The 10 Most Beautiful Beaches On The West Coast

By Leah Freeman-Haskin


From its laid-back vibe to its stunning natural beauty, people have been flocking to the picturesque shorelines of the left coast for centuries. Here are some of the best beaches from Washington to SoCal and what makes them so remarkable.

Coronado Beach, San Diego, CA

This long, idyllic beach is a postcard-worthy destination where the sand literally sparkles thanks to mineral mica and the nearly always present sunshine. 

Cannon Beach, OR

This small coastal city in northwest Oregon is home to one of its finest coastal beaches. Voted one of America’s best beach towns by National Geographic, Cannon Beach blends remarkable natural areas with a charming village by the sea. 

Cannon Beach | Deb Snelson | Getty Images

Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, WA

Though most head to the beach to simply bask in the sunshine and swim in the ocean, Rialto Beach offers visitors the option to camp and hike through Mora Campground in the Olympic National Park. Its rocky coastline provides a stunning backdrop and the perfect place to end an active day with a breathtaking sunset. 

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Carmel Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

The truly majestic scenery at Carmel Beach makes it worthy of the title, “One of America’s Top Beach Towns”. This beach has become one of the most iconic spots on California’s Central Coast and it’s easy to see why. 

Carmel Beach | chinaface | Getty Images

La Jolla Cove, San Diego, CA

La Jolla Cove offers some of the best snorkeling in California due to its protected waters. This picturesque cove is nestled among the quant town of La Jolla and is surrounded by cliffs and crystal waters that are reminiscent of European beach towns. 

Butterfly Beach, Montecito, CA

Butterfly Beach is located along Channel Drive and is a local favorite from morning walks to evening sunsets. It gets its name due to the abundant amount of butterflies that are drawn to the flowers lining the nearby bike paths. 

El Matador Beach, Malibu, CA

Just a few miles north of Los Angeles, along the Pacific Coast Highway, El Matador is a hidden gem. Only accessible via a steep decline on makeshift stairs, it is one of the few beaches in the area that isn’t completely over populated all year round. Huge rock formations jut out of the waters creating caves and natural arches that will take your breath away. 

El Matador | Joseph Bautista / EyeEm | Getty Images

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Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, CA

Occasionally, this beach boasts purple sand, but that’s not the only reason why it makes our list. Located well off the beaten path and at the end of a two-mile long winding road, this beach has an incredible natural arch called Keyhole Rock, and at sunset, the light passes through creating magnificent views. 

Rockaway Beach, Oregon

Rockaway Beach is a city in Oregon where the mountains meet the sea. It is well known for having seven miles of sandy shoreline which is why it is one of the most popular vacation destinations of the Oregon coast.

Rockaway Beach | jeremyborkat | Getty Images

Salmon Creek Beach, Sonoma County, CA

This lesser known beach has rugged coastlines and quiet coves that draw suffers along its North Beach and has nearly two miles of sand dunes on its South Beach. You can often find seals bathing in the sunshine along its shores, adding to the majestic scenery. 

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