Spotlight! Southern California’s Best Beaches

Words by:

Nyssa P. Chopra

Think: surfing, gorgeous sunsets, convertibles, yoga on the beach, big waves, year-round sunshine, Chanel sunglasses… that is what you will find along the stunning California coast. As a native Californian, I find the following five beaches to be the best, each enjoying a unique identity. But what they all have in common is that they offer the most breathtaking views of the Pacific coastline! Enjoy the glorious “Golden State!”

Laguna Beach

Oh, the (in)famous Laguna Beach. I am sure everyone is familiar with Laguna Beach, thanks to the fame and coverage it received on MTV’s hit reality show, Laguna Beach. While I am not a fan of the show because of its excessive use of stereotypes, I can gladly rave about the beach and its surrounding area. It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches of Southern California, and rightly so! Its glory comes from its geographic location and natural wonders that encapsulate the area, and from the demographics of the inhabitants in the surrounding vicinities. Any tourist can visit the beach and see how visually-appealing it is on the surface, but not everyone knows that it is a budding artist community. Artistic excellence is seen in all corners of the small seaside resort. It is quite a dichotomy with the swanky resort hotels on one side reeling in a target audience, and the aspiring artists inhabiting the other side of the community and attracting an entirely different group. Many artists claim it is the idyllic seaside town and scenic muse of photographers, namely because of its tranquility, picturesque landscapes, and inspirational atmosphere. Aside from the indie art shops, there are many famous art galleries, photography exhibitions, and annual art festivals.

La Jolla Shores

Home to the mildest waves in San Diego, La Jolla Shores is a beautiful sandy beach located at the foot of the affluent La Jolla residential community. The coastline is approximately one mile long and is lined with swanky hotels, exclusive boutiques, and gourmet seafood restaurants. La Jolla Shores, even amid throngs of roaring children, has a unique tranquil melody that soothes and relaxes. Burying your bare feet in the pristine white sand is the perfect remedy for relieving stress. For the surfers, there are certain areas closed off and reserved exclusively for surfing. Even though the waves are relatively small, it’s advisable to go during lifeguard hours. For the bold, there are novice scuba diving lessons that are offered – highly recommended! During the summer months, containers are offered for bonfires, which make for a great picnic outing. It’s on a first-come, first-served basis.

Venice Beach

A day at Venice Beach is not a regular “day at the beach.” The three-mile long Venice Beach is a popular tourist destination in Los Angeles and is known for its eccentric vibe, eternal hippies, rows of tattoo parlors, and Venetian canals. All year long, the circus-like boardwalk (Ocean Front Walk) buzzes with an eclectic display of street performances, ranging from magicians to acrobats to singers. Don’t miss the area entitled “Muscle Beach” where you can catch fanatic bodybuilders gathering a crowd as they pump iron. *Cue Popeye*

Newport Beach

Orange County surely thanks Newport Beach for all the tourism it brings in every year. Newport Pier is the largest pier in Newport Beach, and might I add, the prettiest and most conducive to bike riding, surfing, and sailing. There is one other pier in the city, but there is no track to ride your bike. I took my bike along the coast and it was the most beautiful ride ever. It’s the best way to start the day. Fresh, crisp air and pristine, clear waters are all that surround you. You will find many bikers in the morning and if you don’t have a bike, you can rent one from a local shack. And for the sailing and surfing aficionados, lessons for both activities are available throughout the year. Whether you are bike riding, sailing, surfing or taking a nice stroll along the coast, you will find Newport Beach nothing less than mesmerizing!

Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach, the largest beach city in Orange County is known for having the best surf breaks in the United States and hosting world surfing championships such as the U.S. Open of Surfing. The 8.5-mile beach is often termed the “Surf Capital of the World” or “Surf City.”  The world-famous Huntington Harbor welcomes more than 8 million visitors a year. Enjoy a high quality surf during the day and end your night at the fire pits by roasting marshmallows and making s’mores, a traditional American campfire treat.