Southern California Beaches Los Angeles to San Diego

Selected beaches from our multimedia travel guide to Southern California. The guide contains more beaches and full screen photos, plus reviews of hotels, restaurants, recommended activities, sights and more to help you plan your vacation.
The ‘map’ below shows beaches between Malibu Surfrider and Pacific Beach down in San Diego in a correct progression from northwest to southeast. If your browser does not display the brief descriptions when you point to a photo, comments about the beaches follow below the map!

Here is a list of the beach photos from top left down:

Los Angeles County

Malibu Surfrider: well known worldwide from ‘Baywatch’ TV show, surf mostly just OK
Santa Monica: very popular, wide sandy family beach, the start of 20 miles bike path
Venice: ALL you’ve heard is probably true. Parts of Venice are not very safe!
Manhattan Beach + Hermosa Beach: beach volleyball Mecca.
Redondo Beach: 1st surfing place outside of Hawaii; a birthplace of the beach lifestyle
Long Beach: wide sandy beach, but adjacent to 2 international ports

Orange County

Huntington Beach: aka Surf City USA. A party town. 12 miles of wide beach to..
The Wedge, Newport Beach: world-class body surfing for the experts!
Laguna Beach: beautiful coves, tidepools, art festivals and galleries..
Doheny: another surfing hot spot, allows camping!

San Diego County

Carlsbad: pleasant small town with decent beach, a lagoon for bird watching and more
Swami’s: another surfing beach, nice tiny park on top with very limited parking
La Jolla Shores: extremely popular family beach, VERY tight parking
La Jolla Cove: start of a series of beautiful coves. No dogs!!!
Windansea: great surfing, limited street parking, unfriendly dudes
Tourmaline Beach for surfing; the rest of Pacific Beach + Mission Beach is for everybody

Another list of California beaches
A list of most California nude/nudist beaches – no pix, sorry 😉