The 6 Best Beaches in Southern California

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The 6 Best Beaches in Southern California

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by Allie Kals

If you’re visiting Southern California, chances are you’re going to spend some time soaking up the sun at the beach. It’s no doubt that people travel far and wide to visit the beaches lining the sunshine coast. 

The southern California coast is home to 75 beaches that bring in roughly 129 million visitors a year. Given the popularity, it’s more crucial than ever to do our part in keeping our oceans clean.

If you’re looking for:

  • The best beaches in southern California for families
  • The best beaches in southern California to take pictures
  • The least crowded beaches in southern California

Then we have got you covered!

Best Beaches in Southern California for Families

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Let’s say you want to hop in the car with your family and drive down the PCH. In this case, Santa Monica Beach and Corona Del Mar State Beach are the places to go.

Both beaches offer breathtaking views of the southern California coastline. They also have a bunch of activities to keep your family entertained. If you want to spend the day relaxing and soaking in the sunshine while your little ones have fun too, then go here! 

The next time your family is on a beach adventure, we want to challenge you to teach them to clean up afterwards.

After having a fun-filled day of playing in the sea, it’s important to teach our kids to keep our oceans clean. Teaching them something as simple as throwing away their trash at the beach, can have a ripple effect that lasts for generations to come. 

Checkout From Small To Large – The Path From Creeks To The Ocean to see how microplastics and litter end up in the ocean, and harm our freshwater sources.

Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica is the perfect beach for families looking for more than a beach getaway. Santa Monica has your typical beach activities—surfing, swimming, and beach volleyball. But, the beach also has fun fair rides, carnival games, and arcade games to keep your kids entertained. 

If you decide to check out Santa Monica, be sure to grab your favorite soft serve and stick around for the sunset! This pier has some of the most beautiful sunsets southern California has to offer, so don’t miss out.

Corona Del Mar State Beach

Corona Del Mar State Beach is located in Orange County. It is perfect if you want a fun-filled day of building sand castles, sun-bathing, and barbecuing. 

I recommend watching Gilligan’s Island before visiting Corona Del Mar. You’re sure to see some familiar sights since the film was shot here! This beach is also known for its killer waves and sunsets, so come prepared to swim and snap lots of photos.

Be sure to end your night by roasting some marshmallows at a bonfire by the beach. Don’t forget to bring a sweatshirt, as it can get a bit chilly there at night time.

Best Beaches In Southern California to Take Pictures

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As someone who visits the southern California coastline often, I always see photoshoots. In California, it feels like 9 out of 10 people are either influencers or actors. So taking the perfect beach photos is a must.

Whether you’re a blogger, photographer, or someone who wants a cool Instagram photo—then Victoria Beach and Huntington Beach are for you.  

The next time you decide to use the California coastline as a backdrop for your posts, I have a challenge for you. I want you to use your social media reach to inform your followers on how they can do their part to keep our oceans clean. 

Something as simple as linking to Ocean Blue Project —where our mission is to remove one pound of plastic per dollar donated—goes a long way. Or you could even get a group of people together and organize a beach clean-up day

Whatever it be, we encourage you to use your voice to make a positive impact on your community. We want you to be able to enjoy places like Victoria Beach and Huntington Beach for many years to come.

Victoria Beach/Laguna Beach

Victoria Beach is part of the infamous Laguna Beach. It has a beautiful castle nestled right near the water. It looks like it’s straight out of a movie, and the sunsets here are to die for. 

Every time I think of visiting Victoria Beach, I get a Bridgerton meets The Little Mermaid vibe. This is the go-to spot if you’re looking for the most Instagrammable beach in southern California.

Be sure to snap a photo during golden hour! It will show your followers the natural beauty this beautiful beach has to offer.

Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach is another beautiful beach. It is home to picturesque California sunsets. My sister happens to live here, and I can’t even count the times I have seen photoshoots happening there. I’ve even been lucky enough to see a sunset proposal happen

Maybe you want to snap a photo on the beautiful Huntington Pier. Or shoot a boomerang of you riding your roller skates down the boardwalk. The beautiful back-drop this beach has to offer will never disappoint.

I also find Huntington Beach is less crowded than some of the other more popular beaches. It’s the perfect place to go if you want to snap a photo away from the crowds.

Least Crowded Beaches in Southern California

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If you’re looking for that secret spot that is tucked away from all the tourists, look no further. Thousand Steps Beach and Torrance Beach are for you.

Thousand Steps Beach is in Orange County and Torrance Beach is off of Santa Monica Bay. Both are known by locals for being the perfect place to catch some sun, but also have a peaceful and relaxing stay.

Next time you’re in these areas, I challenge you to look for eco-friendly places to stay and eat at. When you stop by a restaurant, bring reusable cutlery and bags. Don’t use the single-use plastic cutlery and bags many restaurants will offer. An action as simple as using reusable options, helps keep our oceans clean. This will help protect the biodiversity that keeps our beaches so beautiful.

Thousand Steps Beach

A thousand steps sounds like a lot, but I promise you don’t actually have to walk 1000 steps to get to this beach. Though it is a bit of a hike to get here, the views and seclusion this beach offers is unlike any other.

The journey to this beach is what keeps many people from visiting, but if you are willing to go the extra mile to get here, you will not be disappointed. This beach is home to rock caves that transport you to your own little beach paradise. 

Be sure to walk all the way down the cove, because at the end there are two swimming pools that offer breathtaking views of the ocean. It is quite literally like nothing I have ever experienced before. 

Torrance Beach 

This beach is located off the Santa Monica Bay. But, it couldn’t be more different from the hustle and bustle of Santa Monica Beach. This is a hidden spot that’s perfect for people looking to soak up some sun, or spend the day surfing. 

This beach also features a bike path that beachgoers can use, that leads all the way up to Malibu. 

Are you looking for a paradise that offers both serenity but also a variety of activities? Then Torrance Beach is perfect for you!

Help Protect our One World Ocean

Maybe you’re setting off to cruise the PCH with your family. Or you’re looking for the most Instagrammable spots across the California coastline. Or maybe you’re just looking for a serene weekend getaway. 

Whatever it is, I want to invite you to do your part in keeping our oceans clean! By encouraging your families and friends to:

  • Clean up after themselves while at the beach, 
  • Donate to causes like Ocean Blue
  • Implement low-waste practices

You are committing to keep our oceans clean. Your voice is helping protect our biodiversity, which is more crucial now than ever!

Please consider signing up for the Ocean Blue newsletter. It will keep you up-to-date on how you can help keep our oceans clean and beautiful for many years to come.

Author Bio: Allie Kals is a freelance copywriter who loves coffee and travel. She enjoys writing about sustainability and women’s empowerment related causes.