A road trip on the Pacific coast of California is the experience of a lifetime and ranks as one of the most indelible vacations one can have in America. The scenery is on par with the best on the continent and clement conditions between San Francisco and San Diego make the state ideal for a convertible cruise or more active forms of recreation. So strap on your shades and surf board and check out the best California beach towns to explore this summer.
Technically a neighborhood of Newport Beach, Corona del Mar contains some beautiful beaches on the edge of the San Joaquin Hills, lovely, older homes along the Pacific Coast Highway and an upscale mall.
With almost 200,000 people, Huntington Beach is a large community in Orange County. Almost 14 km of superb beachfront provides world class conditions for surfing, with numerous festivals throughout the summer months.
Another Orange County community with strong roots in surfing culture, San Clemente has over 65,000 people and a notable former resident in the late President Richard M. Nixon, who owned a grand coastal estate known as the “Western White House”.
With half a million people in Los Angeles County, Long Beach is more city than town and familiar to Snoop Dogg fans worldwide. Aside from the native rap star, “LBC” has museums, terrific recreation and of course, a great beach.
A veritable city of 173,000 people in San Diego County, Oceanside has been a boom town since 1970. Location plays a major role in the city’s appeal, with a fabulous beachfront, pier and summer festivals.
About 150 km south of Los Angeles, Encinitas is a superlative coastal town of 58,000 people. The community is home to many celebs from various walks of life, from Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss to Ravi Shankar.
Known primarily as a community of artists and location for a number of films and television shows, Laguna has some of the most attractive beaches in the entire state of California.
La Jolla, a satellite community of San Diego, is one of the most idyllic places in all of California. The gorgeous scenery in and around the affluent town of over 40,000 features bluffs, canyons and gorgeous coastline. No wonder why so many household name celebs call La Jolla home.
The Orange County community of Newport Beach is one of the wealthier in America, with beautiful oceanside villas up and down the coast. The town contains many great points of interest, of the natural and cultural variety.
Another expensive zip code worth a visit, Carlsbad is in San Diego County and has a resident population over 90,000. Small enough to qualify as sleepy but large enough to contain many terrific attractions and some great beach action.
Ventura’s 100,000 inhabitants are surfer-mad, as the town has some of the best wave conditions for the sport in California. Other points of interest include Channel Islands National Park and the historic Majestic Ventura Theater.
Synonymous with posh, oceanfront real estate, Santa Monica has a beautiful pier and a downtown core that recently underwent a successful revamp in order to attract more visitors.
What can you say about Malibu? The word alone conjures so many iconic visions of California. Even if the reality fails to live up to the impossible hype, no Pacific Coast road trip is complete without a visit to the 33.5 km strip of superb beachfront the community inhabits.
The main city of Santa Barbara County is a magnet for tourists, who come for postcard-perfect geography, heavenly Mediterranean weather and tidy Spanish architecture.
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