California's Best Beaches Visiting the Golden State’s Most Popular Beaches

California’s Best Beaches: Visiting the Golden State’s Most Popular Beaches

California is known for its beautiful beaches, and they are as wide-ranging as the people who call this state home. Below are five of the more unique and popular beaches for swimming, people-watching and, of course, surfing.

Enjoy the view at Laguna Beach

Pristine beaches, seaside cliffs, and sparkling blue waves make this stunning stretch of Southern California coastline one of the most beautiful in all of California.

Public art graces the streets and parks, quaint beach cottages sit alongside grand mansions and a plethora of hotels, galleries and restaurants occupy this beach town.

Laguna Beach has 30 public beaches and coves, all accessed off Pacific Coast Highway.

Main Beach is the best beach for swimming and has volleyball and basketball courts.

Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy Heisler Park for sweeping panoramic views.

For amazing underwater experience, Diver’s Cove, a protected inlet is popular with snorkelers and divers, and Aliso Beach is the surfers’ favorite.

Strolling the Venice Beach Boardwalk

No visit to Los Angeles would be complete without a trip to the bizarre Venice Beach.

The circus-like boardwalk not only includes the famous “Muscle Beach” and hot-dog vendors, but also street performers, fortune-tellers, and eternal hippies.

Venice, California is known not only for its sandy beach and eccentric boardwalk but also for its canals.

The Venice Canal Walk weaves through three miles of a quiet and peaceful canal neighborhood and is easily accessed from Venice or Washington Blvd.

Pacific Beach and Mission Beach, a Laid-Back Community

Between Mission and Pacific Beach stretch three miles of the classic, stereotypical Californian beach scene.

Year-round joggers, in-line skaters, and cyclists sail down the boardwalk and surf shops, burger joints, bars, and motels line Mission Blvd.

The surf is good for beginners and all levels of bodysurfers and is the perfect place for people watching.

Mission Beach is home to Belmont Park and has an old classic wooden roller coaster. It’s free to enter the park; you pay handsomely for the rides individually.

Catch a Wave at San Clemente Beach

If you’re looking to catch some waves, San Clemente has the greatest collection of surfing spots – for both experts and beginners – than anywhere else in the world.

This unique beach town is built on hillsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean, complete with a fishing pier.

San Clemente Beach is one of the last “true” surfing and beach communities South of Los Angeles.

A bait and tackle shop is conveniently located, as are umbrella, surfboard and bodyboard rentals close to the pier.

Capitola, a 19th century vacation resort

Another popular surfing beach, Capitola is located five miles east of Santa Cruz; this beach town is surrounded by the Santa Cruz Mountains on one side, and Monterey Bay on the other.

Typically quieter than Santa Cruz, Capitola beaches include both sand and rocky shoreline.

Downtown you’ll find plenty of shops, galleries, B&B’s, and restaurants, and has the same artsy feel to Orange County’s Laguna Beach.