10 Best Family Beaches in California [for 2023]
California is a popular destination for summer vacations with its beautiful beaches and natural scenery. As the Golden State, California is home to many pristine beaches, perfect for families looking for a fun and relaxing vacation.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect spot to build sand castles, swim, or simply sunbathe, there are plenty of options to choose from. From the spectacular coastline of Big Sur to the iconic Santa Monica Pier, California’s family-friendly beaches offer something for everyone.
With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect beach for your next family vacation with our list of the best family beaches in California.
1. Coronado Beach, Coronado
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Coronado Beach is a great beach for families who like to spend a lot of time at the beach. It’s a 1.5-mile stretch of beautiful shoreline with soft sand, lots of space, and excellent amenities that aren’t usually crowded. The beach is perfect for all ages.
Teens can enjoy water sports such as surfing, paddleboarding, and boogie boarding. Small children can have a great time building sand castles and playing on the shore. This beach is also safe enough to enjoy swimming.
The waves are fairly gentle, and the water is usually calm and clear, making it easy to see what you’re stepping on. There are several lifeguard stations, making the area even safer. One of the best things about Coronado Beach is its location.
It is close to the Hotel del Coronado, one of the best family resorts in California. So, after spending time at the beach, families can head back to the resort and enjoy the many amenities.
If you’re looking for more things to do, Coronado Island has plenty of other attractions to offer. Families can watch live theater at the Lamb’s Players Theater or play golf at the Coronado Golf Course, which has been ranked No. 5 for Best Value by Golf Digest. There is also a vibrant nightlife scene and plenty of shopping options.
2. Balboa Beach, Newport Beach
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Balboa Beach in California is a great beach to visit for people of all ages who love fun water activities. This beach is approximately one mile long and is located near many other attractions that you and your loved ones will enjoy.
If you’re looking for fun things to do with kids in California, going to the beach and visiting an amusement park is always a great option. Balboa Beach is very family-friendly, and the Balboa Fun Zone is a great place to visit. Conveniently located right next door is California’s oldest amusement park.
While you enjoy the beach your kids can enjoy the Ferris wheel ride on the waterfront, play arcade games, and explore the maritime museum. Speaking of which one feels very happy, the beach is perfect for surfing, parasailing, and fishing.
You can also enjoy its facilities like a lifeguard station, fire pit, fishing pier, restrooms, and picnic tables, or you can also rent a bike here. If you want to see the most breathtaking views and go whale watching, then I recommend renting a yacht or Duffy Boats. Duffy boats are easy to maneuver and glide easily in the water, making them perfect for families with children.
3. La Jolla Cove, San Diego
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La Jolla Cove is a beautiful beach located in California, famous for its abundance of seals and sea lions. This beach is the best option for families looking for a fun-filled holiday. You can enjoy the soft sandy beach and the clear blue water to the fullest.
One of the best ways to bond with your family is by having a picnic, flying a kite, and watching the playful seals and sea lions. Swimming in the ocean is also a great way to cool off and have some fun.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, there are plenty of activities to try, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and exploring sea caves. You’re important to note that finding parking can be challenging, so the location is best to arrive early in the day to secure it.
4. South Carlsbad State Beach, Carlsbad
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South Carlsbad State Beach is a great recommendation for families who want a peaceful and quiet beach experience away from the noise of the city. There are fewer tourists and vendors on this beach, which means you can enjoy your time without feeling crowded or overwhelmed.
Your kids can enjoy building sand castles on the wide and uncrowded beach, while Parents can relax with a good book or some music while enjoying the gentle waves. One of the best things about this beach is that it has a lifeguard station, making sure that every Stay safe while having some fun.
If you’re looking for an expert tip, South Carlsbad State Beach is also the perfect place to go camping. You can rent a tent or bring your own and enjoy the campground to the fullest. At night, you can also have a warm and cozy bonfire with your loved ones, and wake up early to watch the beautiful sunrise.
5. Zuma Beach, Malibu
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Zuma Beach, located in California, is one of the most preferred beach destinations for a family-friendly beach vacation. The beach offers a relaxing and tranquil environment where you can relax on the soft sand and enjoy the cool sea breeze.
Zuma Beach is especially great for families with young children, as it has a children’s play area. There are parking areas, snack bars, picnic tables, restrooms, and several lifeguard stations that cover the area well.
Nearby Trancas Canyon Park provides a great spot for picnics and playgrounds for your kids, while the Zuma Canyon trailhead is perfect for hiking. You’ll need to be mindful of periodic rip currents.
But don’t worry, because there are many lifeguards looking out for you and ready to help you in case of any danger. So, if you are looking for a peaceful seaside getaway with your loved ones, Zuma Beach is a must-visit beach in California.
6. Carmel City Beach, Monterey
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Carmel City Beach is an excellent destination for families and pets alike. The beach is characterized by its stunning white sand, crystal blue water, and lush green natural mangroves. The coastline has a calm and relaxing atmosphere that provides a serene environment aided by the fresh sea breeze.
In addition, there are plenty of enticing paths for jogging, which provide an excellent opportunity to stay t while enjoying the stunning natural scenery. If you are planning to spend an evening at the beach, make sure to visit the beachside bonfires.
There are designated areas for what suits you. Additionally, restrooms are available near the parking area, ensuring you have access to all the necessary amenities. Surfing enthusiasts can head north to Carmel City Beach Point Lobos to the south or Pebble Beach. Both locations offer perfect surfing conditions and are great places to ride the waves.
For a more memorable vacation, there are plenty of fun and unique attractions located close to the beach. The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Discovery Whale Watching, and the Monterey Mirror Maze are just a few of the attractions you can visit while in the area.
7. Santa Monica State Beach, Santa Monica
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Santa Monica State Beach is a popular beach located in the city of Santa Monica California. The beach is divided into two areas: North Beach and South Beach. North Beach is a beautiful sandy beach, while South Beach has grassy parks that provide an ideal place for picnics and relaxation.
If you want to indulge in fun-filled activities for your kids then this beach is an excellent place to take your family. The beach offers a children’s play area, picnic tables, bike rentals, a paved biking area, sports courts, and even a lifeguard on duty. You can enjoy plenty of activities such as surfing, fishing, beach volleyball, swimming, and sunbathing.
To make the most of your weekend family vacation, be sure to visit the Santa Monica Pier. The Ghat offers a variety of attractions such as amusement park rides, an arcade, street performers, an aquarium, and several restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy a delicious meal with the whole family.
8. Corona del Mar State Beach, Newport Beach
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Corona Del Mar State Beach is a beautiful and picturesque beach in California that is perfect for families. It has a wide sandy beach with lots of facilities like volleyball courts, restrooms, showers, barbecue facilities, picnic tables, and fire pits.
This beach is ideal for children as it has at the coast without any rocks or pebbles, a gently sloping shore, and a vigilant lifeguard who is always on the lookout for any potential danger.
Excellent surf and clear water at Corona del Mar State Beach are also popular among surfers, scuba divers, and snorkelers because of the. However, if you are planning to spend a lot of time in the water, it is recommended that you wear a wetsuit as the water temperature can be quite cold.
Whether you want to relax on the beach, play volleyball, or enjoy some water sports, this beach has something for everyone in your family.
9. Crissy Field East Beach, San Francisco
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Chrissy Field East Beach is a beautiful and family-friendly beach located in California that offers spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Angel Island, and the Marin Headlands.
The beach is a popular spot for joggers and moms on strolls. You can enjoy fun activities like picnicking, kite flying, and water activities like kiteboarding and windsurfing with your family here.
The beach also has a grass park, bike path, historical buildings, restrooms, and a fishing pier. The park provides an ideal place for children to play while parents relax and enjoy the scenery.
The historic buildings offer a glimpse into the history of the area, and the fishing pier is an excellent spot to catch some sh. An expert tip for you is to check out the Warming Hut Cafe, which is located nearby. The cafe was once a storage building but has since been converted into a cozy cafe. It is the perfect place to have some refreshments after a day at the beach.
10. Arroyo Burro Beach, Santa Barbara
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Arroyo Burro Beach, also known as Hendry’s Beach. California has a favorite beach with locals taking great care of safety, maintenance, and cleanliness. It is an ideal spot for families and beginner surfers as it offers safe swimming conditions and calm waters.
While your kids play in the soft sand or in the water, you can take out some time to sunbathe and relax. Apart from swimming and sunbathing, this beach offers a variety of activities such as beachcombing, bodyboarding, and catching fish.
You can stroll along the beach or go hiking and biking to the nearby Douglas Family Reserve, where you can enjoy beautiful views of the city and ocean. A highlight of this beach is the onsite boathouse There is a restaurant. You can enjoy fresh and delicious food while admiring the stunning ocean views. The restaurant offers a variety of specialties for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.