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The Best Beaches in California for a Beach Holiday California

The most beautiful California beach for a California beach vacation
A vacation in California is not perfect without a California beach vacation - the East Beach is one of them © Damian Gadal, Flickr

The best beach for a California beach vacation

Do you fancy a California beach vacation? Finding a perfect beach for a vacation in California is not that easy. The most beautiful beaches in California line up between Santa Barbara and San Diego along the Pacific coast from north to south. These are among the most beautiful beaches on the west coast of the USA.

Since the water off the coast of California north of Santa Barbara is too cold for swimming due to cold ocean currents, our tour begins in Santa Barbara with its East Beach. In the north you can see the Santa Ynez Mountains, to the south is the Stearns Wharf with its yachts. Santa Barbara has about 300 sunny days on average. And those who come on Saturday can browse the offerings of up to 250 artists exhibiting at the Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show.


Zuma Beach - one of the most beautiful beaches in California for a beach holiday California
The Most Beautiful Beaches in California - Zuma Beach © Alex Beattle, Flickr

Zuma Beach - a vacation in California at Malibu

Approaching Malibu on Hwy 101, you're on the lookout for a series of cars parked close to the Pacific Coast Highway. This indicates that you are approaching Zuma Beach. If you see an empty parking space here, take it. Or pay the parking fee for the large parking lot. On this beach you can also relax perfectly - just bring a towel, bathing suit and time, and spend the day on the beach. (Map)

What should pack for your California beach vacation:

  • These so called Beach equipment must be in your suitcase. You won't forget anything with our checklist.
  • Bathing shoes * should not be missing on many beaches in California. Not all beaches are sandy. Some go “tide pooling”, which means they climb over rocks to tidal pools to collect shells or other things. You need non-slip shoes that can get wet.
  • "It never rains in Southern California" - the Beach Boys were right with their song. Therefore one belongs sun hat definitely in the suitcase for a beach holiday on California's beaches. This is particularly practical because it can be folded up and easily fits into a handbag or suitcase.
  • Reading material for the beach holiday We've put together a list of easy holiday reading that's perfect for the beach.

Malibu Beach - one of the most beautiful beaches in California for a beach holiday California
Vacation in California USA on Malibu Beach © Ted Murphy, Flickr

California beach vacation at Los Angeles

Los Angeles beaches line up along the Pacific coast in the suburbs that stretch from Malibu to far south, the perfect start for you Road trip in California, However, the "Best Beaches in California" are not directly in the Los Angeles catchment area. Due to the vastness of MegaCity Los Angeles, it is not always easy to reach these beaches. Therefore, these offers, which you can book through our partner Get your Guide, offer a practical solution. And of course there are also great activities on these beaches.

Malibu - California Vacation Tips for Beach Holidays

Parking on the Pacific Coast Highway does not work here. At Geoffrey's Malibu there is even valet parking, and do not fail to watch the beach beauties having a cocktail at the Busy Parade. (Map)


Venice Beach - one of the most beautiful beaches in California for a beach holiday California
The Most Beautiful Beaches in California - Venice Beach © Esther Lee, Flickr

Venice Beach Hotels California - California Beach Vacation With High Life

The beach party in Venice Beach is somewhat different. Muscle men vie for the attention of sporty beach mermaids. Muscle Beach has been famous ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger flexed his muscles here. Dropouts also enjoy life on the beach. You need stamina to get to the actual beach behind the hustle and bustle of the promenade. (Map)


Manhattan Beach Pier
One of California's Most Beautiful Beaches - Manhattan Beach Pier © Tino, Flickr

Manhattan Beach - glamorous vacation in California

Manhattan Beach makes you feel like you've landed in one of those glossy magazines that promote life on the coast. Manhattan Beach is undoubtedly one of the most stylish beaches in Southern California, with fences overgrown with bougainvillea, well groomed children playing on the beach, and cottages on the hillside behind the beach. (Map)


Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach © Teresa Boardman, Flickr

Cabrillo Beach - perfect for a California beach vacation with kids

Before San Pedro you can find Cabrillo Beach. Cabrillo Beach consists of two beaches. One is protected behind the breakwater. This beach is suitable for families with children. On the pier you can cast your fishing rod or just go to the end to get another view of the beach. In a park on the coast is the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

The second beach is outside the breakwater and is exposed to the surf. This beach is a true paradise for those who enjoy tidepooling. What is Tidepooling? In the steep cliffs on this coast ponds are formed, in which sea animals are stranded at low tide. With a little luck, you will find starfish, sea anemones, crabs, mice and other animals that are otherwise comfortable in the water. When the next flood arrives, the animals will be washed back into the sea. It's fun to look around the tide pools for stranded sea creatures. You just have to be careful. Because the surf on this coast is unpredictable and wild. (Map)


Cabrillo Beach San Pedro Tristan Loper Flickr CC BY SA 20
Cabrillo Beach San Pedro Tristan Loper Flickr CC BY SA 20

California beach vacation at Huntington

Surfin 'USA - that's happening at Huntington Beach. In any case, the city is considered one of the centers of surfing. No wonder that you keep walking past surf shops in town. There is even a statue dedicated to the surfer Duke Kahanamoku - one of the most famous surfers in the USA. The view of the ocean, however, is affected by offshore oil rigs. (Map)


Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach © Don Graham, Flickr

Laguna Beach California USA - one of the most beautiful beaches in California

Laguna Beach is more natural. One of the most beautiful stretches of beach in this place is Heisler Park with its bougainvillea-lined paths and rocky outcrops that reach into the sea. (Map)


La jolla cove
La Jolla Cove © SD Dirk, Flickr

Enjoy a California beach vacation at San Diego

La Jolla Cove - one of the most beautiful beaches in California

You live in La Jolla if you belong to the affluent part of San Diego's population. But it is also a place for families with children who like to explore the sea caves, look for starfish in the tide pools, or climb the cliffs bordering the city center. (Map)


Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach © hoteldelcoronado, Flickr

California beach vacation at San Diego

San Diego has a number of beautiful beaches that are worth a visit. One you should not miss is Coronado Beach in San Diego with its beach hotel, the Hotel Del Coronado. The charm that radiates from this five-star hotel also lends a special charm to the offshore Pacific beach. However, military planes fly over the beach at irregular intervals as they approach the nearby military base. Special San Diego Hotel Tips * you can find under this link. Do you want the beaches of San Diego with children * experience? Via this link you will find hotels with family rooms near the beach. (Map)


More tips:

Travel Arrangements:

How to travel to your beach holiday California

United and other airlines fly to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Car hire for your trip to the best beaches in California:

Cheap car hire - book here! *

Are you looking for another beach hotel California?

Here you can do yours Beach Hotel California * search. Click on the map view. All Hotels in California * you can find via this link.

Travel Guides

Travel Guide for California * you can find on Amazon.de.

Find more Slow Travel Tips can be found under this link. Do you already know the most beautiful beaches in Canada? Or our article about one Zodiac tour of the Miami waters?

The most beautiful beaches in California for your beach holiday California
Click on the photo and pin "California's most beautiful beaches for your California beach vacation" on Pinterest

Source: own research on site. The article contains some affiliate links.

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright see photo

Where can I find the best beaches in California?

The most beautiful beaches in California are between Santa Barbara and San Diego.

Where can I find Venice Beach hotels?

Here you can Book Venice Beach hotels *

Which San Diego hotel is located on Pacific Beach?

Discover your Hotel San Diego Pacific Beach *


  1. Mojo
    | Reply

    Stunning photos! So far I have had a slightly different picture of LA in LA. Since you can also do very good beach vacation without much public traffic.

    • Monika & Petar Fox
      | Reply

      Of course, LA is also a mega-city. But she is also by the sea. That's a big part of their attraction. The beaches here in the article, however, are not all to find in the immediate area of ​​Los Angeles. They stretch from Malibu to San Diego, where the water is the warmest.

  2. Nicole from PASSENGER X
    | Reply

    Oh wow, that looks all gorgeous! Since I would like to start directly a pure Beach Road Trip!

    • Monika & Petar Fox
      | Reply

      Hello nicole,

      that would be a good idea. The beaches in Southern California are worth a trip alone.

      Best regards,

  3. Shadowlight
    | Reply

    This is a true dream!

    • Monika & Petar Fox
      | Reply

      I can only confirm that, dear Jenny. From Santa Barbara to the south, California is a true beach paradise.

      Best regards,

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