Top Five Must See California Beaches

3 January 2014

California is a land blessed with many great features and it’s no accident that it was given the nickname “The Golden State”. Not only rich in fertile lands and natural resources, this huge state on the U.S. west coast boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the nation. Take a drive down the winding Pacific coastal roads and stop along the way at its many famous beaches and you’ll soon see why California is so loved. On your journey down the coast these are some of the California beaches that should not be missed.

 Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Redwood National Park, Crescent City
Next to California’s incredible coastline, the state is known for its tall, famous redwood trees. Why not take in both natural attractions at Redwood National Park where the vast woodlands and over 40 miles of Pacific coastline come together in one amazing package. Nearby hiking and wildlife areas as well as fantastic bird watching and camping sites are all just minutes away from the dramatic and rugged cliff side beach area. Located 325 miles north of San Francisco, this may not be a beach for swimming and sun bathing but the natural wonders are out of this world.

Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County
If you’ve ever wanted to take a drive over one of the world’s most famous bridges, head north of San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County where you’ll find the Point Reyes National Seashore and Beach. Eighty miles of deserted beach and breathtaking cliff tops make this one of the most beautiful beaches on the west coast. The endless miles of hiking trails and beach front are perfect for camping and for viewing the amazing marine life, from whales out at sea to resting sea lions on the beach. Look up on the jagged cliff tops and the Point Reyes Lighthouse adds a picture perfect touch to an already beautiful location.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur
Located several hours south of San Francisco on the central California coast at Big Sur is the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Both the moderate temperatures and stunning views offer a lovely Mediterranean style feel and the beach is an inviting place to enjoy the views of the aqua blue waters. The state park offers enjoyable camp grounds that are close to the quiet beach where you’ll find waterfalls cascading off the cliffs. Native flora and fauna can be enjoyed in protected areas along numerous hiking trails too making this the perfect spot to enjoy all nature has to offer.

El Matador, Malibu
Just a short drive past Malibu from Los Angeles is one of Southern California’s most famous beaches. The dramatic coastal scenery and misty spray from the jagged sea rocks makes this a popular beach for filming and photography. The beach is a popular place for surfing, jogging and long peaceful walks while taking in the rocky outcrops and mountain scenery. Access to the beach is via a steep cliff side trail with stairs but the trip is well worth the effort.

Ocean Beach, San Diego County
This welcoming, laid back beach is not only a visual stunner but a popular local hang out filled with long piers, dog walking areas, great fishing spots and surfers looking to catch the best waves. Nearby cafes and shops mix with taco stands and vintage clothing shops that give the community a funky vibe.  The beach is a great spot for swimming, sun bathing and surfing while the pier (the longest concrete pier in the United States) offers a great spot for long seaside walks. If you care to bring your four legged friend, the dog area is located on the northern end of the beach.

After experiencing some of the great California beaches it’s easy to understand why the state is such a big draw. The ocean side allure has been drawing tourists and transplanted residents for centuries with no end in sight. Rent a convertible, drop the top and hit the road on an unforgettable California adventure.

Todd Sturm

I currently live in Brisbane, Australia. No matter where my travels take me, I enjoy experiencing each destination from the perspective of the locals. Some of my favourite attractions include historic sites, national parks and architectural landmarks.