California’s 10 best beaches
Life’s a beach in California, and so much more. When the coastal fog lifts, the state’s 840 miles of shoreline truly give its “golden” moniker justice.
Find family fun in La Jolla, gaze upon world-class surfers in Huntington Beach, mingle with eccentrics in Venice Beach, cuddle at sunset in a Big Sur cove or find yourself on the stunning Lost Coast Trail.
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Whether it’s your first visit to California or your twentieth, chances are you will be visiting one of the state’s countless beautiful beaches – and luckily local access to all beaches is enshrined in state law. There’s a perfect strand out there for everyone, but to help you get your visit started, here are ten of the best beaches in California for sea, surf, sand and sun.
1. Seacliff State Beach
Best for wildlife spotting
California’s Central Coast has more than 100 named beaches, varying from hidden coves perfect for quiet contemplation to long stretches of sunny sand backed by arcades and amusements.
The northern star of the incredible sweep of sand that curves around Monterey Bay is Seacliff State Beach. It’s a perennial local hangout and jogging spot. Offshore, the crumbling remains of a freighter built of concrete once served as a fishing pier, but now it’s known for being a great white shark breeding ground.
In fact, Monterey Bay is home to an extraordinary bounty of sea life, above and below the water. It’s easily the richest natural habitat on the entire California coast. Even just standing on the shore you can see some of its wildlife, from gray whales to sea lions, seals and otters. If you see a great white, stick to land!
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