Best West Coach Beaches

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. 

Baker Beach in San Francisco, Best West Coast Beach for Nudists

Baker Beach, San Francisco

Best Beaches in the World

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.

Carmel Beach in California, one of the Best Beaches in California

The Beach at Carmel.
Photo (c) Donna Dailey.

Best California Beaches

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 and 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.

Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California, one of the Best Beaches in California

Moonstone Beach, Cambria.
Photo (c) Donna Dailey.

More Best Beaches in California

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 BeachCambria. '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.

You might like these

  • Pismo Beach

    Pismo Beach is a small beach town on California's Central Coast, a resort famous for surfing and clams.

  • Piedras Blancas Elephant Seals Beach

    Piedras Blancas Elephant Seals Beach is near Hearst Castle, San Simeon and Cambria and is one of the best things to do when driving the Pacific Coast Highway.

  • Longest Beach in the USA

    The Longest Beach in the USA is arguably in Long Beach in Washington, though claims that it is also the longest beach in the world are wide of the mark.



Recent Articles

  1. San Francisco to San Diego

    Mar 29, 21 05:25 PM

    Driving from San Francisco to San Diego has two main options, the fast way on I-5 or the scenic route along the Pacific Coast Highway.

    Read More

  2. San Diego Zoo Safari Park

    Mar 25, 21 03:38 PM

    San Diego Zoo Safari Park is a partner of San Diego Zoo and offers the chance to see wildlife in its natural habitat with a wide range of safaris on offer.

    Read More

  3. 5 Southern California trails that take you to the edge of the ocean

    Mar 24, 21 10:36 AM

    Here are five Southern California trails that do something most hikes don’t — take you to the edge of the ocean. They’re mostly flat, which is why hardcore hikers often scorn them, and some are busy o…

    Read More