List of California Beaches from Monterey to Point Conception
This list of California beaches shows the wide variety of Central California shoreline available. There are beaches here on which you can drive your car (Oceano Dunes) to beaches that require a bit of hiking to get to them (Harmony Headlands or Point Sal). There’s camping on the beach, beaches for your RV, beaches with elephant seals, picnicking at the beach, beaches with jade and moonstone and garnets, and beaches with great tidepools.
If you need information on beach accessibility and where beach wheelchairs are available, this page has all that information in one place.
Perhaps the “highest and best use” of a Central California beach is at sunset. Watching the sun set into the ocean is fascinating and relaxing no matter how many you’ve seen before. Sitting on the beach or on the balcony of your hotel room with a glass of wine, that’s a wonderful thing. If the conditions are right, you might even get to see the green flash.
No, it’s not a superhero, but an optical phenomenon caused by the bending of light in the atmosphere. It doesn’t happen often, but it is worth looking for. I’ve seen the green flash a number of times, but even rarer is a blue flash which I’ve never seen.
There are also a good number of rocky beaches with just a bit of sand (Montana de Oro State Park) or beaches with all the sand you might want (Avila Beach shown below).
About the List of California Beaches
On the individual beach pages (links below), I’ll give a summary of the amenities available, parking, accessibility, hours, if dogs are allowed and contact information – all you’ll need for a great time at the beach.
List of California Beaches – Central Coast, (South to north)
Santa Barbara County
San Luis Obispo County
- Oceano Dunes – Oso Flaco Lake
- Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area
- Grover Beach
- Pismo Beach
- Shell Beach
- Avila Beach
- Pecho Coast
- Point Buchon
- Montana de Oro State Park
- Morro Bay State Park
- Morro Strand State Beach
- Estero Bluff State Park
- Harmony Headlands State Park
- Lampton Cliffs Park
- Fiscalini Ranch Preserve
- Shamel County Park
- Moonstone Beach
- Leffingwell Landing (San Simeon State Park)
- William Randolph Hearst State Beach
(The Big Sur Beaches are covered on their own page.)
- Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
- Carmel River State Beach
- Carmel city beach
- Pebble Beach
- Asilomar State Beach
- Lover’s Point – Pacific Grove
- Monterey State Beach
- Marina State Beach
- Salinas River State Beach