Best California Beach for Swimming

by D
(Riverside, CA)

Question: Which beach in California has the best swimming water and sand?

Answer: Southern California has many good beaches for swimming. What you want to look for are places with lifeguards and sandy gently sloping beaches. Rip currents are common, and some of the best beaches for swimming and surfing are prone to them. That's why lifeguards are a must if you're going into the water.

Beaches that are relatively uncrowded are certainly preferable, but you can avoid crowds by going mid-week, or during the off-season. While the water, even in Southern California, can never really be considered warm, it will be warmest in August and September (averaging between 61 and 70 degrees F). And those are the months when the crowds begin to thin.

Here are my top picks for swimming beaches:

  1. Coronado Beach: The "island" of Coronado features beautiful white sandy beaches, which are consistently among the top 10 rated by Dr. Beach. They also have the virtue of being less crowded than other great San Diego beaches.

  2. Huntington Beach: There are three beaches here: Bolsa Chica State Beach to the north, Huntington City Beach (which includes the pier) and Huntington State Beach to the south. The best places for swimming are Bolsa Chica and Huntington State Beach.

  3. Oceanside City Beach: This beach in northern San Diego County features a long sandy shelf and gentle surf, making it a good family swimming beach. There's plenty of sandy beach, parking, and elbow room.

Before you go, check the water quality at Heal the Bay and look over these beach safety tips from NOAA.


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