Southern California is stereotyped for its beachy lifestyle – and for good reason. The area is littered with incredible spots for surfing, swimming, or just lounging on the sand with a good book. Check out our favorite beaches to hit up, from the fun and crowded to the empty and intimate.
La Jolla Shores + Cove
If you find yourself in the San Diego area, be sure to take a trip to La Jolla Shores. This is a popular spot to play around on, so it sometimes gets crowded, but it’s still worth it to enjoy the activities available. You have the option to enjoy kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, or bodyboarding. Alternately, if you are looking for a more intimate experience, take a short drive down the coast to get to La Jolla Cove. This small beach is tucked beneath some sandy cliffs, offering you a gorgeous and secluded experience that is ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling.
Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier is a classic tourist destination, with a huge selection of amusement park rides, restaurants, and shops to explore while overlooking the ocean. The pier is situated over a wide section of beach, so even though this area tends to get crowded, there is plenty of space to spread out. Take advantage of this fun area by making a full day out of your visit, spending the afternoon on the shore and the evening at a restaurant on the pier. You can even enjoy a ride on the Ferris wheel at sunset. There is tons of parking available right off shore, too.
Coronado Central Beach
Also in the San Diego area is Coronado Central Beach, with a gorgeous shore spreading out in front of the Hotel Del Coronado. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy this beach. Here, you can pass the time doing a wide variety of activities, including swimming, boogie boarding, body surfing, and visiting the tide pools. For ideal surfing conditions, head north to North Beach, or opt for a doggie day even farther north at Dog Beach.
For a luxurious beach town experience, your best bet is visiting Newport Beach. Here, you will be in the company of the trendy and wealthy, offering clean streets and incredible nearby shopping opportunities. The houses lining the beach are extravagant, standing alongside a gorgeous sandy shore. This space attracts surfers and sunbathers alike, all of which embody the most typical Californian stereotypes of youth and beauty.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.