List of California Beaches

Central California beaches

List of California Beaches from Monterey to Point Conception

Shoreline near Monterey

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.

Coastline at Point Buchon

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.

Sunset at Morro Rock - Morro Strand State Beach

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.

Avila Beach playground

List of California Beaches – Central Coast, (South to north)

Santa Barbara County

San Luis Obispo County

Monterey County

(The Big Sur Beaches are covered on their own page.)

Marina State Beach near Monterey

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