Southern California's Best Beaches

From Santa Barbara to San Diego

Southern California Beaches Index

Ventura County Beaches

Northern Ventura Co. Beaches

  • Rincon Point
  • La Conchita Beach
  • Mussel Shoals Beach
  • Old Piers Beach
  • Hobson Beach
  • Faria Beach
  • Mondos Beach
  • Solimar Beach

Emma Wood State Beach

San Buenventura Beach

McGrath State Beach

Oxnard Beaches

  • Mandalay Beach
  • Oxnard Beach
  • Hollywood Beach
  • Silver Strand Beach
  • Channel Islands Harbor

Hueneme Beach

Point Mugu State Park

  • Point Mugu Beach
  • Thornhill Broome Beach
  • Sycamore Cove Beach
  • County Line Beach

Santa Barbara County Beaches

Guadalupe Dunes & Beach

  • Guadalupe Dunes & Beach
  • Paradise Beach
  • Point Sal State Beach

Refugio Beach & El Capitan Beach

Gaviota Beach

  • Gaviota Beach
  • Jalama Beach

Goleta Beach

  • Goleta Beach
  • Isla Vista Beach
  • Sands Beach

Leadbetter Beach

  • Leadbetter Beach
  • Shoreline Park
  • Arroyo Burro Beach

East Beach

  • East Beach
  • West Beach
  • Stearns Wharf

Carpinteria Beach

  • Carpinteria State Beach
  • Carpinteria City Beach
  • Santa Claus Beach

    Los Angeles County Beaches

Santa Monica Beach

Venice Beach

Dockweiler State Beach

Manhattan State Beach

Hermosa Beach

Redondo Beach

  • Redondo Beach
  • Torrance Beach

Palos Verdes Beaches

  • Malaga Cove
  • Bluff Cove
  • Lunada Bay
  • Point Vicente
  • Abalone Cove

Royal Palms Beach

  • Royal Palms Beach
  • White Point
  • Point Fermin

Cabrillo Beach

Long Beach

Leo Carrillo State Park
Area Beaches

  • Leo Carrillo Beach
  • Nicholas Canyon Beach
  • Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach:
    • El Pescador Beach
    • La Piedra Beach
    • El Matador Beach

Zuma Beach

Point Dume Beaches

  • Point Dume Beach
  • Paradise Cove Beach
  • Escondido Beach
  • Dan Blocker Beach

Malibu Lagoon State Beach

  • Malibu Laoon
  • Surfrider Beach

Will Rogers Beach

  • Will Rogers Beach
  • Topanga County Beach
  • Las Tunas County Beach

    Orange County Beaches

Salt Creek Beach

  • Salt Creek Beach
  • Strand Beach
  • Dana Point

Doheny Beach

  • Doheny Beach
  • Capistrano Beach
  • Poche Beach

San Clemente Beach

  • San Clemente City & State Beaches

Bolsa Chica Beach

Huntington Beach

  • Huntington City Beach
  • Huntington State Beach

Newport Beach

  • Newport Beach
  • Balboa Beach

Corona Del Mar Beach

  • Corona Del Mar State Beach
  • Little Corona Del Mar Beach
  • China Cove Beach

Crystal Cove Beach

Laguna Beach

  • Crescent Bay
  • Picnic Beach
  • Thalia Street Beach
  • Tresure Island Park
  • Aliso Beach
  • Victoria Beach
  • . . . and many more

    San Diego County Beaches

La Jolla Beaches

  • La Jolla Shores Beach
  • La Jolla Cove Beach
  • Children's Pool
  • Windansea Beach

Mission Beach

  • Tourmaline Surfing Park
  • Pacific Beach
  • South Mission Beach

Ocean Beach

  • Dog Beach
  • Sunset Cliffs

Coronado Beach

Silver Strand Beach

Imperial Beach

San Onofre Beach

Oceanside Beach

Carlsbad Beaches

  • Carlsbad City Beach
  • Carlsbad State Beach
  • South Carlsbad State Beach

Encinitas Beaches

  • Moonlight Beach
  • Stone Steps Beach
  • Swami's Beach

San Elijo Beach

  • Cardiff State Beach
  • Fletcher Cove

Torrey Pines Beach

  • Del Mar Beach
  • Black's Beach

The Best Beaches for . . .

Surfing   Family Fun   Camping   Fishing   Diving   Wildlife

Camping Beaches

North to South

  • Jalama Beach County Park

    - (Santa Barbara Co.) Camping close together, but many beachfront sites, very popular
  • Refugio Beach

    - (Santa Barbara Co.) standard and group sites, good facilities, close to beach
  • El Capitan Beach

    - (Santa Barbara Co.) great campsites on a bluff overlooking the ocean, plenty of trees and space
  • Carpinteria State Beach

    - (Santa Barbara Co.) Several camping areas, most sites best for RVs, close together, but very popular.
  • Hodson & Faria Beaches, Rincon Parkway

    - (Ventura Co.) Small and usually crowded campsites on or near the beach at Faria and Hobson county beaches. RV camping at Rincon Parkway along the shoreline.
  • Emma Wood State Beach

    - (Ventura Co.) Oceanside camping, best for RVs or trailers, group campsites, inroute and hike and bike sites
  • McGrath State Beach

    - (Ventura Co.) Flooding in 2013 forced closure, some site re-opened. Call to confirm.
  • Point Mugu State Park

    - (Ventura Co.) Camp at Sycamore Canyon for great facilities and nice campsites, or go more primitive and park your RV on the beach at Thornhill Broome Campground.
  • Leo Carrillo State Park

    - (LA Co.) Canyon Campground protected from the wind, yet close to beach.
  • Dockweiler Beach

    - (LA Co.) only beach camping in Los Angeles, RVs or trailers only. Ocean front sites.
  • Bolsa Chica Beach

    - (Orange Co.) RV camping in sites along the sand.
  • Crystal Cove State Park

    - (Orange Co.) RV and family sites on bluff away from the beach.
  • Doheny Beach

    - (Orange Co.) RV and tent camping, some sites ocean-front, no hook-ups.
  • San Clemente State Beach

    - (Orange Co.) RV campground with full hook-ups and family site campground on bluff overlooking ocean
  • San Onofre Beach

    - (San Diego Co.) San Mateo Campground with hook-ups, Bluff Campground overlooking the ocean.
  • South Carlsbad State Beach

    - (San Diego Co.) RV and tent sites along the bluff overlooking the ocean, currently no hook-ups.
  • San Elijo State Beach

    - (San Diego Co.) RV and tent camping along the bluff overlooking the ocean.
  • Silver Strand State Beach

    - (San Diego Co.) RV and trailer camping on paved oceanside campground. No tent camping.

Some of the Best Surfing Beaches

  • Salt Creek Beach

    - Site of numerous surfing competitions, great waves at the Point.
  • San Onofre Beach

    - Experts gather at Trestles, beginners and intermediate love Old Man's.
  • Swami's Beach

    - A premier surfing destination in Southern California.
  • Black's Beach

    - South of Torrey Pines, Black's Beach is famous for its huge waves.
  • Imperial Beach

    - The big waves at Tijuana Sloughs are among the most challenging in California
  • Windansea Beach

    - Along La Jolla's coast, a legendary surf spot with a great break.
  • Huntington Beach

    - US Open Surfing competition, big waves around the pier.
  • Surfrider Beach

    - Premier surfing spot, triple point break, long surfing tradition
  • Surfers' Point at San Buenaventura Beach

    - C Street action off the point, Outsides, and other famous breaks.
  • Palos Verdes Beaches

    - Great breaks, hard to access and localism is a problem.
  • Doheny Beach

    - Long surfing history, great breaks at Boneyard and the Indicator, Doheny Surf Festival in July.
  • Rincon Point

    - Indicator, Rivermouth, and Cove - classic point breaks, can get huge
  • County Line

    -Beach and reef breaks. Best spot is The Point.
  • Mondos Beach

    - Moderate waves, but very popular with surfers, easy access

Popular Diving Beaches

  • Leo Carrillo State Park

    - Kelp forest, reefs, unique rock formations, popular for night diving.
  • Crystal Cove Beach

    - Reefs parallel the shore, Irvine Coast Marine Life Refuge, popular dive spots at Reef Point, Scotchman's Cove, Rocky Bight, and Pelican Point, historic anchors, wreckage of Corsair F4U.
  • La Jolla Beaches

    - Excellent diving all along the La Jolla coast, great reefs, La Jolla Canyon.
  • Point Dume Beach

    - Point Dume Pinnacles, Dume Submarine Canyon, lots of marine life, best for experienced divers
  • Palos Verdes Beaches

    - Difficult access at most places, but great diving.
  • Laguna Beach

    - Great diving at Crescent Bay, Diver's Cove, Fisherman's Cove, and more. Reefs, Seal Rock, Deadman's Reef,
  • Malibu Lagoon Beach

    - Snorkel and dive along the coast north of the lagoon.

Great Play in the Sand and Surf
Family Beaches

All California beaches have dangerous rip-currents and other hazards. Children playing near or in the surf should be supervised at all times.

  • Cabrillo Beach

    - Great for small children. The inner beach is protected by breakwaters at the mouth of LA Harbor and has virtually no surf. Outer beach has surf.
  • Corona Del Mar Beach

    - Protected by the harbor jetty, convenient facilities and easy access to beach.
  • Moonlight Beach

    - Simply a great family beach with playground, lifeguards, snack shop, volleyball, and easy acess.
  • Goleta Beach

    - Broad stretch of sand, playground, picnic areas close to sand.
  • Long Beach

    - Virtually no surf, gentle slope, lots of sand, convenient facilities.
  • Fletcher Cove Beach

    - With the adjacent park, Fletcher Cove is a wonderful place for families. Restrooms, showers, playground, and picnic areas along with a nice sandy beach.
  • Refugio State Beach

    - Lots of good facilities, easy access, bike trail.
  • Laguna Beach

    - Usually gentle surf, nearby Main Beach park, playground, tide pools.
  • Leadbetter Beach

    - Wide expanse of sand, gentle waves, close to Shoreline Park.
  • La Jolla Shores Beach

    - Great beach for everyone, good facilities and easy access. Next to Kellogg Park.
  • East Beach

    - long beach, good facilities, use caution around waves, lifeguards
  • Carpinteria Beach

    - Tomol Play Area, gentle waves, tidepools, good facilities
  • San Buenaventura Beach

    - Bike trail, playground on the sand, large picnic area, Ventura Pier
  • Silver Strand Beach

    - Popular with families and kids, portable toilets, moderate waves
  • Hueneme Beach

    - Meandering bike trails, pier, swings, broad beach

Best Fishing Beaches

  • Gaviota State Park

    - Fish from the Gaviota Pier for halibut, surfperch, bass, bonito, and jacksmelt. Available at night for those camping there
  • Goleta Beach Pier

    - The Goleta Beach Pier is considered one of the top fishing spots on the coast. Open 24 hours a day, lights, restrooms, etc.
  • Redondo Beach Pier

    - great facilities, designated fishing areas, easy access and parking
  • Leadbetter and Arroyo Burro beaches

    -Fish your way along the coast by kayak or float tube, surf fish for perch and corbina.
  • Stearns Wharf - Santa Barbara

    - great facilities, bait and tackle shop
  • Ventura Pier

    - Stretches 1,700 feet into the ocean, good spot for sea bass, halibut, yellowtail, and mackerel, benches, fish cleaning stations.
  • Port Hueneme Pier

    - 1,250 feet long, sandy bottom fishing, open 24 hours a day, restrooms, fish cleaning stations, lights and benches.
  • Newport and Balboa Piers

    - Open 5 AM to midnight, good fishing for rockfish, guitarfish, croaker, and surfperch. More deep-water fish off Balboa Pier.
  • Huntington Beach Pier

    - Bait and tackle shop on pier, good fishing for halibut, bonito, surfperch and more. Night lights, fish cleaning stations.
  • Point Mugu State Park

    - Use extreme caution and fish from the rocks at Point Mugu and down the coast. Rogue waves have taken unwary fishermen.
  • Leo Carrillo State Park

    - Cast from the rocky points in the center of the park or find the best holes along the beach.
  • Malibu Pier

    - try your luck fishing for corbina, kelp bass, halibut, surfperch, and mackerel.
  • San Clemente Pier

    - Artificial reef provides fish habitat, expect croaker, halibut, jacksmelt, guitarfish, corbina, and more. Open 4 AM to midnight. Lights, fish cleaning stations.

Best Wildlife Viewing Beaches

Ocean Safety

California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly."
Learn more about ocean safety at CA State Parks: Ocean Safety

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