Whether you prefer the purple sands of Pfeiffer Beach in Northern California or the endless expanses of fine, golden sand of Zuma Beach in Malibu, you will find your one of the ideal beaches in California. There are beaches where people-watching is more fun than swimming, like in Santa Monica in California or Newport Beach. There are California beaches where families bring kids to frolic in the sand and warm surf and others where rip currents and underwater reefs make powerful waves only surfers can love. Here are the best beaches in California:
Here are the Top 10 Cleanest Beaches in California
1. South Carlsbad State Beach, Carlsbad
There aren’t many oceanfront campsites in the state, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at South Carlsbad State Beach. Plus these clifftop campsites are much easier to book than those up at Big Sur. (Carlsbad State Beach, just north from here, has RV parking.) Though this popular beach in California feels remote, it’s just outside of San Diego so when you want a break from roughing it, there are plenty of great places to eat out or stock up on supplies nearby. North of the beach is Legoland, a popular theme park that caters to families with young children. Directly east of the beach, you’ll also find several championship golf courses, like the Aviara Golf Club and The Crossings at Carlsbad. And, when you want the essence of roughing it without really having to? Grab dinner at Campfire in Carlsbad, which has expert cocktails, beautifully plated smoked foods, and s’ mores that come with their own tiny fire pit.
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2. Blacks Beach, La Jolla/San Diego
This most scenic beach in California is not for the acrophobic. To reach Blacks, you’ll have to hike 300 feet down the cliffs from Torrey Pines and the world-famous Gliderport where hang-gliders take off. Once you’re down though, you’ll find stunning views, powerful waves for experienced surfers, and a clothing-optional section to the north just…in case. Aside from making the steep descent from the Gliderport, you can also access Blacks Beach from the La Jolla Farms neighborhood, follow the unmarked trail near the 9000 blocks of La Jolla Farms Road (ask a passerby to point you in the right direction if you don’t spot it). La Jolla itself is about 20 minutes north of downtown San Diego via the 5 freeway. Behind the cliffs of Blacks Beach are several great hiking trails, though some are rocky and require intermediate climbing skills. Further down, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps is well worth a visit, especially with kids, as is the Estancia La Jolla hotel where you can reward your climb up the cliffs with a spa treatment.
3. Crystal Cove State Park
Crystal Cove State Park has four of the best beaches to see in California spread along 3.2 miles of rugged coastline, complete with tidepools, easy hiking trails, and campsites. Head to Moro Beach for water sports like surfing and paddle-boarding (just remember to bring your own gear), or take the kids to explore at Pelican Point and Little Treasure Cove. Keep an eye out for the Historic District, where you’ll find rustic beachfront cottages from the 1930s and ’40s (you can even rent one for the night if you book well in advance). Just up the hill from the park’s northern end is the Resort at Pelican Hill, a Mediterranean-inspired retreat with luxury villas and a fabulous swimming pool. Use the resort as your home base, or just pop in for a spa treatment and dinner. Check out Balboa Fun Zone, a harbor-side amusement park 20 minutes away on Balboa Island for something decidedly more casual.
4. Stinson Beach, Marin County
This cleanest beach in California is an easy day trip from San Francisco, making it popular with residents eager to escape the city. But this spot is also great for visitors, given that there’s room for everyone, and the waves are great for surfing and swimming (if you can stand the chilly water, that is). There are picnic tables and barbecue grills right on the sand, so don’t forget to pack your picnic supplies, and come early to snag a spot (especially in warmer months). At the base of the lifeguard tower, the Siren Canteen is a small restaurant that serves cold beer and small snacks from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Adjacent to the beach is Mount Tamalpais State Park, which has plenty of hiking and biking trails through beautiful redwood groves (you’ll find everything from quick hikes to half-day journeys to the summit).
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5. Huntington City Beach, Huntington Beach
This beach town in California is known as Surf City, USA, for a reason: Huntington City Beach has the most consistent break in the country, making it popular with both first-time and experienced surfers. As a bonus, you’ll also get some five-star people watching all along the Huntington Beach Pier. To avoid the crowds, place your beach blankets down north of the pier. (When you’re officially over the crowds, split for Bolsa Chica Beach, a 10-minute drive away.)The pier is one the longest on the West Coast. At the end, you’ll find a Ruby’s Diner, which has the popular Jan & Dean’s tiki lounge on the second floor. For a change of scenery, drive 15 minutes to Newport Beach and visit the Upper Newport Bay Nature Reserve or stroll through the charming Balboa Village.
6. Malibu Lagoon State Beach, Malibu
This one of the top beaches in California named Malibu has a lot to offer just north of Los Angeles. The beach city is home to a nature preserve, world-class—albeit crowded waves, great hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains, and some staggeringly ostentatious houses (that, yes, you can rent and stay in for the weekend). The Malibu Lagoon sits adjacent to the famous Surfrider Beach and the Malibu Pier, and though it’s not the best for swimming, it’s a low-key spot for a day on the beach. At the edge of the lagoon visit the Adamson House which was built in 1929 and shows what life was like before Malibu’s present-day glitz. Malibu Farm Cafe at the end of the pier is a great spot for lunch, or head to the swanky Nobu Malibu just down the road (you’ll probably want to stick around ’til sunset for the view). Across from the Adamson House is the Malibu Country Mart, which has a mix of designer and local shops, and the soon-to-open Malibu Contemporary Fine Art Gallery.
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7. Black Sands Beach, Shelter Cove
Just as cool as it sounds, the so-called Lost Coast is the only coastal wilderness area in the contiguous United States. This famous beach in California features more than 30 miles of wild coastline where you’re likely to see bear, elk, and seals. You’ll find a handful of trails within the park all of which cater to more advanced hikers but the stunning Black Sands Beach is just off the parking lot. Aside from hiking and camping along the Lost Coast, you can head further inland to explore the lush Redwood National Park. A handful of trails wind through the massive redwoods and along the coast. Fun fact: Parts of “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” were filmed in Fern Canyon.
8. Will Rogers State Beach, Pacific Palisades
This best beach in California sits between Santa Monica Pier and Malibu pro surf spots like Surfrider and Topanga, making it a convenient choice for a beach day that doesn’t take much planning. If you’re feeling adventurous, take the winding bike path along the beach, or follow the locals and park your car near lifeguard Tower 15 where there’s more space. Just up the road is Temescal Gateway Park, where multiple trails will lead you into the Santa Monica Mountains. Completing the Temescal Ridge Trail takes about an hour and a half and is a hearty workout, but the ocean and city views from the top are quite the reward.
9. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur
There’s a reason Big Sur demands a stop on nearly every California road trip: The area is so gorgeous it looks like a Hollywood green screen. While most of the beaches are off limits, there are a few you can get to, like Limekiln State Beach, and, for a fee, Pfeiffer Beach. Hike along the coastline from where you’ll see huge cliffs, waterfalls plunging into the ocean, lush vegetation, and maybe even dolphins and otters playing in the shallows. There are places to camp but book in advance because they fill up fast. The beautiful beach in California is about 35 miles south of Carmel, near the 35.8-mile marker on the scenic Highway 1. Further north on Highway 1 is the Nepenthe restaurant, where you can take in the astonishing views and tuck into bright California cuisine. Want to stay overnight? Ventana Big Sur offers “glampsites” with safari-style canvas tents and luxe amenities.
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10. Leadbetter Beach, Santa Barbara
There’s a lot to love about Santa Barbara. This mellow seaside city and most popular beach in California has a wonderfully laid-back vibe, great food, and even better wine pouring down from the many nearby vineyards. Of the many beaches and surf spots, Leadbetter is a crowdpleaser with lots of space and the perfect lunch spot—Shoreline Beach Café—smack dab in the middle of the sand. From Los Angeles, take the 101 to exit 97 and follow directions to Shoreline Drive. You park at the Shoreline Beach Café, although as with most beaches in California there is a parking fee. Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, just behind Leadbetter Beach, is considered the city’s new arts and culture hub, and home to the city’s urban wine trail. Grab a glass at Santa Barbara Winery before popping into the art galleries and boutiques surrounding it, and don’t miss lunch or dinner at Loquita Santa Barbara.
All the Beaches which are mentioned above are the Cleanest Beaches in California where you can enjoy yourself and spend your weekends. These Beaches are the best in terms of Enjoyment. Fun and Entertainment and you will definitely have a quality time there. Bring your camera with to capture all the beautiful moments. Give us your opinions and reviews at the comment section and if you like our post it so that it will be helpful to others also.
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