. Huntington Beach is one of California’s  best beaches to surf and the city’s nicknames include “Surf City” and “The Surfing Capital of the World.” The beach hosts many surfing competitions throughout the year including the U.S. Open of Pro Surfing.

4. Coronado Beach, Coronado Island

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The Coronado Island 1.5-mile long beach earned the top honor in 2012 as “The Best Beach in America” by Dr. Beach, also known as coastal research expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman. With the breathtaking background of the Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado Beach often makes the list of The Travel Channel’s best beaches. Coronado Island is located a short ferry ride away from San Diego.

5. Santa  Monica State Beach, Santa Monica

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Recognized around the world by its famous pier featuring Pacific Park, this beach located in the City of Santa Monica is a major tourist attraction. Santa Monica State Beach runs three miles along Pacific Coast Highway and was the original location of Muscle Beach. The state beach has a picnic area, beach volleyball nets, basketball courts and nearby restaurants. While the beach will likely be crowded, it’s a must-see for anyone visiting Southern California!

6. Descanso Beach, Catalina Island

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The tranquil beach located in Avalon on Catalina Island is the perfect spot to get away from it all and relax by the crystal blue waters. Descanso Beach Club provides dining options, restrooms, outdoor showers, cabana rentals and other services. Catalina Island is just a short boat ride from the Southern California coast!

7. Venice Beach, Los Angeles

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One of the most well-known beaches in Los Angeles is bordered by the Ocean Front Walk lined with a unique group of eclectic individuals such as street performers, magicians, snake charmers, artists and bodybuilders. Aside from the boardwalk attractions, the beach is quite beautiful and its breakwater makes it popular with surfers. No trip to Los Angeles is complete without a stop at Venice Beach!

8. East Beach, Santa Barbara

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The gorgeous stretch of sand is one of Santa Barbara’s most popular beaches and is known for volleyball being the site of many tournaments. East Beach is lined with the amazing Spanish Colonial style architecture that makes Santa Barbara so special. Its amenenities include a park, bathhouse, restaurant and restrooms. Stearn’s Wharf separates East Beach and West Beach.

9. El Matador Beach, Malibu

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A photographer’s dream, this rocky beach located in Malibu has stunning scenery with its extraordinary rock formations, large crashing waves and clear waters. El Matador Beach is more secluded and peaceful than most Southern California beaches giving visitors the opportunity to bask in its infinate beauty! The beach is part of Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach along Pacific Coast Highway.

10. Victoria Beach, Laguna Beach

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This beach like the Orange County city that it’s located is artistic and unique with white sand, turquoise waters and its one-of-a-kind Victorian tower. Victoria Beach’s beauty makes up for its remoteness and lack of parking or amenities. The beach does have volleyball courts and lifeguards. Its famous turrent was built by a homeowner in 1926 to gain access to the beach.

Tourists should note that the beaches will be crowded and parking can be limited so it’s best to arrive at the beach early in the day. Also, wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water!

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