The Emptiest Southern California Beach

by Ben

Question: What is the emptiest beach in Southern California? Table Rock?

Answer: Table Rock Beach in south Laguna Beach would certainly be among the least crowded Southern California beaches. I can't say with any certainly which beach would be absolutely, positively the emptiest, but I can list some places where you're most likely to avoid the crowds.

At the risk of stating the obvious, it makes a big difference if you go during the week, since the crowds really hit on weekends.

Here are some suggestions, listed from north to south:

  • Malibu: Just a small strip of land nestled between the mountains and the sea, Malibu features some very scenic beaches. To avoid crowds, try Nicholas Canyon County Beach or El Matador State Beach

  • Long Beach: You'd think an urban beach like this would always be crowded, but I've observed long stretches of nearly deserted beach on a lovely day in June -- on a weekday, of course. It's a long sandy beach that runs for miles, so you can just drive along East Ocean Blvd. until you find a likely spot. There's free parking along the street, and stairways to the beach.

  • Crystal Cove State Park: This large nature park features picnic areas and trails on the bluff, and steep access ramps to the beaches. There's a large parking lot and an entrance fee.

  • Laguna Beach: The beaches in south Laguna tend to be less crowded, probably because they're less accessible. Besides Table Rock Beach, you can try West Street Beach or Thousand Steps Beach (entrance at the foot of 9th Ave.).

  • Capistrano Beach Park: This beach south of Dana Point is far enough away from the action to attract fewer crowds. There's plenty of parking (for a fee) and easy access to the beach.

  • San Diego: Coronado Beach is one of the loveliest beaches in California as well as being one of the least crowded. It's a very long, white sandy beach, so there's room to roam. Torrey Pines State Beach (north of La Jolla) is another good choice.


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