Top 10 Quiet Beaches in Southern California

A Southern California beach vacation has something to offer for all types of travelers! With incredible natural beauty, adventure, and great fun both on and off of the beaches, this part of the Golden State is where you simply cannot get bored. It is indisputable that the best-known beaches are often crowded thanks to the popular national television phenomenon of the last generation as Baywatch and “Beverly Hills 90210, but it is not difficult to find hidden spots. If you seek out relaxing places, make sure to check out these quiet beaches in Southern California!

El Matador State Beach

Found in the rich and beautiful people town of Malibu, El Matador Beach remains among the most incredible beaches in the entire state. It boasts simply stunning views of nearby landscapes as well as incomparable natural rock formations. The site here provides you with secluded coves and little-known areas that deliver great peace and tranquility away from the typically huge tourist crowds that throng on the most famous Southern California beaches.

Couple dancing on El Matador state beach

Free parking is available on the street for those who rise and arrive early. Otherwise, you should expect to shell out $9 for paid parking. A highly enjoyable way to best appreciate the day at El Matador Beach is to bring along a picnic lunch, complete with a beach blanket.

Leo Carrillo State Beach

This one of a kind beach and park was named for prominent actor and conservationist Leo Carrillo who lived from 1880 to 1961. It is an incredible 1.5 miles length of sandy beach ideal for surfing, swimming, windsurfing, fishing in the surf, and sunning on the beach. It also offers coastal caves, tide pools, and great reefs to explore with snorkels and mask gear when the ocean is calm, There are also significant camping facilities in the form of campgrounds which are beautifully shaded by enormous sycamore trees.

Leo Carrillo State Beach - California

If you like hiking, bring your best hiking shoes along. After a morning on the beach, you can hit one of three popular hiking trails like Leo Carrillo Beach Trail (moderately difficult), Nicholas Flat Trail (difficult), or the Yellow Hill Trail (easy).

Related Post: Wheelchair accessible beaches in Southern California

1000 Steps Beach

The best news about the Thousand Steps Beach is that there are really only 230 steps leading down to (and then back up from) the sandy beach. Be warned that they are very steep as you come down from the famed Pacific Coast Highway. The steps are well-shaded by significant trees which overhang the steep path. If you endure the climb down, then your reward will be a simply spectacular vista of the Pacific Ocean.

Beach volleyball - Thousand Steps Beach

Down on the beach, it is encircled by stark cliffs, yet the sandy expanse goes on and on. Activities that prove to be popular here include sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. Visitors can also enjoy playing volleyball on the particularly soft sand.

The downside to this incredible and unique beach is that when you are tired from the day, you will still have the 230 steps to climb back up this time. It is not for the faint of heart or out of shape, though the difficult access does help to explain why this is surely one of the least crowded beaches in Southern California.

Crescent Bay Beach

Crescent Bay Beach in Orange County shelters an impressive cove that is roughly a quarter of a mile long. It lies where Cliff Drive intersects with the North Coast Highway. This beach boasts a beautiful sandy expanse covered in several rocky places to the south and north ends. It is aptly named as both the sea lions and seals alike stretch on the rock on a regular basis.

Snorkeling - Crescent bay beach

This quiet beach in Southern California is often called a best spot for lovers of tide pools and body surfing. The views are as epic as they come from a beach too. Towering cliffs at the north and south ends are pock-marked with caves. Usually the water here is calm and clear offering ideal conditions for snorkeling.

An added bonus here for nature lovers is the Crescent Bay Point Park that lies just above the bay and beach up on the overlooking bluff. You can enjoy still more stunning views of the shore line of southern Orange County and the ocean from there. There are paved walkways along the park perimeter that are carefully railed to prevent anyone from accidentally falling down the steep drop on to the beach below.

Cameo Shores Beach

One of the best-kept secret beaches in Southern California is called Cameo Shores Beach. This expanse of sand lies beneath the Cameo Shores community of Newport Beach in California. It is technically a public beach, yet access directly to it is blocked by the encircling fence and gate whose keys are only held by the residents of Cameo Shores. Getting in here requires that you walk down from the rock strewn shoreline of the adjacent Little Corona Del Mar Beach. This is the main reason why this spot remains one of the best quiet beaches in Southern California.

Ocean arch - Cameo shores beach

The best time to come here is when the tide has gone out when colorful, bright tide pools become exposed. Walking down from Little Corona will have you passing by the Arch Rock that boasts many birds for watching.

There is also Cliff Island nearby the Cameo Shores Beach south end. Summer months find this rock occupied by brave local children who jump from the cliffs to swim in the waiting waters below. It is a dangerous activity unless you are with a local who is experienced enough to judge whether or not the tide is high enough for safe jumping. On the island, there is a natural and beautiful rock arch that stretches over the middle of it called Ocean Arch.

Windandsea Beach

Windandsea Beach is certainly one of the best hidden beaches in Southern California today. It lies at the conclusion of Nautilus Street in the city of La Jolla. This beach has a highlight in its little sandy expanse that remains beloved by families bringing children as well as by surfers. Swimming though is not recommended here as the huge rocks in the ocean are quite dangerous.

People at sunset Windandsea Beach - California

In winter time, this beach appears strikingly different as the winter storms will blow nearly all the sand away from this beach. Yet it still is striking with its many sandstone rocks minus the sand. A huge number of wedding parties in the area come here to take pictures. Thanks to the incomparable sunsets the beach boasts, it is not hard to understand why. Be warned that the beach is so natural that no public facilities of any kind exist here, except for the lifeguard stands housing the lifeguards who are on Baywatch duty in summer months.

Black’s Beach

Black’s Beach in St. Gregorio is one of the quiet beaches in Southern California because it is hard to reach, thanks to the bluffs and rocks that encircle it. It is definitely worth the treacherous trek; however visitors should be careful about bringing children to this secluded location between the Pacific Ocean and the Torrey Pines Bluffs near San Diego. This is also a popular surfing location that comes with fantastic views as well as its rich, colorful history..

Blacks beach - San Diego

Morro Strand State Beach

Morro Strand State Beach turns out to be a park with coastal frontage that delivers hugely on fantastic picnic sites. The beach boasts a three-mile-long expanse of sand that connects the northern and southern entrances of the park to the beach. Popular pastimes here include jogging, windsurfing, fishing, and kite flying.

Surfer at Morro beach

For a good overnight activity here, there are RV sites and family tent campsites that you can rent, along with facilities that include outdoor showers and restrooms. You can also go horseback riding during the day. Getting to the beach is a matter of driving down Highway 1 until you reach two miles south of Cayucos. If you are looking for quiet beaches in Southern California that offer activities for the whole family, consider visiting Morro Strand State Beach!

Escondido Beach

Escondido Beach is yet another Malibu-based hidden jewel to the east of Point Dume. There is a good reason for why it is quiet and peaceful here. The parking situation is practically non-existent.

Escondido Beach - Malibu

Should you be fortunate enough to locate a parking place, then you are in for a real treat in tranquility. The optimal entrance to the beach lies down the lengthy public access stairway that is found to the immediate west of Geoffrey’s Malibu.

Jalama Beach County Park

Jalama Beach County Park runs along the Jalama Creek’s mouth in the historic site of Chumash Indian settlement called Halama. Today it is a highly popular county park that boasts campgrounds as well as such day facilities as the secluded beach. Campers can enjoy RV camping or tent camping as well as renting one of seven available cabins that you can reserve.

Jalama Beach County Park

The facilities at the park are pretty impressive. The camping store offers beer, wine, food, and various daily needs. There is also a renowned restaurant next to the store called Jalama Beach Grill. This boasts its World Famous Jalama Burgers as well as other enjoyable meals offered at early dinner time or for breakfast and lunch meals.

The Jalama Creek here flows naturally beneath the train trestle before pooling up to the park’s north side. Many birds can be seen here. This public beach extends below the cliffs to the north by Vandenberg Air Force Base and to the south before the Cojo-Jalama Ranch

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