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Best beaches in California

There's no question that California boasts some of the best beaches in the country. With nearly 3,000 miles of coastline, the Golden State has a beach for every type of traveler— whether you're looking for a laid-back surf town or a luxury resort destination. Here are just a few of our favorite beaches in California:

San Diego's Coronado Beach is consistently ranked as one of America's top beaches thanks to its wide stretches of soft sand, gentle waves, and impressive views of the San Diego skyline. For those who want to stay active, there's plenty to do here including swimming, sunbathing, volleyball, and even stand-up paddleboarding.

Just north of Los Angeles in Ventura County lies Oxnard Shores, where you'll find long stretches of sandy beach perfect for walking or running along the water's edge. The area is also great for fishing and surfing—just be sure to check the surf report before heading out!

If you're looking for dramatic coastal scenery, Big Sur should be at the top of your list. This stretch of coastline features towering cliffs, crashing waves, and secluded coves that can only be accessed by hiking trails. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like whales and sea lions as you explore Big Sur's many different beaches.

No trip to California would be complete without spending time in Santa Monica. This world-famous beach town is home to Muscle Beach (where you can spot bodybuilders working out), Palisades Park (with sweeping ocean views), and Santa Monica Pier (a historic landmark with shops & rides). Don't miss happy hour at one of Santa Monica's many rooftop bars while watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.