Our top Southern California beaches between Los Angeles and San Diego

Southern California beaches between Los Angeles and San Diego offer beachcombers, surfers, and romantics the best hideaways, snorkeling locations, and off-the-beaten-path parties, with something for everyone. It’s amazing how many lovely beaches are just a short distance from the bustling cities of southern California and can be explored before or after leaving California on a cruise.

The best beach destinations in San Diego are scattered throughout the city, from north to south. Here is a list of the most acclaimed local Southern California beaches to choose from and discover.

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton

Crystal Cove State Park

Hermosa Beach

La Jolla Cove

Balboa Pier

Central Beach Coronado


If you’re a beach bum, Coronado is the place for you. The city is home to Coronado Central Beach, not to be confused with Hotel Del Coronado’s private courtyard beach. While you’re there, check out the Quay wall that extends 3/4 mile out into the water. Here, sunbathers bask alongside surfers who catch waves at the breaks along Point Loma. Be sure to bring your four-legged friend along as there’s an off-leash dog beach on Silver Strand State Beach, just 15 miles from Coronado!

Crystal Cove State Park

Wellness retreats, hiking trails and caves, steep mountains, crystal-clear water, and various marine life are all waiting for you at Crystal Cove State Park. Its secluded Southern California beaches are part of an underwater park with over 2000 acres of wooded regions to explore. The cove offers one of the most spectacular underwater views due to its shallow water. For an up close and personal view of untamed wildlife, try tidepooling when the tides lower to reveal some of the mystical creatures that call Crystal Cove home.

Hermosa Beach

This is one of those Southern California beaches where the sun is always shining, and the waves are plentiful. So there’s no better place to soak up some rays than at Hermosa Beach. It has something to offer every kind of outdoor enthusiast, whether you’re looking for a leisurely bike ride along the Strand, a game of volleyball, or just the right spot for a picnic.

La Jolla Cove

Between Lindeman’s Beach and Children’s Pool Beach, La Jolla Cove is a secluded beach in La Jolla, San Diego. The cove is recognized for its abundant marine life, excellent fishing, and numerous seals. It also has a significant historical value as the site of the Spanish Missionaries’ massacres of various indigenous tribes.

La Jolla Cove

Laguna Beach

The Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is four miles of white sand beach, perfect for an afternoon stroll. Stroll in the morning and watch surfers on the famous surf spot, Aliso Beach. It’s ideal for family’s with small children as the tide won’t get too intense. But it’s definitely one of those Southern California beaches that draws big crowds on summer weekends. The shoreline has a beautiful sunset view, so it’s a perfect place to enjoy a picnic dinner

Newport Beach

If you love the Golden State and its endless summers, this could be one of the Southern California beaches for you. You won’t find a more attractive waterfront setting than Newport Beach, with its wide beach ideal for surfing. There’s also a magnificent stretch of sand from Newport Beach to Balboa Pier and a picturesque harbor full of glittering yachts.

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If you’re looking to stay near San Diego, check out the Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton, which we mentioned at the beginning of this list. By signing up for the no annual fee Hilton Honors American Express Card, you can earn 80,000 points by spending $1,000 during the first three months.  You can also support this site at no additional cost by doing your Amazon shopping via our custom link.

Have you been to any of these Southern California beaches? Leave a comment below!