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The 9 Best Beaches on the West Coast

The 9 Best Beaches on the West Coast

While all beaches should totally be explored, some hold the title of being best on the West Coast. Discover the West Coast's 9 best beaches.

Roubina Al Abashian


4 min read

October 25, 2021

Everyone knows that the West Coast is *cough* the best coast, and nothing soothes the soul like a day spent by the glimmering waters. Naturally, the gorgeous stretches of sand capture every visitor’s heart. Black sands of the Alaska coastline conjure images of volcanic activities, whereas Southern California’s hotspots are filled with beach volleyball players. While all these places should totally be explored, some hold the title of best beaches on the West Coast.

The Best Beaches On the West Coast That Are Unlike Any Other

Coronado is the quintessential San Diego postcard experience and a great place for a romantic getaway or a fun-filled family beach vacation.

1. Coronado Beach, California

A true San Diego gem, Coronado Beach has enough charm to attract people from all over for a well-deserved West Coast beach vacation. Several miles of sandy shores invite you to a day of pure relaxation and fun. Splashing in the water, getting sun-kissed on the sand, and riding the waves are just a few of the countless activities available here. This favorite San Diego beach has one of the Golden State’s best dive-in theaters at the historic Hotel Del Coronado. And to add to the excitement, the beach transforms into one of the coolest places for bonfires at night. Join the fun and bring your pup along to check out the coolest West Coast beach in California.

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2. Ruby Beach, Washington

Located in Olympic National Park, Ruby Beach gets its name from the gorgeous reddish sand. Arguably the most beautiful beach in Washington, this sandy stretch is home to the iconic sea stacks that every photographer dreams of capturing. The magnificent rock formations have a crowned queen—Abbey Island—where sea otters, starfish, and hundreds of migratory birds live. Visitors enjoy tide pooling, beachcombing, and hiking at Ruby Beach. But the best part about coming here is watching the sunset; the views you’ll get to see are unparalleled.   

Gulls, cormorants, sea lions, and native plants line La Jolla Cove, making this one of the prettiest and most photographed areas in SoCal.

3. La Jolla Cove, California

If there’s one place in San Diego that takes our breath away, it’s La Jolla Cove. Tucked between sandstone cliffs and flanked by breathtaking sea caves, this tiny beach is an open call for adventurers and outdoor lovers. Thanks to its abundant marine life, the cove is a hotspot for snorkeling and scuba diving. You’ll see many people kayaking towards the caves, where more adventures await. So prepare your beach essentials—you’re about to enjoy the best West Coast beach vacation in San Diego.

Keyhole Arch is visible as soon as you have a full view of Pfeiffer Beach, with its slightly curved top and handsome size.

4. Pfeiffer Beach, California

With purple-hued sands and magnificent rock formations, Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur is a place everyone should visit at least once. The secluded beach is where you’ll find the Keyhole Arch—if it looks familiar, it’s probably because many photographers capture the sun rays escaping through the arch. Here, oceanside strolls are on a whole new level, especially when the sands are extra vivid. If you’ve been meaning to take your date to the best beach on the West Coast, you got your answer.  

5. Black Sand Beach, Alaska

Stunning blue glacial ice with dark, fine grains of sand sound other-worldly; Black Sand Beach is where you’ll find yourself in total awe of your surroundings. The quarter-mile-long beach is a popular spot for kayakers, campers, and photography enthusiasts. What makes Black Sand Beach a coveted place to visit is the emerging face of Coxe Glacier, forming a dramatic backdrop people can’t get enough of. Wish to have your jaw dropped, literally? Paying a visit to Black Sand Beach is the adventure you’ve been looking for.

Years of the crashing Pacific Ocean have battered broken glass down to soft pieces of colorful beauty, resulting in the magnificent Glass Beach.

6. Glass Beach, California

Sure, most people like to sink their toes in white sand, but how about we up the stakes and guide you to a place with no sand? The kaleidoscopic pebbles at Fort Bragg’s Glass Beach are Mother Nature’s work of art. Visitors flock to this beach to marvel at the mysterious natural wonder as the sky reflects its colors in the vibrant rocks. The tide pools and wildlife also make Glass Beach a charming place to visit—expect to see sea lions and otters being playful. No need to search for unique beaches anymore, the West Coast won’t let you down.

Victoria Beach still feels like a hidden gem despite the fact it's one of the most popular areas in all of Orange County.

7. Victoria Beach, California

No OC beach is as striking as the charming Victoria Beach. This secluded spot is a local gem with glittering blue waters inviting you to splash around. Scuba diving, kayaking, surfing, and skimboarding are only a few that’ll keep you busy here. One thing that all visitors admire here is the Pirate Tower. Built as beach access in 1926, the tower is now privately owned, and we can only marvel at the structure from a distance. The lonely stone turret is best viewed at low tide only, so make sure you check the tides before making the trip to the marvelous Victoria Beach.

8. Rockaway Beach, Oregon 

There’s one West Coast beach in Oregon we’ve all been dying to visit. Rockaway Beach is where mountains meet the sea in the most mesmerizing way possible. Seven miles of uninterrupted coastline call your name to explore its abundance. Expect to take part in beachcombing, tide pooling, and kite flying to keep you entertained. Make sure to bring your camera when you’re here—you’ll want to take photos of the massive Twin Rocks. The two gigantic 100-foot rocks are made of million-year-old sandstone. And if rock formations don’t impress you much, you’ll love spotting lavender and golden starfish whenever you’re tide pooling at Rockaway Beach. 

Stones like these have caused wild speculation wherever they’ve been discovered, but the answer is actually simple geology.

9. Bowling Ball Beach, California

Unlike other rocky shores on the West Coast, Bowling Ball Beach is perhaps the most unique. The rocks here have a perfectly spherical form resembling bowling balls that are best admired at low tide. And while it’s quite inconvenient to walk among rounded rocks, the surrounding area has trails that are worth hiking. But for those who’d rather be on the shore, you’ll encounter rich tide pools waiting to be explored and bountiful wildlife thriving. Another advantage of coming to this beach is that your four-legged pal can tag along. Photo ops, wildlife, and dog-friendly? Those are the things the best beaches on the West Coast comprise. 

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