Top 5 Beaches in Southern California

There’s no denying California is lined with beautiful beaches, but which ones are among the best? Below, we’ll look at five of the best beaches in a state known for surfing, beachcombing, and swimming spots. These beaches stand out, because each one offers something a little different, as well as taking visitors away from the harsh reality of the nearby bustling cities.

Crystal Cove State Park

Deep within the park, there’s a 3.5-mile beach worth visiting for family friendly summer fun. The park, which boasts more than 2,000 acres of wooded land is near Newport Harbor, but far enough away that the city’s hectic pace won’t affect your time relaxing in the sun. What makes this beach unique is the “underwater park” available to divers and explorers, all of whom will delight in mingling with the lively reefs teeming with beautiful sea life.

Catalina Island

Located less than 30 miles away from the California coastline, the shores of this island serve as a playground for sun-worshippers, beachcombers, and water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can spend their hot summer days scuba diving, kayaking and snorkeling. Taking a break from the water, there are also opportunities to get in some horseback riding, hiking and shopping. The port town of Avalon tempts visitors away from the sand and surf with a host of shopping centers, cafes, and restaurants. A trip to Catalina Island is available from several ports and requires a 50-minute comfortable ride aboard a high-speed catamaran from the mainland.

La Jolla Cove

Sandstone cliffs overlook the crescent-shaped beach, which is among the smallest beaches lining the southern California coast. Also one of the most popular spots, La Jolla Cove may feel like a visit to another country altogether. Waters are so clear that scuba divers and snorkelers can see up to a distance of 30-feet and, as a home to protected wildlife, it’s definitely a view worth a visit. The nearby Children’s Beach isn’t so much a place to wade in the water, but it is home to hundreds of sea lions that bask in the sun each day, much to the delight of visitors who can view them at close range.

Venice Beach

Further up the coast lies Venice Beach, and it might be said that this beach is unlike any other beach in the state. There’s the traditional surfing, swimming, and tanning, but the sand also plays host to what might best be termed a permanent carnival! Shops and fast food joints line the beach’s outer barrier, while artists, weightlifters, musicians and volleyball games create a fun and unique experience for all who visit.

El Matador Beach

The final beach on this list is just what the doctor ordered for some peaceful relaxation away from Los Angeles. The smooth sands of the beach are perfect for sunbathing or enjoying a picnic lunch. Later, go for a swim in the cool ocean waters. The beach is also good for hiking, offering a selection of hidden coves and nooks. While El Matador Beach is close to the city, it’s one of the best locations for a romantic getaway with secluded spots for sunset watching.

Certainly, there are more beaches in southern California, each offering something unique, but these five beaches stand out among the rest. A curious explorer may find even more to revel in at each one of these exciting locations, where vacationers can reconnect with nature.