Beautiful West Coast Beaches in the United States

Check out these five gorgeous beach destinations for a salt water getaway.

Summer is almost here! Well, not really, but we are pretty confident that we aren’t the only ones dreaming of some fun in the sun with sand between our toes and a tropical cocktail in hand. We can almost hear the Beach Boys singing about the west coast sunshine and French bikinis on Hawaiian dolls from their classic hit. “California Girls.” They were definitely on to something singing about the West Coast. Plan your next beach getaway on the beautiful Pacific Coast. There are picturesque beaches from the Washington coastline all the way to Southern California. Here are some of the top getaways to put on your list of beach destinations for summertime.

Five Stunning West Coast Beaches 

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach sits 90 minutes west of Portland and four hours south of Seattle along the Pacific Coast Highway. It is a four-mile stretch of sand and beach and is home to Haystack Rock, an almost 250-foot sea stack that is surprisingly a popular tourist attraction. It is one of the most photographed landmarks in Oregon and has even appeared in the 1985 movie classic, The Goonies! Because it is a National Wildlife Refuge, marine life is abundant, and you will most likely see Tufted Puffins, all while enjoying the sand and water. The best time to visit is from July to early September when there are fewer rainy days, and the weather is the warmest. 

Cannon Beach Wildlife Oregon | WhereTraveler
Cannon Beach Wildlife (©Melanie Lee)

Malibu, California

While one may only associate Malibu with celebrities riding around in fancy cars and living in sprawling homes, it also happens to be a popular beach destination. Malibu has over 27 miles of beachfront to enjoy, including Paradise Cove, the site for the popular television shows The O.C. and Baywatch. Visit Malibu Surfrider Beach, where you’ll catch some of the best waves or just enjoy watching surfers hang ten. You’ll enjoy plenty of water activities like scuba diving, surfing and swimming at Zuma Beach. 

Malibu Pier at Paradise Cove | WhereTraveler
Cannon Beach Wildlife

Alki Beach, Washington

Alki Beach is a favorite, must-see destination in Washington. If your imagined beach getaway does not only consist of laying in the sand, Alki Beach is the perfect destination for you. After soaking up the sun, locals and tourists can be found kayaking, paddle boarding, rollerblading, riding bicycles and flying kites on the beach. In the movie “Sleepless in Seattle,” Tom Hanks can be seen flying a kite with his son on Alki Beach! You will also enjoy Alki Beach Park, where restaurants and bars can be found. For a little culture and history, take a tour of the Alki Point Lighthouse located on the beach or visit the Statue of Liberty replica. 

Alki Beach Washington | WhereTraveler
Alki Beach (©Benjamin Massello)

Laguna Beach, California

Hailed as one of the top beaches in the United States, a trip to Laguna Beach will prove to be an unforgettable experience. Explore seven miles of coves and beaches with sea caves, tide pools and sandy beaches. Surf or play volleyball while at the beach. If surfing and snorkeling is your thing, visit Thousand Steps Beach, where the waves roll into the sand. It is also home to Laguna’s most famous sea cave. Laguna Beach is the only marine reserve on the Southern California Coast, making it a prime feeding ground for whales. Go on a whale excursion here, and you may see some dolphins, seals and sea lions too! The best time to catch a glimpse of a whale is from December through April. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, make the trek to Victoria Beach and visit the stunning Pirate Tower. 

There are seven beautiful beachfront lodging options, so you sleep and wake to majestic water views. Beyond the beach are thousands of acres of nature to explore with biking, running and hiking trails. Check out these locations Bommer Ridge & Emerald Canyon, Boat Road & Laguna Ridge, Water Tank Trail or a sunset beach run at Crystal Cove. Crystal Cove State Park has three and a half miles of beaches to enjoy. 

Victoria Beach Pirate Tower at Laguna Beach | WhereTraveler
Victoria Beach Pirate Tower at Laguna Beach (©Melanie Lee)

Baker Beach

While you might not immediately think of San Francisco as a fantastic beach destination, you might be pleasantly surprised. There are various beaches along the west coast of the city—especially the areas just south of the Golden Gate Bridge. While they’re not the most accessible areas in San Francisco, they’re still relatively easy to get to, and if you’re lucky enough to get there for sunrise or sunset, you’re in for a real treat. The beaches—especially Baker Beach—offer unparalleled views of the world-famous bridge from the most magnificent vantage point. Grab your coffee and a breakfast sandwich and get there as early as you can to enjoy the best start to a day spent in San Francisco. 

Baker Beach View of the Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco | WhereTraveler
Baker Beach View of the Golden Gate Bridge (©Elie Khoury)