Southern California Beaches

Best Beaches in Southern California

Most Southern California beaches are pretty spectacular and beautiful, but some beaches are better suited for certain activities than others.

Of all the Best Beaches in California, you’ll find the very best ones in Southern California. I have been an avid beach go’er ever since I came to Southern California, and have been to all these beaches and California Beach Towns along the coast. Some I like better than others.

The cleanest beaches can be found north from Los Angeles. Zuma beach is known for being a very clean family friendly beach. It’s also one of the most popular places for Beach Camping in Southern California.

There are also some outstanding California State Beaches here. With great fascilities to make your beach vacation very convenient and relaxed.

Here are a longtime, local beachgoer’s recommendations for the best beaches in Southern California and the best ones based on activities and qualities.

southern california beaches

California Beach At Redondo Beach

The Los Angeles county has a great many beaches that are well maintained and has many beach facilities geared for family activites and comfort. For a look at the best Los Angeles beaches click on the headline link above.

Malibu is known for its pristine and beautiful beaches. In fact the biggest Malibu attraction is the long gorgeous coastline with one beach after another.

Of all the Southern California beaches, I think the Santa Monica State Beach in Santa Monica is the best all around beach, and my sons agree. It’s one of the first beaches you hit when you take Santa Monica freeway West (10). The
Interstate 10 freeway runs into Pacific Coast Highway, PCH, to locals. The beach is located south of the Santa Monica pier.

It’s wide and sandy beaches is the best place for sunning, swimming and enjoying the Southern California beach scene.

On weekends it becomes crowded, but it’s great for people-watching and socializing.

Come early for easy beach parking. Bring a cooler with drinks and food, and a beach umbrella. Have fun in the sun! For surfing though, go elsewhere.

There is parking, lifeguards year-round, restrooms and showers.

If you are planning to vacation in the San Diego area, you should check out these wondeful San Diego Beaches.

There is a beach for every water activity waiting for you in San Diego County.

Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful beach towns in Southern California, and there are some very nice beaches along the Santa Barbara coast, with beachfront hotels to stay at.

It’s a great Southern California weekend getaway from Los Angeles, and the beaches are very popular.

Best Surfing Beaches in Southern California


southern california beaches

One of the best Southern California beaches for surfing is found in Huntington Beach, Orange County. The city’s nick name and slogan ‘Surf City USA’ tells it all.

The beaches in Huntongton Beach are famous for the yearly huge surfing competitions, when the World’s best surfers compete and win awards. It’s an awesome beach surfing festival and very fun to watch.

The Main Street beach with its large wonderful pier is where all the action is. There are great restaurants right on the beach. My very favorite is The Duke’s. It has a large outside deck with a fabulous view of the ocean and beach. It doesn’t get any better than this. I love sitting there, sipping a cool drink, enjoying the spectacular view, and watching the people on the beach and the surfers riding the waves in the ocean.

You don’t have to surf to enjoy this beach, but it is a great beach for surfing that’s for sure. There is so much to see and do here. I’ll guarantee a trip to Huntington Beach will be a highlight of your Southern California beaches vacation.

To reach the Main Street beach in Huntington Beach from Los Angeles, Take the 10 freeway East to the Harbor freeway towards San Pedro (110), then take the 405 Interstate South and exit on Beach Boulevard South, Huntington Beach. Take Beach Boulevard south to Pacific Coast Highway and turn right. Continue on PCH a few blocks to the Main Street beach. There is plenty of parking, restrooms and showers as well as life guards year-round. Traveling time from Los Angeles is about an hour and a half.

southern california beaches

Malibu Surfrider Beach

Another one of the very good surfing beaches in Southern California is the the Malibu Surfrider Beach. This beach is known for its 3 to 5 foot steady waves.

It’s located West of the Malibu Pier. There is an annual international surfing contest held here every september. That’s when the surfing waves are the best at the Southern California Beaches.

There is parking, restrooms, and year-round lifeguards.

To reach Malibu Surfrider Beach from Los Angeles, take the Santa Monica freeway West (10) to Pacific Coast Highway, go North on PCH toward Malibu. Exit when you see the Malibu Pier.

Best Beaches For People Watching


southern california beaches

Most Southern California beaches are great for people watching, but the very best beach to do some serious people watching is at the Venice City Beach.

You’ll love the surf and sand, but the boardwalk is where the fun and action is. There are non-stop parades of various characters from gorgeous bikini-clad girls on roller-blades to muscle guys with six pack abs, musicians and entertainers of all kinds.

The various activities going on at the beaches are surfing, basketball, racquetball, handball and shuffleboard. If you like you can rent a bike or in-line skates and enjoy the Strands wonderful scenic bike path.

There is ample parking if you come early, lots of food consessions, sidewalk cafes, playgrounds, showers and restrooms.

To get to Venice City Beach from Los Angeles, take the Santa Monica freeway West (10), exit on Fourth Street, turn left on Pacific Avenue and go to Venice Beach, turn right for beach parking. For information call

Best Beaches For Activities


southern california beaches

All Southern California beaches offer various activities, but the beach in Redondo Beach, has a fabulous huge pier loaded with top notch restaurants, shops and fishing spots. You can spend a whole day here and really have
some fun.

There is even dancing at night for the young people. My son met his wife here dancing. Be sure to either have lunch or dinner at Tony’s Seafood restaurant. Not only is the food great, but the fantastic views are spectacular. The restaurant sits over the water with a great view of the beach and the swimmers. I have taken every single visitor here, since I moved to Southern California years ago. Everyone loves the beach and the pier, and Tony’s restaurant in Redondo Beach. You will too!

To get to Redondo Beach Pier from Los Angeles, take the Santa Monica freeway West (10), exit on Lincoln Boulevard and turn left. Go to Sepulveda Boulevard turn right. You will be travelling under the LAX runways.  You will pass Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach. When you arrive at Redondo Beach turn right at the entrance to Redondo Beach Pier.

Best Secluded Beach


southern california beaches

Southern California Beaches can be noisy with lots of people, so if it’s more secluded and hidden beaches in Southern California that you are looking for, the southern end of Leo Carrillo State Beach is perfect.

This beach is located at the very edge of Ventura County, and it is wonderful for exploring.

The Sequit Point, a promontory point that divides the beach in half, Northwest and Southeast. There are secret coves, sea tunnels, and large boulders for perching or fishing. The fishermen usually hang out at the
Northwest end, and the surfers to the Southeast.

There are campgrounds available, but they are set back from the beach a bit. You need to call ahead for reservations. Call 800-444-7275 for camping reservations. There is parking, lifeguards most year-round, restrooms and beach firepits.

To get to Leo Carillo State Beach from Los Angeles, Take the santa Monica freeway West (10) to Pacific Coast Highway, travel North on PCH to Leo Carillo State Beach.

There are lots more Southern California beaches up and down the coast, but the ones mentioned here are the most popular of all the beaches in Southern California.

The Best and Most Popular Beach In Southern California

The Best Los Angeles Beaches

The Best Southern California Beach Front Hotels and Resorts

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