You’ll never make it out of Ocean Beach alive, but if you hit La Jolla, just a bit north of San Diego proper, the trip may just be worth your while.
Scoot a little north of San Diego to Encinitas, and specifically the neighborhood of Leucadia. Located at the bottom of picturesque bluffs, it can be a little tough to find, but put in the effort to escape crowds and seek serenity.
Laguna Beach isn’t just the home of Lauren Conrad and Kristin Cavallari -- it plays host to tons of beaches to dip your toes in. Stay in the luxurious Monarch Beach neighborhood and hit Strand Beach, where you can swim in the shadow of California mansions.
Another gem of Laguna, this teeny-tiny beach packs a lot of punch. Capped by cliffs on either side and accessed by a set of stairs popped in the middle of a residential area, go for sunset -- you won’t regret it.
The exceptional views would be enough to draw you to Point Sal, and taking off from Santa Barbara proper doesn’t hurt, either. Take the Point Sal trail down to the strip of white sand -- you’ll have earned your sunbathe.
Skip the boardwalk and Cowell’s and go three miles up the coast to this state park, aptly-named for the rock formation that juts out of the surf. You may even catch a whale, seal or otter sighting!
Located along The Strand, the paved path that extends along the coast from Pacific Palisades to Palos Verdes, Torrance Beach lies between Redondo Beach and Malaga Cove, so you’ll skip the crowds there and get your own spot.
Catch a view of the iconic Bixby Bridge (you know, the one from “Big Little Lies”) while you lay out on this Big Sur beach. Not as populated as its cousin Big Sur beaches, this little cove comes complete with purple-streaked sands and rock formations.