If you're thinking about California beach hotels, you probably have an idyllic vision in mind. You want to stay in a place that's on the beach, and you're dreaming of sand, ocean sunsets and the swish of crashing waves.
Finding a nice California beach hotel should be easy. You'd think all you need to do is look at a map or go to a website to find beach hotels all along the coast. Unfortunately, it isn't quite that simple.
If you search for California beach hotels online, you'll find a lot of hotels with the words "sea" or "beach" in their names. That doesn't even come close to guaranteeing that they're close to the ocean. In fact, some of them are so far away that you'll wonder where the ocean is. You could spend hours searching online, using a map to find what you're looking for and trying to figure out where each so-called beach hotel is located.
California Beach Hotels in the Major Cities
In California, you'll find most of the beach hotels in and around its major cities, with lots of nice properties in all price ranges. However, there are no beach hotels in San Francisco. In fact, the city only has a few beaches of any description, and those do not have hotels on or near them.
In LA, it's different. There's a long coastline, and the Los Angeles beach hotels sit along the west-facing edge of the Santa Monica Bay from Redondo Beach to Santa Monica.
Orange County's beach hotels are along the south-facing beaches, with excellent views and lots of activities nearby. Many of them are in or close to towns where you can walk to dinner or go shopping.
San Diego beach hotels are harder to find than you might think. That' because most of the city actually faces a bay and not the ocean, but use this list and you'll be on your way to reservations in moments.
More California Beach Hotels
California has more than 1,300 miles of coastline. Some of it is rocky and isolated, especially in Big Sur and along the coast just north of San Francisco. But there are plenty more places where you'll find some nice California beach hotels.
The California beach hotels listed below are the best ones in other parts of the state. They're arranged from north to south. The links below will take you to Tripadvisor, where you can read guest reviews, see photos and compare prices from several sources all in one place.
California Beach Hotels North of San Francisco
- Trinidad: Just about 100 miles south of the Oregon border, Trinidad has a couple of beach hotels: Turtle Rocks Oceanfront Inn and the Trinidad Bay B&B.
- Mendocino: The Mendocino coast is gorgeous, but the Sea Rock Inn is the only beachfront hotel in the county.
- Gualala: Located where the Russian River flows into the sea, you'll find Breakers Inn and Seacliff on the Bluff (on the cliff above the beach).
California Beach Hotels Between San Francisco and San Luis Obispo
- Pacifica: Best Western Lighthouse
- Half Moon Bay: Beach House, Ritz Carlton
- Santa Cruz: Dream Inn
- Monterey: Monterey Tides, Marina Dunes Resort
- Cayucos: Shoreline Inn, On the Beach
California Beach Hotels in and Around Pismo Beach
Pismo Beach has more hotels right on the ocean than just about anyplace in California. They include:
- Sandcastle Inn
- Pismo Lighthouse Suites
- Cottage Inn by the Sea
- SeaVenture Hotel
- Sea Gypsy Motel
- Dolphin Bay Resort
- Kon Tiki Inn
Nearby on the north side of the bay is the Inn at Avila Beach.
California Beach Hotels Between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles
- Santa Barbara: Four Seasons the Biltmore is an elegant, old-style place to stay, just on the edge of town.
- Oxnard: Embassy Suites Mandalay Bay is located between the marina and the ocean about 70 miles north of Los Angeles.
- Ventura: Inn on the Beach is the only beachfront hotel in town, where every room faces the ocean.
California Beach Hotels North of San Diego
- Best Western Beach View Lodge is in the town of Carlsbad about 35 miles north of San Diego
- Blue Whale Resort is in Oceanside, just a little further north.