22 Stunning California Beaches Pictures That Will Make You Fall In Love With the West Coast

Are you in the mood for some California beaches atmosphere? I know I get that way sometimes. We’ve been fortunate, as a family, to travel in California quite a lot. We’ve probably spent a total of two months in California by now – sheer travel time. Whether in Southern California or up in the Northern end of the state, we always like to visit the beach, so today, as I’m feeling a little nostalgic, I decided to create a post around pictures of California beaches – from north to south.

Pictures of Northern California Beaches

We love Northern California! Both the coastal areas and the mountains. In the coast, our number one destination is Redwood National Park (that’s a link to our very detailed guide to the park, so check it out!) Did you know that there’s an awesome beach there that’s part of the park itself? It’s called Enderts Beach, and I’ve shared a photo of that beach below. We have some great memories from hiking down to the beach and letting the kids play there.

Driving on the 101, you can eventually choose to take Highway 1, which hugs the coastline all the way to San Diego. The coast around the northern areas of the road is surprisingly similar to those of Big Sur, further down the south.

I could blab on forever on the California coastline and beaches, but hey, this is a picture post, right? So I’ll let the photos take it from here.

The coastline of Northern California at dusk
The coastline of Northern California at dusk
Driftwood rests on Enderts Beach in Redwood National Park
Driftwood rests on Enderts Beach in Redwood National Park

Pictures of Glass Beach, Fort Bragg

Glass Beach Fort Bragg California
Glass Beach Fort Bragg California
Glass Beach State Park California
Glass Beach State Park California

San Francisco Beaches Pictures

Yes! San Francisco has beaches too! Most visitors don’t head out for a day on the beach because the weather here tends to be a bit on the gloomy side. However, the beach makes for some great photo shoots with that famous bridge across the bay. And in case this is where you want to start a tour of the best California beaches, we created a post with everything you need to know about driving along the iconic coastal California Highway 1 between San Francisco and Lost Angeles.

Golden Gate bridge at sunset seen from Marshall Beach, San Francisco
Golden Gate bridge at sunset seen from Marshall Beach, San Francisco
San Francisco Ocean Beach, seen from Cliffhouse
San Francisco Ocean Beach, seen from Cliffhouse

I thought I’d add this one to show that on a beautiful sunny day, you could actually go to the seaside, even in San Francisco!

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge from Marshall beach in California
San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge from Marshall Beach in California

 

Golden Gate bridge shortly after sunset
Golden Gate Bridge shortly after sunset

 

Big Sur and Monterey Peninsula Beaches in Photos

The Monterey area is one of our favorites in the entire United States. Drive for one hour from Monterey down the road, and you’re in the heart of Big Sur. Or you could get some excellent coastline views from the Santa Cruz area too. For photographers, this is the best southern California area for taking awesome California beach pictures!

Looking for the best the area has to offer? Check out our post about the six state parks of Big Sur – all of them with fantastic beaches!

View of the Bixby Bridge on the Big Sur Coast California
View of the Bixby Bridge on the Big Sur Coast California
Rugged scenery along the Pacific Coast Highway near Big Sur
Rugged scenery along the Pacific Coast Highway near Big Sur
Morning along the Big Sur Coast California
Morning along the Big Sur Coast California
McElway Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in California
McElway Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in California
California Bixby Bridge in Big Sur in Monterey County along State Route
California Bixby Bridge in Big Sur in Monterey County along State Route
Beautiful early morning coastline of Monterey California
Beautiful early morning coastline of Monterey California

Los Angeles Beaches in Pictures

Aerial view of Manhattan Beach Pier
Aerial view of Manhattan Beach Pier

If you love piers, don’t forget to check out Huntington Beach as well! We have this list of 13 awesome things to do in Huntington Beach – many items there are applicable when visiting any California beach. And of course, there’s always the famous Santa Monica Pier to visit!

Waves crash on Laguna Beach in Emerald Bay during golden hour
Waves crash on Laguna Beach in Emerald Bay during golden hour
Houses on the Venice Beach at the end of a sunset
Houses on the Venice Beach at the end of a sunset
Bike lane down the Venice Beach in Los Angeles
Bike lane down the Venice Beach in Los Angeles

Venice Beach is a lot of fun to visit! It’s hardly ever this empty though unless you catch it very early on a working day morning.

Beach scene in Southern California
Beach scene in Southern California

San Diego Beaches Pictures

San Diego will always have a warm spot in my heart because this was the very first destination we ever visited in the United States. Our boys were so young back then. Ron was seven, and Dan was just 5. And the first place we went to see – jet-lagged and all – was the beach at La Jolla, and specifically the Seal Cove there.

Check out our post here about the best 15 San Diego Beaches to visit!

Rocky coastline at La Jolla in San Diego
Rocky coastline at La Jolla in San Diego
La Jolla in Southern California
La Jolla in Southern California

This is it! Photos of California beaches from north to south! I hope you enjoyed the tour as much as I did. If these images get you in the mood for a California road trip, then here are some links to other posts in this blog, where you can get more information –

What’s The Best Time To Visit California?

19 Best Cities To Visit In California (Bucket List Post!)

Top 10 Things To Do In Northern California (Bucket List Level)

Leave me a comment and let me know which is your favorite California beach and why! And if you can, please share this post on Pinterest using one of these pins. Thanks in advance!

22 Stunning California Beaches Pictures That Will Make You Fall In Love With the West Coast

22 Stunning California Beaches Pictures That Will Make You Fall In Love With the West Coast

22 Stunning California Beaches Pictures That Will Make You Fall In Love With the West Coast

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