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Top 3 Beaches in Southern California

12:00 AM
Every time I talk about a CA beach I get a bit excited!  Last month I was able to visit 5 different beaches between Los Angeles and San Diego. I could totally live the beach bum life! I always get sad when I have to leave these spots of paradise behind.

There are  many awesome beaches in southern California, It would take you several weeks to check them all out. Of the 3 beaches I am featuring- Venice was the one I had visited before.  They all have many things in common, but at the same time each one is so unique. 

If  you love the beach and are making a trip to CA:


 Santa Monica Beach & Boardwalk

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  • This historic pier opened in September 1909, and was the first concrete pier to be built on the west coast.
  • The most famous lifeguard of all time stood watch here. He was known as the "water man" Preston "Pete" Peterson. He was heroic in saving many lives, and designed the Peterson Tube: the standard lifesaving device  used today by lifeguards worldwide.
  • The iconic Route 66 ends here at the sea, and there is a small shop dedicated to the legend of this route.
  • Swimming and Surfing are popular here of course. I visited on the July 4th weekend, so there wasn't a corner left on the beach to soak up the sun, so I got my feet wet and headed to the amusement park on the pier. Rides galore, games and yummy eats make for lots of family fun
  • The 3rd street promenade is also a big hit with visitors, especially for those with a keen fashion sense. All the popular brands are there to help you empty your wallet!  Fine dining spots can be found up and down this street.
  • The Georgian Hotel sits up high on the street overlooking the beach scene below. Every time I visit here, I vow to save up for a stay the next time around, someday I'll make it!
As I was having a blast on the beach, I noticed a very somber  display.  Several wooden crosses lined the beach representing all the brave souls who lost their lives defending freedom. This was the most beautiful and moving scene. I am not sure how long it will be there, but it definitely made me stop in my tracks for a moment of silence.

 Venice Beach

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  • Venice Beach is an iconic sight that attracts tourists from all over the world. Approximately 30,000 people visit the area everyday.  This is the second most visited destination in Southern Ca. It is definitely one of the most popular tourist attractions in CA.
  • The beach boardwalk stretches for two miles and has a very eclectic vibe. If you are into people watching, you will be mesmerized for hours!  Here you will find street entertainers, a very culturally diverse atmosphere, and numerous privately owned eateries. I am always on the hunt for unique coffee shops, and the Venice Beach Coffee & Creamery did not disappoint!
  • You may even spot a celebrity here, as this is a very popular spot for film production, and it happens all year around.
  • If you like to spend an afternoon with a fishing pole in the water, there is a special pier for you.
  • For the skateboard whizzes there is a world renowned skate plaza. In 1977 Venice was named the skateboard capital of the world. If you would rather bike the boardwalk , (like me)  there is a separate path to do just that.
  • Adjacent to the beach is a recreation center where you can partake in various sports activities such as: basketball, paddle tennis, handball, and body building at the world famous "Muscle Beach Venice Gym."
  • The downtown area also hosts many ethnic restaurants, boutiques, and a few rooftop bars with stunner views!
This beach was high on my list of favorites. The highlight of my visit was driving through town and viewing the gorgeous homes built along the canals.  Absolutely stunning scenery, I could've sat there for hours! 

 Coranado Beach

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  • Coranado Island is the perfect summer getaway. It originally began in 1885 with the purchase of a Spanish Ranch that spread from Coranado  to North Island, and the Silver Strand. It was bought for the price of $110,000. The vision was to make this the grandest hotel on the Pacific coast. The grandeur of this beautiful property is truly amazing.
  • The Hotel Del Coranado grew along with the city, and includes a master planned community and beautiful beachside residences. The Del is a historical landmark and has hosted famous guests including Marilyn Monroe, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor
  • The near perfect weather here makes for a beautiful island paradise. The average temperature is 74 year around. 
  • Even if you cant afford the price tag of a stay at the Del, it's a great atmosphere to dine in or enjoy a cuppa jo by the sea.  Just walking around and taking in the breathtaking views was enough for me.
  • Of the all the beaches I have visited in CA, this one has the warmest water for swimming. I get quite excited to swim here as you can see from my happy dance on the beach!
  • Although its mostly a place to unwind and have an escape from the busy city, there are some fun activities to enjoy. Take a walk around the island on a walking tour and take in a view of the San Diego skyline.  If you would rather ride than walk, you can enjoy a guided tour on a Segway.
  • Downton Coranado has a quaint small town atmosphere with 30 plus shops and restaurants.  Just below the bridge is the Tidelands Park and Ferry Landing Marketplace.  Shop and eat here, and wait for the sunset.  This is the go to spot for capturing gorgeous night views of San Diego and the Coranado Bridge.
  • Beaches in San Diego  are amazing for families
The other two beaches I visited were Mission Beach and Huntington Beach, located in Orange county.  
I hope you have the chance to enjoy some beach before travel season ends. I hope to travel abroad and check out some beaches in other countries.  Enjoy the rest of your week and find some sand for your toes like I did on this Instagram share.  

Do you have a favorite beach in Southern California? Do share in the comments!



Hello beauties, I'm Valerie! I reside near Seattle WA, and am a proud Canadian from Vancouver B.C. On this site are guides for travel in the U.S., Canada and Europe. I hope to inspire Women 40+ live their best life: by seeking adventure in the city, at a beach or at a mountain escape. Subscribe for destination tips and style guides for the trip.


  1. So glad Coronado Beach made your list of top three. We had our boat moored at Lowe's for 9 months several years ago and I couldn't get enough of it! And, like you said, the view of the San Diego skyline from the "island" is top notch.

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    1. Wow lucky you! I am hoping to move there..working on it! Its paradise...pretty close up there with Hawaii.!

  2. I was rather intrigued looking at the many crosses on the beach...a very sombre moment indeed knowing what they signifies....

    1. Yes Vet...It was so moving and a nice switch from everything else you usually on the beach!

  3. I just love Cali. I'd love to visit all of these beaches!!! I loved San Diego when we were's the only place in Cali I've ever been. We stayed near Mission Beach.

    1. Hey Chelsea...I hope you can! I love mission beach too.I had lots of pics from there and Hunting Beach, my arm was giving out from all the editing of I stuck with 3 instead of 5!~

  4. I have only been to california once and it was YEARS ago and we spent most of our time at my husbands family's place in Santa Barbara so I didnt get to see beaches! :(

  5. I love Cali, especially San Diego! I think I'd move there if I ever left my precious Seattle. :)

    1. I am so in LOVE with San Diego..I am workin on leaving Seattle... hoping it happens soon, CA here I come..ha ! THanks for stopping by.

  6. What a great trip! You're making me want to go back:). I LOVED Santa Monica and the 3rd street Promenade is so fun! I haven't been to the San Diego beach so I'll have to add it to my list!

    1. Thanks was an awesome trip...I have so much content..not enough time in the day...!

  7. Ooo I'm going to San Diego in a few weeks! I usually always walk Mission Bay and make my way to Pacific Beach when I go there. But I think I need to consider making a trip to Coranado!

    1. I went to Mission bay as well....I have loads of beach pictures so had to stop somewhere..ha ha...I hope you do Coranado..breathtaking!

  8. I've done those three in the past and love them too! I like to find hidden beaches though, know any good ones I should add to this list for my next trip out?

    1. HI Sophie, not sure about any hidden beaches in CA...maybe Stetson Beach by the SF bridge...its been years since I've been there!

  9. I love that I live here and you included a beach that I have yet to check out! I will have to visit it soon :)


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