The summer season is synonymous with sun and breathtaking beaches. Along the West Coast of the United States, you can find a rich variety of stunning beaches that provide excellent opportunities for sunbathing, surfing, or just lounging in the coastal breeze.

With so many options, it’s tough to select the perfect beach for your summer vacation. To help you make the decision, here’s our roundup of the top West Coast beaches.

1. La Jolla Shores, California

Located north of San Diego, La Jolla Shores is an exquisite beach perfect for a luxurious, relaxing vacation. This mile-long stretch of soft sand is surrounded by towering cliffs that provide a picturesque backdrop. La Jolla Shores offers a variety of activities, including swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, as well as nearby shops and restaurants that cater to a discerning clientele.

2. Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach is famed for its captivating beauty and enthralling seaside charm. The iconic Haystack Rock, standing 235 feet tall, is an unmistakable landmark and an awe-inspiring sight. You’ll find art galleries and boutiques lining the quaint streets, along with a plethora of high-quality seafood joints. During low tide, visitors can enjoy tidal pool explorations, while beachcombers and families take to the soft sands for kite flying and sandcastle building.

3. El Matador State Beach, California

If you’re seeking a secluded and serene beach, El Matador State Beach in Malibu is the ultimate choice. This hidden treasure features rocky shores, sea caves, and beautiful azure waters. With its colossal rock formations and pristine white sand, El Matador State Beach is a perfect spot for photography, picnicking, and sunbathing. Keep in mind that the beach is accessible via a steep staircase, so be prepared to navigate the climb.

4. Ruby Beach, Washington

Situated within the Olympic National Park, Ruby Beach boasts an incredible combination of sea stacks, lush vegetation, and a rugged beachfront. The twisting driftwood that accentuates its landscape lends it a unique, wild quality that you won’t find at many other beaches. At low tide, you’ll uncover tide pools filled with sea stars and anemones, while sunsets paint the sky with breathtaking hues of orange and pink.

5. Baker Beach, California

Located just north of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Baker Beach offers visitors a unique panorama of the bridge and the bay. The one-mile stretch of sand is ideal for picnics, sunbathing, and beachcombing. Keep in mind that a section of the beach is designated clothing-optional — families visiting with young children might opt for an alternative beach.

6. Pfeiffer Beach, California

Tucked away in Big Sur, Pfeiffer Beach is another hidden gem that’s often overlooked. The striking purple sand, sculptural rock formations, and the famous Keyhole Arch make this beach an unforgettable destination. While the steep, narrow road leading to Pfeiffer Beach can be challenging to navigate, the effort is rewarded with unmatched serenity and an Instagram-worthy landscape.

Each of these beaches on the West Coast offers something unique for the perfect summer vacation, whether that be stunning views, aquatic activities, or peaceful seclusion. Pick your favorite, pack your sunscreen, and let the sun and surf welcome you to an unforgettable West Coast experience.

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