California is an ideal location for a beach vacation. With some of the nicest beaches in the world, it’s easy to spend an entire vacation playing in the sand, wading in the water, and taking beach walks. There are over 420 public beaches in California to explore.

Gorgeous beaches to visit

Pfeiffer Beach


Pfeiffer Beach, about 10 miles southeast of Andrew Molera State Park, is notable for its spectacular surrounding cliffs and variety of rock formations.


This beach is fantastic for families. Lifeguards patrol the beach all year, the waves are calm, the shoreline is long, and there is a seafront park with a playground.

Carmel Beach


Carmel Beach, located in a secluded cove, is one of the nicest spots to visit in California for a romantic walk. A wonderful route goes along the seaside cliff above the beach.

Santa Monica State Beach


There are many ways to enjoy this 3.5-mile length of beach that runs from Venice Beach to Will Rogers State Beach, like swimming and volleyball.

5 hidden gem california beaches

  1. Moonstone Beach – This beach is located just off Highway 1 in the town of Cambria. This beach is most well-known for the stunning tidal pools that create as the waves crash into the sand.
  2. Pirate’s Cove Beach – Swim in the beautiful water or wander along the smooth sand and take in the scenery. On a hot summer day, it’s the ideal spot for some relaxation.
  3. El Pescador Beach – El Pescador offers it all: sand, tidepools, restrooms, and even an additional secret cove that visitors to this already secluded beach sometimes overlook.
  4. Table Rock Beach – Although it is a bit of a hike down a 150+ step stairway, this secret beach is worth the additional effort to enjoy the isolated sand, intriguing tidal pools, and various sea caves that locals adore.
  5. South Ponto Beach – South Ponto Beach is located in an undeveloped region on the boundary of Carlsbad and Encinitas, making it one of the county’s widest beaches with lots of room for picnics, volleyball, and other sports.