Best Beaches on the West Coast

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west coast

From lively surf spots to family-friendly stretches with wholesome boardwalks, the West Coast has a lot of shoreline to offer.

National Geographic once named Cannon Beach one of the world’s best beaches, and for good reason. Its miles of sand combine remarkable natural areas with a charming village by the sea.

Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach, known as “Surf City USA,” is a beautiful beach town that’s popular with surfers. It’s a place where people flock to dip their toes in the sand, sit by a bonfire, and catch some waves.

Surfing is one of the most popular activities here, and you can sign up for lessons at the local Huntington Beach Surf School. It offers lessons for beginners, intermediates, and advanced surfers.

Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach is a beautiful secluded beach that is surrounded by mountains. It is known for its famous purple sand and is a must-see in Big Sur.

It is also a popular spot to watch the sunset and enjoy the sea stacks that are dotted along the beach. The most notable attraction at Pfeiffer Beach is Keyhole Arch, which is a rock formation that is shaped like a keyhole. The waves crashing into it are mesmerizing.

Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach is a narrow gently curving stretch of strand that’s filled with shops and restaurants on the waterfront. It’s a popular spot to take in stunning views, enjoy the sunset and catch the crashing surf.

Rockaway Beach is also a great place to go for kayaking. You can rent kayaks at Wheeler Marina, a mile north of the beach.

Hermosa Beach

Hermosa Beach is a coastal city located on the southern tip of Los Angeles County. It is a popular beach town that attracts visitors from all over.

Hermosa beach is a wide stretch of sand on the Pacific Ocean with a long pier at its end. The beach is a favorite for surfing and swimming.

Hermosa Beach is a family friendly beach community with a mellow atmosphere and warm weather. There is a variety of activities to enjoy during your visit including shopping, biking and dining.

Manhattan Beach

With 2.1 miles of beach, Manhattan Beach is the perfect destination for travellers seeking to experience California’s laidback beach lifestyle. It’s a considerably quieter area than many other tourist spots in Los Angeles but still boasts a great range of amenities and activities.

The beach is a popular location for swimming, surfing, and boogie boarding. It also has separate running and biking paths along its length, with lifeguard stations spaced out along the shore.

Glass Beach

Fort Bragg, California is home to a unique beach that combines local history, the power of the ocean, and natural beauty. Glass Beach is a beautiful spot to enjoy a walk, hike, or just sit on the sand and watch the sun set over the cliffs.

Residents of Fort Bragg threw their household garbage over the cliffs owned by Union Lumber Company, and referred to it as “The Dumps.” Over time, the pounding waves weathered the trash into the smooth, colorful sea glass that covers Glass Beach today.

El Matador State Beach

There are many great beaches on the west coast, but if you’re looking for one with stunning views and that attracts photographers from all over the world, head to El Matador State Beach. This secluded pocket beach sits along the Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach system and is only a few miles from Malibu, California.

El Matador is known for its sea stacks and cliffs that make it a favorite for photographers, as well as for the spectacular golden hour sunsets that can be seen here. In addition to its gorgeous landscape, this beach also boasts a number of rock formations and caves that you can explore during low tides.

Bowling Ball Beach

There are plenty of beaches to choose from along the west coast, including lively, bohemian surf spots, family-friendly stretches with wholesome boardwalks and rugged, windswept swaths.

Bowling Ball Beach, in the Point Area, is a scenic spot that’s a must-visit for nature lovers. This state park beach has huge spherical stones that line the rocky shore.