If California is known for anything, it’s the beaches. Some famous coastal spots that may come to mind are Malibu, Huntington Beach and maybe even Venice Beach. But what about all of those smaller beaches that don’t get the same attention as these popular tourist destinations? The California coast is scattered with charming beach towns that you can’t miss. It’s time to start planning a summer trip because we’ve got some great ideas for you.
Capitola is a cute beach town in Northern California. Located on the coast of Monterey Bay. The town boasts a colorful coast scattered with bright homes, giving it a Mediterranean flair and its sweet downtown is filled with restaurants and great places to shop. The beach, of course, is even the real star of the show, though. Since it’s located in a bay, the water is usually safe for children to splash around in and when you’ve finished up your day in the sand, you can rinse off at the beach’s showers.
Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay is another NorCal favorite. The adorable town is just south of San Francisco and is home to the Mavericks, a surfing location where waves can top out at of 60 feet. There are multiple great beaches in the area and if you like seafood, then the surrounding restaurants here are to die for! Just remember, if you’re visiting in the cooler months, bring along a jacket, because Half Moon Bay can get pretty chilly.
Moving on south, make your way down to Carmel, a small town just south of the more famous beach city, Monterey. The town’s streets are scattered with fairytale cottages and galleries, plus the city is also home to the historic Carmel Mission. If you’re a scuba fan, there is a scuba entry point, just beyond Carmel Beach, which is a major surf spot. You may also hear the town being called Carmel-by-the-Sea, a name that it took on because of its perfect seaside location.
As we move on from our favorite NorCal beaches, we find ourselves down at Avila Beach. Avila Beach, like Carmel, is often overshadowed by its more famous next-door neighbor, Pismo Beach. If you find yourself at Pismo Beach though, you just need to take a short trip up to Avila. Locals and visitors alike often make their way to Avila Beach due to it being far less busy than Pismo. The area is also known for its wine tasting and nearby city, San Luis Obispo. You may also recognize the scenery, as it is the home to the movie California Dreaming.
Finishing our list off with our favorite Southern California beach. Laguna Beach is a small coastal city, located in Orange County. The main beach has tidepools to explore and a boardwalk to enjoy. Not only is Laguna Beach a popular spot for beach lovers, but it also has a fantastic downtown, with shopping and eateries galore. In addition, Laguna definitely boasts the best weather on this list because of the great temperatures year round.
There you have it, your perfect opportunity to branch out from California’s commercial beaches, and explore some of the hidden coastal wonders that it has to offer. It’s time to grab your swimsuit and flip flops and go!