Top West Coast Beach Vacations

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The West Coast has long been portrayed as the ‘hip’ and ‘hang loose’ coast, and synonymous with all things ‘hang loose’ are great beaches – to help you harvest your inner Spicoli, we compiled a list of some of the top west coast beach vacations from northern Washington state to southern California.

So, dip your schnoz in the sunscreen, lube up the longboard and let’s jam into the Woodie – it’s time to cruise through the West Coast’s Best Beaches.

Rockaway Beach, Oregon

The mecca for Kite Flyers everywhere, Rockaway Beach is home to an annual Kite Flying competition and attracts ribbon runners from across the globe. The seven mile beach is known for having some of the most amazing views of dramatic offshore rock formations, and, due to the expansive collection of crustacean-inhabited tidal pools, it’s is considered to be an excellent beach for families.

Long Beach, Washington
While this beach may be best known for its lighthouse, Cape Disappointment, its name is not representative of the beach. The cool differentiator for Long Beach, is that it’s an active beach where the most popular activities don’t include catching rays and riding waves, but rather catching clams and riding horses! A beach-side horseback ride is a special experience, and something everybody should try. Also, if you’re into peepin’ birds, this stretch of sand is the spot! There are tons of shorebirds calling this 11 miles stretch of beach home.

Butterfly Beach, Santa Barbara, California
Into reading celebrity gossip articles about who gained and lost 10lbs this week? Then you’ll love Butterfly Beach! Not because there are dispensers regularly distributing those grocery store check-out line publications, but because at this beach you’re likely to see a celebrity up close and personal in their aquatic skibbies. Since there are no public facilities on Butterfly Beach, it probably isn’t the ideal beach to bring your kids, but its charm, simplicity and majestic sunset will probably have you feeling thankful that you got a babysitter for the evening.

Bandon, Oregon
Freckled with lighthouses and offshore rock formations, a trip to the Bandon coastline will recharge even the deadest of batteries. Bandon has managed to avoid the excessive commercialism that infects so many seaside communities, and such a commitment to simplicity is cleansing for the soul. Turn off the phones, shutdown the IPads and bring the kids to Bandon for an opportunity to reconnect and enjoy being a family again. Bandon also hosts a fantastic Cranberry Festival in September that is a fantastic way to extend the summer!

Carmel Beach, Monterey, California
Due to its pretentious and stuffy reputation, Carmel Beach was a controversial selection. But if you look past the city ordinances requiring popped collars and a thorough understanding of the anatomy of a grape, Carmel Beach is undeniably beautiful. 1. It’s encompassed by a bird sanctuary 2. Whales can be spotted within 500 feet of shore 3. It’s dog friendly!

Rosario Beach, Whidbey Island, Washington
Deception Pass State Park is Washington’s most visited park, and is great spot to bring the kids. There are bunches of hiking trails to get lost on, and leave the nine-to-five behind. AND the most popular regular at this beach is the patriotic bald eagle – how cool is that? Within the park is Rosario Beach, and it is a must-visit! The beach features shallow waters ideal for slappin’ a scuba mask on little Johnny and opening his eyes to what’s beneath the surface.

Redondo Beach, California
Located just south of Tinsletown and occupied by plenty of biologically enhanced beautiful people, Redondo Beach is a popular ‘sight-seeing’ destination, but it’s also a great beach to bring the kids. Why? Well, the city-owned Seaside Lagoon offers plenty of enjoyment for the young ones; it’s a saltwater lagoon under lifeguard supervision, and contains play equipment to be climbed on, a snack bar to satisfy the midday munchies and even a luau to shelter that vulnerable baby skin.

San Clemente, California
Hang ten, brah! Trestles, or Trestle Beach, is a secluded little spot that requires a walk-in and is home to some of the raddest surfing on the planet. The walk-in provides some peaceful seclusion and watching the surfers can be an inspiring distraction for the little ones – just make sure not to steal anyone’s wave. In an odd juxtaposition, President Nixon made San Clemente home to his Western White House while Commander in Chief – though it’s hard to imagine him in a pair of board shorts and screaming, ‘Cawabunga’.

Cannon Beach, Oregon
This beach is a cinematographic classic collection of sediment – yep, Cannon Beach was featured in the Goonies, and to this day attracts the film’s faithful. In addition to conjuring impromptu Truffle Shuffle impersonations, this beach is world class for kids. The far receding shoreline results in shallows waters to run through, and plenty of tidal pools to explore. Cannon Beach might be the most versatile beach on the list – managing to be both a Painter’s Paradise and Kid’s Castle.

Baker Beach, San Francisco, California
We had to include one nude beach, right? What makes Baker Beach so special is the… ahem… sights. The view of the Golden Gate Bridge, of course! Sure, going nude at Baker Beach is acceptable and as a result it’s probably not ideal for the whole family, but its location on the banks of one of America’s most beautiful cities, and sitting comfortably in the shadows of one of the country’s most recognizable fixtures is tough to shrug at. So, next time you’re in San Fran and feeling adventurous, grab a bowl of Rice-a-Roni and go live a little down at Baker Beach.

There ya’ have it, our Top West Coast Beach Vacations! Please keep in mind that the West Coast United States is jam packed with wonderful beaches, so there is definitely something for everyone. Whichever west coast beach vacation you choose to plan, be sure to use, and keep some extra cash in your pocket.


Did we leave your favorite west coast beach off the list? If so, let us know in the comments section below!


Posted in Beach vacations, Travel Discussion

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