Even though this winter has been unseasonably warm, we’re still finding ourselves lost in California dreams. That’s why we’re taking a virtual tour of Southern California’s best beaches. Flip through the slideshow above and see why we love these top five:
Laguna Beach. The former hit MTV show Laguna Beach may have propelled this spot into pop-culture knowledge, but this beach’s beauty has outlasted the teen drama’s cancellation. The city boasts seven miles of Pacific coastline, where both locals and visitors flock to surf and explore the coves and tide pools.
La Jolla Shores Beach. Also referred to as Scripps (after the nearby Scripps Institute of Oceanography), this beach is known for its pier that goes by the same name. During the day, families set up shop with umbrellas and beach toys; and when the sun goes down, bonfire parties heat up along the sand.
Hermosa Beach. Hermosa takes beach volleyball seriously — in fact, it is home to the Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame. If you’re feeling competitive, hit the sand and post up at one of the beach’s 71 courts, which operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
Newport Beach. It has been featured in shows like The O.C. and Gilligan’s Island, but Newport’s also known for being one of cleanest beaches in the country. Frolic on its more than 10 miles of sand, and be sure to stop at Newport Pier. This spot along Balboa Peninsula features warm, shallow water and is popular with boogie and skim boarders.
Coronado Central Beach. The strip along Ocean Boulevard features exquisite houses and calm waters. The most gleaming attraction is the red-turreted Hotel del Coronado, which dates back to 1888. Marilyn Monroe spent time on the beach and the hotel while filming Some Like It Hot. Fish, explore or make like Marilyn and just relax on the sand.
Photos courtesy of iStock and Cliff Wassmann, ddbell, hermosawave, Steve Baxter and Ron Thomas