Southern California is known for a few things: movie stars, perfect weather, Disneyland, and of course the pristine beaches that line the west coast. Whether you’re visiting Southern California for a few days, or have lived here your entire life, there are a few beaches that everyone should make a point to visit at least once.
Newport Beach has a wide variety of fun activities and entertainment. The city boasts upscale shopping malls, such as Fashion Island, a beautiful outdoor center. There are pristine beaches, such as Crystal Cove (which is conveniently close to Ruby’s Shake Shack). The Balboa Peninsula is known for the “Fun Zone” amusement park. Newport Beach is a great social hangout, with events such as the Hyatt Concert Series, featuring a different artist every Friday, now through October.
Venice Beach is an eclectic blend of shops, restaurants, and sights. The beach is lined with vendor stalls, touristy souvenirs and performers grabbing the crowds’ attention with various shows and spectacles. Muscle beach is in the middle of Venice, with exercise equipment and an outdoor gym. A short distance from the beach is the Venice canals, waterways that flow through the middle of neighborhoods. Also inland is Abbot Kinney, a street full of high-end hipster stores and restaurants. No matter what you enjoy, Venice beach will undoubtedly have an activity for you.
One of California’s most well-known beaches, Laguna Beach is popular destination for so many reasons. With miles of scenic coastline and blocks of quirky shops and restaurants, it is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. There are also seasonal events, unique to Laguna. Pageant of the Masters (now through August 31st) is an unparalleled experience of tableaux vivants, or re-creations of famous artwork scenes by actors. Another popular event is the Sawdust Art and Craft Festival (now through September 3rd), a gathering of Laguna Beach artists selling their masterpieces to visitors.
Known for Belmont Park, an area with rides, games, and carnival food, Mission Beach is another great coastal city with tons of activities. Just inland from the beach is Old Town San Diego, a historic square that also acts as an informal museum about San Diego in the 1800s. The park is full of unique and colorful vendors and restaurants. Mission Beach is in between La Jolla and Coronado, creating the perfect opportunity to explore more of San Diego.
Maybe not as well known as Laguna Beach or Venice, Dana Point has just as many great areas to discover. Doheny State Beach is a gorgeous place to relax and unwind. As Dana Point is also a popular place for dolphin and whale watching tours, a sharp eye may even catch a glimpse of marine life! Just up the street is the Ocean Institute with different exhibits looking to educate the public about all aspects of the ocean, including history and sea life. The institute also has a full-sized replica of The Pilgrim, a vessel from the 1800s, at the docks next door. This is the perfect area for families, and both adults and children will enjoy the what Dana Point has to offer.
Start planning a weekend getaway with CB Inside Out’s Exploring SoCal Pinterest board!