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California Beach Vacations Simplified
When we think of California beach vacations, we picture sunbathing, surfing, fishing, or taking a stroll along the boardwalk. With thousands of miles of coastline, however, finding the ideal beach town for your vacation desires might seem overwhelming.
Luckily, there are plenty of places to choose from in order to experience the perfect California beach vacation. Here are 11 options to consider, listed geographically from north to south.Continue to 2 of 11 below.
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Irish Beach, Mendocino
Irish Beach is a small vacation rental community south of Mendocino. Situated near an area of undeveloped coastline, Irish Beach is the perfect refuge for anyone who wants to relax, away from crowds and tourists. In addition to the breathtaking scenery and a romantic lighthouse, wineries, golf courses, and numerous state parks are nearby for those seeking a little adventure.Continue to 3 of 11 below.
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Dillon Beach, Marin County
Near the mouth of Tomales Bay, the little village of Dillon Beach sits on the hillside above the ocean. It's packed with rental houses and not far from the Tomales oyster farms and Point Reyes (also known as the windiest place on the Pacific Coast). The area is scenic and just isolated enough to have the makings of a truly memorable California beach vacation.Continue to 4 of 11 below.
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Famous for its historic oceanfront amusement park and "Surf City" reputation, Santa Cruz is as good as it gets for a classic California beach vacation. This location is ideal for a family beach vacation in California, thanks to its family-friendly atmosphere, free admission to the amusement park, and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary located along the boardwalk.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Travelers can experience a classic California beach vacation at Pismo Beach, located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Activities range from golfing, surfing, horseback riding, shopping, exploring the sandy beach via ATV, or taking part in a clam chowder eating contest.Continue to 6 of 11 below.
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Known for its miles of sandy beaches, Cayucos is the ideal location for a California beach vacation in both winter and summer, thanks to its mild weather. Visitors can enjoy rock or surf fishing, sea kayaking, swimming, or sunbathing.
With several hotels next to the area's beaches, plus a variety of restaurants, antique shops, and art galleries, Cayucos has all of the ingredients that make for a great California beach getaway.Continue to 7 of 11 below.
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Malibu is the iconic California beach town, but it's more residential than touristy. Though homes are situated along 20 of the area's 27 miles of coastline, there are still plenty of ways to interact with the ocean and sand. Consider visiting the Malibu Pier, Surfrider Beach, or the Malibu Lagoon. While Casa Malibu Inn is the only hotel we can recommend in the area, you can find nice beach houses for rent through California Vacation Rentals.Continue to 8 of 11 below.
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Redondo Beach is one of the South Bay beach towns in Los Angeles on the shores of the Santa Monica Bay. It's an ideal choice for a California beach vacation, close to the ocean yet offering plenty of activities and attractions nearby.
Stop by the sandy beach at Redondo where you can walk or play volleyball, rent a kayak or bicycle at the marina, board a deep sea fishing boat, or enjoy your favorite seafood at one of the many restaurants.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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One of Orange County's prettiest coastal towns, Laguna Beach has some great oceanside resorts and hotels, a breathtaking beach area, and a variety of shops, restaurants, and boutiques. Art-lovers tend to flock to Laguna Beach, thanks to the area's plethora of art galleries and summer art festivals.Continue to 10 of 11 below.
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Mission Beach, San Diego
Despite the hustle and bustle of San Diego, Mission Beach is still considered a hidden gem. Located on the ocean side of the peninsula that separates Mission Bay from the ocean, it is a great place to enjoy the California beach lifestyle like the locals. You'll find plenty of beach volleyball nets, a paved walking trail, the old-fashioned Belmont Park amusement park, and a peaceful atmosphere.Continue to 11 of 11 below.
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California's Best Beach Resorts and Places for Beach Camping
These selected resorts should also be considered for your California beach vacation. You'll find options that range from quiet and lowkey to action-packed and adventurous.
Finding a place in California where you can actually camp on the beach isn't easy. Many places will present themselves as close to the coast when in actuality they are quite far away. To help you find the places that are actually on the beach, visit Northern California Beach Campgrounds and Southern California Beach Campgrounds.