There’s nothing quite like California beaches. Fresh, salty breezes, teal blue ocean and soft sand underneath your toes…what more can you ask for?

Spending the day underneath the sunny sky while hearing the sound of waves crashing onto the shore is as normal as getting a haircut for most coastal Californians.

And while a good number of Californians live within an hour or two (at most) from local beaches, there are some residents that have the pleasure of being just steps from the shore.

If beach livin’ sounds like your kind of style, but you’re still unsure of where to settle, check out our list of best beach cities in the Golden State.

From Humboldt County’s cooler seashores, to the San Francisco Bay Area’s picturesque shorelines and Santa Barbara’s colorful seaside, we Californians sure have a lot to choose from.

Here are a couple of beach towns that may make you switch up your lifestyle for California’s cool, coastal way of life.

Northern California

Santa Cruz:

This view of the Santa Cruz water from from across the water on the famed wharf shows many homes and motels units as well as many insignificant people on the beach enjoy not only the water but sports.

The all-American surf town of Santa Cruz is one of California’s most beloved treasures and we can definitely see why. With its family-friendly Beach Boardwalk, relaxed downtown area, gorgeous coastline and immense waves that attract surfers from all over the country, it’s no wonder so many people desire to live in this coastal hub.

Stinson Beach:

Stinson Beach is an unincorporated community in Marin County, California, on the west coast of the United States. The population of the Stinson Beach is about 751.

Stinton Beach is Marin County’s hidden treasure. With a population just under 650, this beach area is known for offering one of the best swimming beaches in Northern California and also having a small and closely-knit community. Surfing is big here so make sure to bring your surf or boogie board for some fun in the sun!


Carmel, California, USA - November 18, 2014: These folks are enjoying the restaurant at the outdoor dining opportunities and the folks walking up the sidewalk are enjoying the various shops along ocean street that is the main street passing thru Carmel the views and the colorful landscapping are a real pleasing environment for the visitors and on this afternoon it looked very inviting.

On Monterey Peninsula’s south side is where you’ll find the artsy town of Carmel by the Sea, where beach living is truly a way of life. Residents enjoy the small town’s numerous outdoor activities, cool and unique downtown area that is adorned with breathtaking art pieces and filled with top-notch restaurants and shops, and of course, the city’s gorgeous beaches that make this seaside town even more of a stunner.


Southern California

La Jolla:

La Jolla coastline in Southern California,San Diego

One of Southern California’s most notable beach towns, La Jolla is truly a beach lover’s dream. Located in the city of San Diego just above the Mexican state of Baja California, this upscale community is packed with gorgeous beaches that are to die for. The atmosphere outside of the ocean is also electric with residents enjoying world-class shopping, dining and a lively nightlife.

Redondo Beach:


The birthplace of California surfing, Redondo Beach is all about catching massive waves, chilling out downtown and eating fresh seafood while soaking in one of Los Angeles County’s most gorgeous beachside cities. The town is also popular with film crews, with many movies taking place in this dynamic area.

Laguna Beach:

View of Main Beach Park at  Laguna Beach, California in Springtime, This view is from Heisler Park looking the south across the Rose Gardens. Laguna is a famous art colony and popular tourist town.

Rocky bluffs and canyons dot the landscape of the tourist-rich community of Laguna Beach. Known for its mild year-round climate, scenic coves and artist community, this seaside resort city is perfect for those who enjoy a mellower, and equally as gorgeous, beach experience in Southern California’s tony Orange County.

Santa Barbara:

Orange Roofs Buildings Coastline Pacific Oecan Santa Barbara California

Santa Barbara has wanderlust written all over it. With year-round Mediterranean-style weather, sandy beaches, a fun and hip downtown area and numerous historical sites, this fair city will make you want to come back again and again.

Looking to settle down in a beach town? Find your Northern California oasis here and your Southern California beach escape here.