4 Beautiful Coastal Escapes In California

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Big Sur on Coastal California
Big Sur in California

You’ve probably already heard of the most popular beaches for partying in California – such as Venice Beach and Laguna Beach – but what about the most beautiful beaches? Make the most of your trip to California by visiting at least one of these four stunning coastal escapes.

Glass Beach

Located about 172 miles north of San Francisco in Fort Bragg, you’ll find a place that people from around the world come to visit: Glass Beach. It used to be a dump, but the city has since cleaned up the area. All that’s left are thousands of colorful sea glass pieces and craggy rocks.

Sunset on Black's Beach
Sunset on Black’s Beach

Although Fort Bragg is in Northern California, it still has fairly mild weather with an average low temperature of 40˚F in the winter and an average high of 64˚F in the summer. Glass Beach isn’t exactly the best place to lay down a towel and sunbathe but wandering along the glittering coastal shore is a unique experience. Other attractions in the city include Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Pacific Star Winery, and Triangle Tattoo and Museum.

Black’s Beach

If you’re planning to visit Southern California, make a pit stop at Black’s Beach in La Jolla. It’s tricky to get to – visitors must hike down the 300-foot coastal cliff trails – but the extra effort is worth it. The beach feels secluded, thanks to the surrounding Torrey Pines bluffs. It’s also one of only three beaches in the state with black sand. Be aware that the northern region of the beach is clothing-optional, while the southern region is not.

McWay Falls
McWay Falls

Black’s Beach is only about 33 miles north of the Mexico-United States border, so you can expect warm temperatures most of the year. Avoid visiting in January, as this is the rainiest month.

Pacific Beach

Also in San Diego, Pacific Beach is easier to get to than Black’s Beach and has soft, light-brown sand. You can take in the view from the cliffs, walk for miles along the shore, or browse the shops along the boardwalk. This beach is also known for its nightlife. Consider staying at a Pacific Beach hotel, such as the Blue Sea Beach Hotel. While you’re in the city, make sure to visit the famous San Diego Zoo.

Bixby Bridge in Coastal California
Bixby Bridge at dusk

Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach is about 105 miles south of San Jose in Big Sur, and it has some of the most gorgeous sunset views. Visitors must drive down a long, narrow road to reach the beach’s parking lot. After that, you’ll have to walk a while to find the Keyhole Rock, which is a huge rock with a natural opening in the middle. Another cool feature of Pfeiffer Beach is the purple sand in the northern area, which comes from the manganese garnet rocks in the cliffs.

Big Sur has mild weather, but you may want to bring a light jacket to wear after dark. In the evening and early morning, fog is common. If you’re looking for other outdoor landmarks, you can visit McWay Falls, Salmon Creek Falls Trail, or Bixby Bridge.

With California’s array of beaches, it can be hard to decide where to go. Make your visit memorable by checking out one of these four beautiful beaches.

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