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These Are the Best Beaches to Visit in December
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These Are the Best Beaches to Visit in December

These are the best 9 beaches to visit in December when winter comes; it’s time for a warm escape under the sun.

Roubina Al Abashian

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5 min read

December 26, 2021

When you think of winter, beaches aren’t exactly the first thing that comes to your mind. But if you’re anything like us, you probably can’t get enough of California’s beaches all year round. And why not? Crowds retreat into their cozy cabins, and you’ll basically have the whole shore to yourself. And even though not all Golden State beaches are fit for swimming during the colder months, most have enough activities that’ll keep you entertained. These are the best beaches to visit in December to remind you of all the summer fun. 

This small and scenic cove is one of the most picturesque places you'll ever visit, even during the winter.

1. La Jolla Cove

Location: 1160 Coast Boulevard, La Jolla
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Amenities: Lifeguard, restrooms, showers, benches, picnic tables, grass park, tide pools
Dogs allowed: On leash

La Jolla Cove is one of the most beautiful places to visit in SoCal. This picturesque spot has relatively warm waters even during the winter months—whether you're in for a swim, scuba diving, or snorkeling, you won’t find a better destination. In any case, if you’re not sure the water isn’t warm enough for you, kayaking is an activity many opt for

2. Long Beach

Location: 1 Junipero Avenue, Long Beach
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Amenities: Lifeguard, paved bike path, walking path, grass park, restrooms, showers
Dogs allowed: No

Los Angeles County is famous for being one of the state’s warm vacation spots in December—its beaches stay busy even during the colder months. One of the most popular destinations year-round is none other than Long Beach. While some aren’t afraid to take a dip in the water, most prefer to stick to the shore and go for runs, walks, skateboarding, and cycling. However you prefer to spend your day here, this particular stretch of sand remains crowded even during the winter.

Want to go swimming? Or skating? Perhaps you prefer biking? Whatever your preferences are, Venice Beach is the answer.

3. Venice Beach

Location: Windward Avenue and Ocean Front Walk, Los Angeles
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Amenities: Grass park, skatepark, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, handball courts, restrooms, showers, lifeguard, paved bike path, walking path, kids play area, restaurants
Dogs allowed: No

So what if it’s winter, who wouldn’t want to visit Venice Beach? People looking for warm places to travel in December know that this place will never let them down. You’ll see people swimming, parasailing, and surfing at this local favorite beach. The surrounding area is filled with volleyball, basketball, handball, and tennis courts. If you’re up for beachfront winter fun, you know where your next California getaway should be.

Avila Beach is the place to head to during December whenever you get tired of the Northern California cold.

4. Avila Beach

Location: Front Street and San Francisco Street, Avila Beach
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Amenities: Fishing pier, restrooms, lifeguard, picnic tables, barbecues, shops, grass park, basketball court, aquarium, kids play area, tide pools
Dogs allowed: On leash before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m.

Many of the Central Coast’s beach towns are famed for the coastline and Avila Beach is one of our favorites. The city’s main beach is where all the fun happens. Families share a meal on the picnic tables, kids play in the playground, fishermen hope for a good catch, and teens play volleyball and basketball on the courts. Looking for a warm beach vacation in December? Avila Beach should be your top priority. 

The drive to Pfeiffer Beach is well worth it. This hidden beach almost seems like it's out of this world.

5. Pfeiffer Beach

Location: 9100 Sycamore Canyon Road, Big Sur
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Amenities: Rock arch, tide pools, restrooms, dunes
Dogs allowed: On leash 

While Pfeiffer Beach is off the beaten path, it certainly is no secret anymore. The picturesque stretch of sand is one of the most photographed spots in all of California thanks to the Keyhole Arch. This wonderful rock formation allows the last rays of daylight to pass through, resulting in a mesmerizing sight you won’t want to miss. Purple sand covers the north end of the beach, making every bit of it picture-perfect. Besides the magnificent scenery, the winter beach is famous for its tide pools.

Stinson Beach's explosive sunsets and white sand is a dream for many. Just imagine coming here in the winter...

6. Stinson Beach

Location: 3514 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, barbecues, lifeguard
Dogs allowed: No

The best beach vacations in December definitely include surfing on your itinerary. An hour's drive from San Francisco, Stinson Beach is where you’ll find rad waves to ride. The popular stretch is considered one of NorCal’s top beaches that’s also a perfect spot for bouldering. Whenever climbing wears you out, take a dip in the Pacific to cool off and head back to tackling boulders. 

7. Big River Beach

Location: Highway 1 and Big River Road, Mendocino
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Amenities: Trails, driftwood, restrooms
Dogs allowed: On leash

One of Mendocino’s best beaches, Big River Beach, is ideal for kayaking enthusiasts. The beach is the meeting point, where the Big River flows into the Pacific and creates a perfect launching spot for canoes and kayaks. Even though the beach is a good option for swimming during the summer months, trying it in December will probably do more harm than good. Instead, spend your time on the shore watching the waves crash at one of the best vacation spots in December.

One of the most photographed destinations in the Golden State, Glass beach is truly a sight to behold.

8. Glass Beach

Location: West Elm Street and Glass Beach Drive, Fort Bragg
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Amenities: Tide pools, sea glass, restrooms
Dogs allowed: On leash

Glass Beach is a Fort Bragg gem that takes every North Coast vacation to a whole new level. Considered one of the best beach vacations in December, this unique spot has unmatched aesthetics that enchants everyone. Visitors keep returning to its shores time and time again for the sole purpose of admiring the colorful glass scattered across. Others come here to explore the tide pools and their diverse ecosystem. Bring your camera along for perfect photos and remember that collecting sea glass is forbidden. 

As the southern terminus of the Lost Coast Trail, Black Sands Beach offers a glimpse into the rugged natural beauty of Northern California.

9. Black Sands Beach

Location: Beach Road and Humboldt Loop, Whitethorn
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Amenities: Restrooms, picnic tables
Dogs allowed: No

Humboldt County has its own unique, secluded beach that looks like it’s from a post-apocalyptic book. A visit to Black Sands Beach is an otherworldly experience, especially during the winter. The black beauty is where people head to relax, stroll, camp, and backpack. But most importantly, it’s where people come to admire the natural wonders of California. 

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