Do It Here…Do It There: Top Beaches on the USA’s West Coast…Top Beaches in Europe
The west coast of the United States has the enviable position of bordering the Pacific Ocean. For many residents of the west coast, a day at the beach is just part of life. Visitors also usually make a jaunt to the beach a priority. These beaches along the west coast of the USA inspire wanderlust and are worth a drive to get to for residents and visitors alike. In today’s article, we’ve listed a collection of the top beaches on the west coast, and then — since your wanderlust will probably continue – the best beaches to visit during a cruise to Europe.
10 Must-Visit Beaches on the West Coast, USA
Mission Beach: This popular beach in San Diego has a bustling boardwalk and is even located right next to an amusement park. Ride the iconic wooden rollercoaster and then spread your beach towel out on the soft sand while you eat some take-out from one of the nearby restaurants. Whether you then wait an hour to go swimming in those tumbling Pacific waves is up to you!
Windansea Beach: Popular with locals, but sometimes unknown to tourists, Windansea Beach is a hidden gem in La Jolla, the northern most community of San Diego. It’s accented by large, long rocks that provide little alcoves for families and beach goers wanting a bit more privacy. The rocky coastline also isn’t as familiar of a sight in southern California and makes for beautiful views as well. Windansea Beach is also just a short jaunt to cafes, shops, and restaurants in the Bird Rock neighborhood of La Jolla.
Laguna Beach: Immediately west of artsy and classy Laguna Beach Village is this beach, which has an open sandy area flanked by cliffs on both sides. Head down behind the cliffs for more private beach lounging spots or stay where the action is in the open area and try your hand at some beach volleyball. Public restrooms and showers are right onsite and you’re a quick walk to food and drinks.
Huntington State Beach: If dreaming of southern California beaches conjures up images of the infamous tv show, Baywatch, then Huntington Beach is where you want to head. A long stretch of soft, pristine sand flanked by blue lifeguard towers hosts a bevy of sunbathers in the summer months. The waves are also ideal for body surfers and boogie boarders with certain areas being popular surf spots.
Santa Monica Beach: Famous for its pier which has an amusement park and restaurants on it, Santa Monica Beach provides both entertainment and relaxation on the sandy shores stretching north and south from the pier. It’s also in walking distance of Santa Monica’s ritzy downtown area.
El Matador Beach: Malibu is worth the drive up the LA coastline as it’s about where California’s beach scenery changes from sandy and flat to wild and rugged. Malibu has several beaches that have impressive rock formations jutting out of the water, but El Matador stands out due to a massively wide rock with a series of tunnels going through its base.
Santa Barbara Beach: Both long and wide, the main beach of Santa Barbara is sandy and perfect for a stroll any time of the day. Santa Barbara is the jewel of California’s central coast. While ambling along the beach, look toward the water for dazzling ocean views, and then turn your head the other way to be impressed by the mountainous skyline framing this pretty beach city.
Cannon Beach: California is most famous for its beaches, but don’t discount its Pacific Northwest neighbors, Oregon and Washington, especially if you head to Cannon Beach in Oregon. Cannon Beach is known for Haystack Rock, a massive triangular shaped rock formation that looms within the ocean close to shore. The beach itself is sandy and long, providing you with ample angles to get the perfect shot of Haystack Rock. Cannon Beach is also close to the town of the same name, which is full of charming side streets and ritzy boutiques and restaurants.
Bandon Beach: Though not quite as famous as Cannon Beach, a road trip through Oregon should also include a stop in the town of Bandon Beach and to its Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, which includes a beach area you won’t want to miss. This beach is home to some cool rock formations; when the tide goes out you can explore around the rocks and also see if you can see the face within the rocks that gives this beach its name. The views surrounding Face Rock State Beach are also worth making it a priority to see, especially around sunset.
Shi Shi Beach: Continuing north into Washington, the hike to Shi Shi Beach is worth the exercise and will have your jaw drop due to both the powerful nature of the sea and the way the nearby Olympic forest (Shi Shi Beach is part of Olympic National Park) comes straight up to the shoreline. You can also get a permit to camp along Shi Shi Beach, making for an especially memorable beach going experience.
5 Must-Visit Beaches in Europe
Nice: The French Riviera is famous for its magnificent views of the Mediterranean and upscale beach vibe, and Nice encompasses all of that with its coastline. Nice also has a lovely, wide boardwalk that takes you alongside both the coastal views and Nice’s Old Town. The beaches of Nice are rocky so come prepared with beach shoes and to maybe pay for the day use to a beach chair.
Santorini Red Beach: Santorini’s volcanic past has created some visually striking beaches. While its several black beaches are neat to see, it’s Santorini’s Red Beach that usually strikes a lasting impression in visitor’s mind. You have to access the beach via a short trailhead that takes you over a pass from which you’ll see the cove of Red Beach stretching out magnificently below you. Make your way down the trail to the beach and sit on the red pebbly beach, created from lava rocks. Behind the beach, a red rock wall stretches into the sky, and lapping at the shores is the Mediterranean Sea in gorgeous turquoise and teal colors.
Mykonos Paradise Beach: The Greek island of Mykonos is home to many beaches, but Paradise Beach stands out thanks to its party vibe and cove-like nature ambiance. Plus, wade out into the warm, clear water and you’ll soon come to an underwater rock wall that just barely breaks the surface. It will make for some instagrammable “walking on water” pictures.
Costa del Sol, Spain: The coastal area west of Malaga, Spain stretches for miles with sandy beaches. Take your pick for one to relax at and soak up the Mediterranean sunshine and sea views. Bring a towel or find a beach lounge chair to rent for the day and then take breaks from the sand to wander into town for some seafood and sangria or a refreshing ice cream cone.
Playa Sa Caleta, Ibiza: The island of Ibiza, Spain is known for its party atmosphere, but if you want some tranquility while on the island head to Playa Sa Caleta. This sandy beach is tucked away behind some rocky cliffs and surrounded by green hills and teal water ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Which beach do you want to head to first? Celebrity Cruises has itineraries that stop nearby all these destinations. Find your perfect itinerary at CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.