Various newspapers, magazines and websites have recently been picking their Best West Coach Beaches, their Best Beaches in the World, or their Best California Beaches, so here at Pacific Coast Highway Travel we decided to pick the best of the best.
AARP listed their Best Beaches in the World, as did The Guardian newspaper in the UK, and of course they included some you're able to enjoy along the Pacific Coast Highway. So, among the Best Beaches in the World are:
Glass Beach in MacKerricher State Park, near Fort Bragg, California
Chosen by The Guardian. Over the years various stuff that got dumped into the sea washed up here because of the tides, but a clean-up operation left the beach looking quite magical, with colorful items glittering among the natural rocks and stones.
Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
AARP has chosen its 12 Best Beaches in the World and they rate this west coast beach near San Diego as one of them for its white sand, gentle surf and almost perfect climate.
We've reviewed several excellent Moon guidebooks for the Pacific Coast Highway (see our Book Reviews page) and recently Moon chose its Best California Beaches. You can see the full list here, but among the top choices for different reasons are:
Baker Beach, San Francisco, the best for nudists.
Black Sand Beach, 40 miles south of Eureka, for its 'rugged beauty'.
California Street Beach, Ventura, for surfing and sightseeing.
Carmel Beach for scenery and sunsets.
Coronado Beach for families and sunsets.
La Jolla Cove for sunbathing, snorkeling, and kayaking
Morro Rock Beach for photos and surfing (and wildlife, we would add).
Muir Beach, just north of San Francisco, for scenery and wildlife.
Ocean Beach near San Francisco for sunsets.
Pfieffer Beach, Big Sur, for sunsets and photo opps.
Pismo Beach for families.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for families.
Santa Monica State Beach for families and sunbathing.
South Beach in Cresent City for surfing.
Trinidad State Beach, 20 miles north of Eureka, for scenery and picnics.
The Thrillist website also listed its Best Beaches in California, and they include:
Carmel Beach, for sunsets and scenery, but not swimming, which you can't do because of the riptides.
Cayucos State Beach, just north of Morro Bay, for 'miles of spotless sand'.
Coronado Beach. Again.
Moonstone Beach, Cambria. 'Where you go when you want to get away.' Agreed!
Pfieffer Beach, Big Sur, with its rugged coastline and wide, secluded beach.
Santa Monica State Beach, three miles long and 'gorgeous views of the mountains'.
So, those are the Best West Coast Beaches and the Best California Beaches, according to people who have done their homework. We have no arguments, and you can see that some are listed more than once - so definitely make time on your Pacific Coast Highway drive for Coronado, Santa Monica, Carmel, and Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur.
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To help you in choosing your Pacific Coast Highway hotel, guesthouse, inn, bed-and-breakfast, resort, motel or other accommodations, we've prepared our Pacific Coast Highway Hotels Guide. In it we do mini-reviews of accommodations along the Highway, from Seattle to San Diego, through Washington, Oregon, and California.
In all there are over 200 hotels listed, complete with 8 pages of color maps showing the towns where our recommended hotels can be found. There are both alphabetical and geographical indexes, helping you plan your journey.
We also include color photos of all the hotels that are our Personal Favorites. Here's the link to read more about our ebook guide to Pacific Coast Highway hotels.
The 2016 edition of our Hotels Guide is available with maps and color photos (if you have a color reader) in the US Kindle Store for only $4.99 and in the UK Kindle Store and other Kindle stores worldwide at prices based on the US price.
If you want a paperback edition of the 2016 guide with only black and white photos and black-and-white maps, it costs $6.99 at the US Amazon Book Store and £4.99 in the UK Amazon Store.