Among the things we look forward to when planning a beach getaway is the warm weather and water, which the warmest beach in California can offer. While you won’t expect it to be as warm as the beaches in hotter and more humid states like Florida, you’re sure to enjoy several beach activities without worrying about getting cold.
So, what is the warmest beach in California? In terms of water temperature, Newport Beach tops the list of the warmest beach in the state. On the other hand, Belmont Shore Beach is the warmest if we’re talking about the weather, with an average temperature of 84F in summer and 68F in winter.
Understandably, not everyone can travel to these two beaches whenever they need or want to go to a beautiful beach. That’s why I included 10 other amazing beaches in California offering warm, clear, and clean water. We even divided the list into three: the warmest beaches in Southern, Northern, and Central California.
5 Warmest Beaches in Southern California
As the warmest region in the state, you’ll find most of the warmest beaches in Southern California. That said, here are five of my top recommendations when you live or are visiting Southern California:
Newport Beach, Orange County
Newport Beach is one of the most popular destinations in the coastal town of Orange County, especially in September when its water temperature reaches its 72F peak. But it being the warmest beach in California isn’t the only reason locals and tourists flock to the beach.
People of all ages also get to enjoy several activities apart from sunbathing and swimming. Beachgoers can surf, paddleboard, watch whales, ride a yacht, and book a cruise.
There is also a seaside biking area that kids (or even adults) can use to take a break from water and sand activities. Even better, there are parks and a pier where one can walk and take photos or simply enjoy the view.
The beach also doesn’t fall short when it comes to amenities. From restrooms to fire rings and portable barbecue grills, you surely have almost everything you need to enjoy your beach getaway. You’ll also love that there are lifeguards on duty and available beach wheelchairs for seniors and persons with disabilities.
Crescent Bay Beach, Laguna Beach
Ranked number one in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best beaches in California, Laguna Beach is a destination you shouldn’t miss visiting. It has a seven-mile coastline and several beaches and coves to offer.
Crescent Bay Beach is one of them, which is most popular for kayakers because you can see dolphins, whales, sea lions, and other marine life closely in the clearest part of its waters. Beachgoers who love water activities will also love what this dog-friendly beach offers.
You can enjoy paddleboarding, snorkeling, skimboarding, diving, surfing, scuba diving, whale and dolphin watching, and more. There are also available coastal parks, picnic areas, boardwalks, biking and hiking trails, and a playground.
You’ll also find lifeguards on duty and several shower rooms and restrooms. In terms of parking, there’s a metered parking space and limited neighborhood parking areas.
Belmont Shore Beach, Long Beach
Long Beach is the warmest beach in California in terms of daytime temperature, especially in August, and Belmont Shore Beach is one the best beaches along its 11-mile shoreline. The Belmont Shore Beach is located between 55th Place and the Belmont Veteran’s Memorial Pier area, where you can enjoy a good view of the beach.
Unlike the first two beaches that are highly recommended for adventurous beachgoers, Belmont Shore Beach is the perfect spot for those who just need to swim, sunbathe, and do other less-physically straining activities.
The best thing about the beach is that Belmont Pool is also open to the public for swimming. Other activities to enjoy are biking and beach volleyball since there are available, paved biking pathways and sandy volleyball courts.
La Jolla Shores Beach, La Jolla
This mile-long beach stands out among the smaller beaches in La Jolla because it has no rocky areas. You can swim and play in the water without worrying about bumping or stepping into rocks.
What you’ll love the most is that the area for surfing and scuba diving is separated from the swimming area. You can also kayak at the beach’s south end to visit the La Jolla Cave and other water-accessible sites.
Its soft sand is also perfect for sunbathing, having a picnic, and other sand activities like sandcastle making. You’ll also find volleyball areas, fire pits, and boat launches.
Fletcher Cove Beach, Solana Beach
Fletcher Cove Beach, aka Pillbox, is Solana Beach’s main beach, where you can enjoy the sunset, swim, and surf. It’s just small, but it’s the only beach in Solana that doesn’t get completely covered with water during high tide seasons.
The nearby Fletcher Cove Park is an excellent play area for your grandchildren. You can also play basketball with them on the open court. You’ll also find picnic tables where you can place your good spread of food and beverages.
4 Warmest Beaches in Central California
As a more popular agricultural center or metropolitan hub, Central California has more than 100 beaches. That said, here are our top picks if you’re looking for the warmest water or day temperature:
Santa Cruz Main Beach, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Beach is among the beaches you’ll often hear people talk about when it comes to clean, blue Californian waters. It’s why it is almost always full-packed during the summer, so there’s a lifeguard on duty.
Apart from swimming and sunbathing, you can fish, surf, play beach volleyball, and ride a bike. This family-friendly beach offers outdoor showers, restrooms, garages, restaurants, cafes, a pier and boardwalk, and a picnic area.
You can also visit the amusement park, arcade, swimming pool, mini golf area, and bowling area right behind the beach.
East Beach, Santa Barbara
While dogs aren’t allowed on the beach, East Beach has several amenities that you can enjoy. There’s a playground, picnic area, bike path, pier, grass park, trails, walking paths, sandy volleyball courts, cafes, restaurants, restrooms, shower rooms, and rental shops.
There are also lots of water activities that you can do, from kayaking and whale and dolphin watching to boogie boarding and paddle boarding. Beachgoers are also allowed to do metal-detecting activities.
While there are plenty of parking spaces, you must note that it’s pretty scattered around the area. They also get full quickly, especially during the summer.
If you want to spend more than a day, you’ll be glad to know that there are several inns and hotels around the area.
Three Rocks Beach, Half Moon Bay
Just around 30 minutes from San Francisco, Three Rocks Beach is one of the best destinations if you want a quick (or long) escape from the city life. One of the reasons people of all ages love it is the rocks and boulders that serve as fantastic photo backdrops.
Not only that, but it also has tide pools, so you have a different option when it comes to swimming. Like most, if not all, of the warmest beaches in California in this list, Three Rocks Beach has a picnic area and hiking trails.
It’s located close to Half Moon Bay Golf Links, a seaside club where you can play golf but need to pay a fee to do so. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is also nearby, so you can visit the area to have a good view of the scenery if what you see from the vista point isn’t enough for you.
Manresa State Beach, La Selva Beach
A beach that locals and only a few tourists visit, Manresa State Beach is well-maintained and uncrowded.
Despite being less popular than most of the beaches on this list, it has several amenities to enjoy, such as campgrounds, a picnic area, fire pits, shower rooms, restrooms, paved ramps, a picnic area, restaurants, and cafes.
In Manresa State Beach, you can surf, skimboard, watch wildlife, boogie board, play sports, hike, and camp.
3 Warmest Beaches in Northern California
Now, let’s head over to Northern California, a region known for its rugged coastlines. Here are four of the beaches that you should include in your bucket list:
Stinson Beach, Stinson Beach
With an average highest day temperature of 89°F, Stinson Beach is one of the warmest beaches in California that locals love to go to for their morning beach walks, winter swimming needs, and, of course, short summer getaways.
Those who love to surf or learn how to surf will also love Stinson Beach because of its strong waves and rip currents. That’s why it’s always best to check with the lifeguards on duty on whether it’s safe to swim.
Other popular activities include fishing, windsurfing, kayaking, bodyboarding, and beach volleyball. The beach also has great hiking trails, picnic areas, barbecue grilling areas, shower rooms, and restrooms.
During the summer season, when this large public beach is jampacked, you’ll also find a snack bar right next to the lifeguard tower. Perfect for those who’ll be bringing their grandchildren, as they surely will be looking for something to eat and drink, even if you’ve packed food and beverages.
Trinidad State Beach, Trinidad
One of the most popular dog-friendly beaches in NoCal is Trinidad State Beach, thanks to its natural caves, rock formations, and tide pools.
Not only can you snorkel, sunbathe, swim, and surf, but you can also go kayaking, fishing, wildlife watching, and hiking. There are also picnic areas with stoves and tables, restrooms, a boardwalk, and a vista point.
You can also roam around the town and enjoy what it has to offer, such as the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse, so be sure to bring your lightweight but durable binoculars (view on Amazon). Also, don’t forget to stop over at the different galleries, wine shops, and restaurants.
As a remote beach that requires quite a long drive to reach, Drakes Beach is the perfect destination for those who need a quiet getaway. However, you must note that food and drinks can be expensive, so it’s best to pack your own in your durable, handy picnic cooler (view on Amazon).
It has calm waves, and there is a low number of surfers and paddleboarders. There are also breathtaking sandstone cliffs, picnic tables, a lagoon, a lighthouse, a cafeteria, a bookstore, and a restroom.
If you want to see Northern elephant seals, visit Drakes Beach in spring or winter.
It’s Time to Visit the Warmest Beaches in California!
You have several great options when it comes to California beaches with warm water and day temperature. All of the destinations included in this list have all the amenities you need, some with more than just the fundamental ones, to ensure you have a fun-filled and safe beach vacation.
Go ahead and visit one, two, more, or all of these beaches before or during your retirement. But don’t forget your sunblock, beach hat, and beach umbrella (view on Amazon) to protect you from the sun’s rays.