Have you been searching for the perfect sunset?
Maybe you just want to find the best view in America? It's time you look no further than California’s State Route 1, more commonly known as the Pacific Coast Highway.
The PCH runs 655 miles up and down the coastline and offers a bevy of sightseeing possibilities. To help plan your most memorable trip, here are seven must-stop beaches to explore this summer.
1. Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur
Stretch your legs while treating your eyes to the Insta-worthy views found in this state park. Two hours south of San Jose and a part of the Los Padres National Forest, Pfeiffer Beach offers a combination of breathtaking scenery, relaxing vibes and friendly beachgoers. The surrounding area, commonly known as Big Sur, also offers many points of interest. McWay Falls, Bixby Bridge and the Henry Miller Memorial Library each will lend a lasting impression on your coastal journey!
2. Glass Beach, Fort Bragg
There are multiple sea glass beaches in California, but this one shines with a beauty that escapes words! When, not if, you come, there are two guidelines to follow. Rule one: wear shoes. Even though the glass is beautifully worn down by the waves and sands, there’s always the chance your foot might snag a freshly cracked glass pebble. Rule two: Put down the camera and enjoy the beauty in the moment. You might even get to see some of the rarer blue glass from old apothecary bottles!
3. Monterey State Beach, Monterey
You thought I’d forgotten beaches are for sunbathing, didn’t you? Not to worry, I found you the perfect spot! Monterey State Beach is gorgeous and has everything you want: sun, sand and water you can dip your toes into! But because of the location, don’t expect scorching hot temperatures. The warmest average high doesn’t come until September, and that’s at a comfortable 70. That fact alone shouldn’t deter you. Instead, turn up the heat in a blazing tankini and an easy-to-pair core bottom.
4. Pismo State Beach, Pismo
Keep your suit handy and be ready for another gorgeous day on the beach at Pismo! Whether you’re beach bumming, catching a wave or fishing from the pier, you’ll love the view across the horizon, as well as the abundance of wildlife. (The area is world-famous for its clams and monarch butterfly garden!) Tired of bumming by the beach? No worries; throw on a colorful cover-up and hit the boardwalk for some shopping. No matter what you love, Pismo Beach has something for you!
5. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz
Sometimes the classics are the best. Tried and true, Santa Cruz knows how to do the boardwalk. Between the rides and special events, there’s always something to do! You can enjoy the beach and people watching for free, or purchase tickets for the variety of rides offered by California’s oldest surviving amusement park. Either way you choose to go, make sure you check out the city’s events calendar while you’re in town. They offer everything from benefit concerts and movie nights to chili cook-offs and car shows. Who knows what adventures await!
6. Carbon Beach, Malibu
Nicknamed “Billionaire’s Beach,” Carbon Beach has beautiful sand and a bountiful coastline. Even if you hit it at high tide, you’re sure to find some dry sand to relax on. With beautiful waters, a great coastline view and easy access from the road, you can’t go wrong. The impressive architecture of the surrounding beachfront properties only adds to the awesomeness that is “Billionaire’s Beach.” Whether you’re into relaxing or are ready to dip into the water, you’ll definitely want to tie on a flattering bikini and pay Carbon Beach a visit!
7. Mission Beach, San Diego
Did you really think you were going to get away without visiting another fabulous boardwalk? Think again. While the PCH doesn’t technically go this far south, you’d be out of your mind not to visit Mission Beach in San Diego. From the sand, soak up the sun by watching the surfers or skaters do their thing, or even join in on a game of beach volleyball. For an extra boost to your heart rate, hop on the roller coaster for a beachside thrill!
Now, grab your favorite summertime swimwear and tell us which one of these PCH beaches you most want to visit!