6 amazing beaches on the Pacific Coast Highway

Going on a road trip in the United States? You’ll be in awe no matter where you go… but if you need inspiration, look no further than these 6 amazing beaches on the Pacific Coast Highway.

It’s no secret: Americans love the beach. Luckily, there are plenty of fantastic beaches all over the country, and no two beaches feel the same. Deciding which beach in the United States is the best is no easy task, but you’re sure to find some of the best beaches in the USA along the Pacific Coast Highway. 

What’s the Pacific Coast Highway?

More formally known as Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway Extends for about 656 miles along the western coast of the United States. The highway crosses through several major Californian cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. The entirety of the north-south highway is in California—it’s the state’s longest route!

If the ocean is your happy place, you’re in for a treat:  the Pacific Coast Highway is home to some of the most incredible beaches on the planet. A drive along the highway will reveal impossibly beautiful scenery. There are dozens of picture-perfect sandy spots along the highway for every kind of beachgoer. Here are a few of the most amazing beaches on the Pacific Coast Highway:

6 amazing beaches on the Pacific Coast Highway

Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California

Amazing beaches on the Pacific Coast Highway: Waterfall at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California

Photo by Todd Kay on Pixabay

If you want a place where you can stretch your legs for a while on one of the best beaches in the country, Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur is your best bet. The beach is located in a state park that is part of the Los Padres National Forest, about two hours south of San Jose.

Pfeiffer Beach has fantastic scenery that will take your breath away. It is a fantastic place to go and relax while meeting other friendly beachgoers and taking in the sun. 

The area surrounding the beach is called Big Sur, which offers many other attractions. The whole place will leave a lasting impression on your memory.

Monterey State Beach in Monterey, California

Beaches are usually great places for sunbathing, and Monterey State Beach might just be the best one. It is the best spot along the Pacific Coast Highway. 

Going to the state beach will always be a forerunner when searching for activities in Monterey and Carmel to do on a hot day. You can take a swim in the water or simply take a stroll and feel the sand between your toes.   

The reason Monterey State Beach is excellent for sunbathing is that the temperatures don’t get too high. In September is when you will find the highest temperatures in Monterey State Beach. 

Also read: A weekend in Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California

Glass Beach in Fort Bragg is one of the few beaches with sea glass beaches in the state. It is a place of indescribable beauty and one that shines beyond comprehension. 

As the name suggests, it is a sea glass beach, so never forget your shoes when you visit Glass Beach in Fort Bragg. The waves and the sand wear down the glass, so the chances of cutting your feet off the glass are relatively low. 

However, some cracked glass pebbles could cut your feet if you are not careful. Therefore, caution is necessary on Glass Beach. Even if you carry a camera, just be sure to live in the moment and enjoy the beauty before you. 

Carbon Beach in Malibu, California

Colorful sunset over a beach in Malibu, USA

Malibu beach,  photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

It would be impossible to talk about beaches in California without mentioning Malibu. Carbon Beach is nicknamed ‘Billionaire’s Beach’ because of the impressive real estate surrounding the beach. 

The beach itself is magnificent and has great sand alongside a long stretch of coastline. The views are beautiful, and the water is spectacular, so you will find something to do whether you want to get into the water or not. 

You can never go wrong with Malibu beach because it is so easy to access. If you wear a great swimming costume, you will likely spend the whole day there. 

Also read: Offbeat down east in Lubec, Maine

Pismo State Beach in Pismo, California

Don’t forget your swimming suit if you are going to Pismo state beach. The days out there are so gorgeous you will never want to leave. 

You can simply spend the whole day lazing on the beach, catching waves on a surfboard, or fishing from the pier. However, the best—and easiest—option is to swim in the cooling ocean waters that are often crystal clear. 

Nature lovers will also love Pismo State Beach: there is plenty of wildlife around, so don’t forget your binoculars in the car!

Santa Cruz Beach in Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz beach is a classic boardwalk that has been tried and tested by many. It is undoubtedly one of the beaches you have to visit along the Pacific Coast Highway. 

The best part about Santa Cruz Beach is that there is always something for everyone to do. There are so many events and activities on the beach that it is impossible to get bored.  One example: California’s oldest amusement park is located on the beach. You can also do classic beach activities like sunbathing and swimming. 


What’s your favorite beach in the United States?

Featured photo credit: Craig Melville on Unsplash

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Carl Caprinae

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