When you think of California, sun and sand automatically come to mind, and with good reason. There are literally hundreds of miles of beaches to explore in this coastal state, offering everything from surfing, camping, sunbathing or even bodybuilding! Check out some of the top beach spots in the aptly named Golden State.
Leo Carillo State Park
Located just off California’s Highway 1, at the foot of the Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu, Leo Carillo State Park combines 1.5 miles of beaches with some of the best camping and hiking opportunities around. Explore tide pools and caves, or get in some surfing and swimming. The north end of the beach is dog friendly and you can make a weekend of it by camping at the adjacent park, which has a beautiful campground, along with showers, bathrooms, and a general store.
Oxnard Beach Park
For family-friendly, relaxing beach time, Oxnard Beach Park is the perfect choice. Nestled right along the California Coastal Trail and Pacific Coast Bicycle route, Oxnard Beach features tree lined pathways, barbecue areas, and plenty of space to set up your beach umbrella. Kids will enjoy the play areas and there are several nearby restaurants for those who don’t want to pack their own picnic.
It simply wouldn’t be a trip to California without a visit to Venice Beach. This iconic little slice of bohemian life has stayed true to its eclectic roots over the years, despite the overall gentrification of the Venice area and the plethora of coffee shops and high end stores popping up around it. Stroll down the 2.5-mile boardwalk and watch performers and artists create, or check out the muscle mania and endless workouts at the beachside gym. Wide swaths of sand make it easy to relax and soak in the sun, or you can even play a little beach volleyball if you’d like!
Long Beach City Beach
Locally known as Junipero Beach, Long Beach City Beach stretches along Ocean Boulevard in the city of Long Beach, covering a total of four miles. There is a wide paved pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as a grass park area, restrooms and showers. Parking is available both in the designated parking lots and on the streets, with stairs that descend to the beach from street level at various intervals. Breakwaters built in the 1940’s protect the area from strong ocean waves, which makes it a safe swimming spot during most of the year.
Arroyo Burro Beach
It’s truly a dog’s life at this lovely Santa Barbara beach. Just five miles west of the city center, Arroyo Burro Beach is a popular place for dog walking, with both on and off-leash areas. There are long stretches of flat beach for an easy stroll or game of Frisbee, as well as a grassy area that has picnic tables and barbecue grills. The Arroyo Burro County Park building contains a restaurant and snack bar, and there are public restroom and showers available.