Boasting more than 1,000 miles of coastline, the Golden State is widely recognized for its world-renowned beaches and dramatic scenery. With terrain as diverse as the Sierra Nevada, the fertile farmlands of the Central Valley and the arid Mojave Desert, the unique geography of the state contributes its impressive and unrivaled landscape.

California is home to some of the tallest (Redwood), largest (Giant Sequoia) and oldest (bristlecone pine) trees in the country. It is also home to the highest (Mt. Whitney) and lowest (Death Valley) points in the 48 contiguous states. However, it is the state’s picturesque sunsets, seaside towns, eclectic population and breathtaking oceanfront views that make California also home to some of the world’s best beaches.

Laguna Beach

Crescent Bay In Laguna Beach,California.Long before Laguna Beach became popularized by the MTV series by the same name, Laguna Beach existed as Southern California’s premier coastal destination. Laguna Beach is located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego and features a seven-mile stretch of sand that serves as a year-round retreat for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beachgoers. Adventure seekers can experience thrills via land or sea: rent a bike, take a hike or sign-up for a whale watching tour.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach Path

Via Wikimedia Commons

While other California beaches have the same sun, surf and sunshine, there isn’t a beach in existence like Venice Beach. Whether you’d like to experience the thrill of a wooden roller coasters or prefer to people watch over a cup of coffee, Venice Beach has you covered. From a 3-ring urban street circus to a 3-mile boardwalk spanning the manicured sands of the Pacific Ocean, a trip to Venice Beach will mean fun for the whole family.


Malibu Lagoon State Beach in Malibu, CaliforniaA visit to Malibu takes you to a region that is rural, glamorous, rugged and scenic. Malibu consists of a 21-mile strip of prime Pacific coastline with a rich history. In 1542, Spanish explorers reported a large village of the Native American Chumash people living in Malibu. Today, however, you’re more likely to encounter a celebrity sighting. Robert Redford, Mel Gibson, Barbra Streisand, Richard Gere, Sally Field and Whoopi Goldberg all own homes along the exclusive Malibu shore.

Crescent Beach

Sun Over Castle Rock, Crescent City, CaliforniaA far cry from the Ritz and glamour of its southern counterparts, Crescent City Beach offers visitors a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. A quick drive from Redwood National Park, visitors will be able to catch breathtaking glimpses of the sea from its steep cliffs miles above sea level. One visitor described Crescent City Beach as the kind of place “where you can lay back in the sand, listen to the waves, and let your mind drift.” Be sure to bring your camera!

What’s your favorite California beach or attraction along the West Coast? Share your favorite memories in the comments below!