It’s no secret that California wins the award for some of the best beaches in the country. From the famous celebrity-battered sands of Malibu all the way north to the idyllic beaches of Carmel-by-the-Sea, there’s nothing like a summer vacation by the ocean.
The iconic Highway 1 provides the perfect route for a road trip where you can enjoy epic mountain and ocean views in just one day. Whether you’re escaping the East Coast winters or just craving a seaside getaway, there are dozens of stunning resorts dot the Pacific Coast Highway, offering luxurious accommodations and amenities ideal for a vacation getaway. ‘a weekend.
Here are the 10 best beachfront hotels in California worth checking out.
Newport Beach’s crown jewel, The Resort at Pelican Hill is a dreamy seaside paradise with Italian-inspired architecture that will take you to Rome. The spacious and bright bungalows with wooden details feature a cream-colored palette, ultra-private patio, and luxury amenities like a fireplace to make you feel right at home.
Take in panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean from The Coliseum Pool & Grill terrace, where you will also have the best view of the magnificent circular swimming pool – one of the largest in the world. For more relaxation, reserve a private cabana on the patio and enjoy light bites served at the restaurant, such as fish tacos and avocado and crab toast.
After several changes of ownership, the contemporary beachfront resort, formerly known as Monarch Beach Resort, is now owned by Hilton hotels. This laid-back luxury hotel has a relaxed atmosphere but doesn’t compromise on exceptional service, as you would expect from a Waldorf Astoria property.
The well-appointed rooms on the upper floors offer balconies where the ocean can be seen, and some downstairs rooms have their own fireplaces for warmth. Spend a day on the pristine 18-hole golf course with ocean views or relax by one of the three swimming pools, including an adult pool.
For dinner, chef Michael Mina brings his culinary skills to Bourbon steak, a modern American steakhouse, or take the hotel trolley to the private oceanfront restaurant at Monarch Bay Beach Club. In town, Dana Point recently hosted Glass by, a classic seafood restaurant that offers a full menu of raw and cooked fish.
Relax and enjoy incredible views of the Pacific Ocean at this 78-acre coastal hideaway. The sprawling Spanish-style property includes three infinity pools, six restaurants, and a 42,000-square-foot spa.
Start your evening at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara with sunset cocktails at Angel Oak, an upscale steakhouse with ocean views, and an impressive wine selection spanning a 12,000-bottle cellar. The bedrooms have a large bath and patio doors to a patio. Some garden rooms also have a private fireplace perfect for making s’mores.
The Manchester Grand Hyatt is located in downtown San Diego, within walking distance of the Gaslamp District, restaurants and many attractions. It’s hard to miss the beachfront hotel that overlooks the harbor, so be sure to book a room that faces the bay for the best views.
Head to the adults-only rooftop pool that offers rooftop views or the family pool on the fourth floor for those traveling with children. Venture off the property for a healthy but tasty meal at Coffee Parakeet in Little Italy, which serves colorful salads, macrobiotic bowls, and tons of caffeinated drinks you never knew existed.
At University Heights, Madison serves eclectic dishes with a Mediterranean twist, including a raised plate of shish kebabs and must-see salmon kebabs.
Nestled on the coastal cliffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, this suburban oasis offers the ultimate sanctuary with private bungalows, residential-style casitas, and villas spread across 102 acres. Just 30 minutes from Los Angeles, Terranea is ideal for travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax in a quiet retreat.
A mix of casual and upscale dining options are available, many with endless ocean views. Enjoy an outdoor seaside workout offered daily or choose from one of four pools for a dip (look for the 140-foot waterslide at the resort’s main pool).
Located just yards from the ocean, this oceanfront hideaway embodies the Southern California spirit with classic cottages that resemble private residences. Soak up the sun by the hotel’s swimming pool or take a dip at the beach. Savor al fresco dining in the courtyard of 1 Pico, which celebrates California cuisine and local farmers’ markets.
Rent one of the hotel’s bikes and cycle (or walk) to famous Venice Beach just minutes away. If you are feeling adventurous, continue driving south approximately 12 miles to beautiful Manhattan Beach. Have a farm-to-table lunch and sip handcrafted cocktails at Manhattan Beach Post – that is, if you can get a reservation.
Located on the legendary Pacific Coast Highway, the Malibu Beach Inn is home to 47 oceanfront guest rooms and offers easy access to the exclusive expanse of Carbon Beach, also known as Billionaire’s Beach. Coastal-inspired rooms are designed with neutral tones reflecting upscale living and barefoot luxury.
Comfortable bedrooms are well-equipped with Smeg kettles, Nespresso machines, luxury Italian linens, and Bamford toiletries. The Carbon Beach Club is the hotel’s only on-site restaurant, which overlooks the Malibu Pier terrace. Other popular restaurants nearby include Nobu, which attracts a celebrity clientele and Malibu Farm Restaurant serving casual farm-to-table meals.
Golfers will love The Inn at Spanish Bay at Pebble Beach, a popular golf destination in Monterey. If the stunning ocean views and the 18-hole championship golf course aren’t what brought you here, then maybe Roy’s at Pebble Beach, a bustling Hawaiian fusion restaurant with seafood costs as the main objective.
Relax in one of the nine fireplaces on the outdoor patio and enjoy live music in the Lobby Lounge every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. The resort is located on the picturesque 17 miles by car which offers spectacular vantage points, golf course views and access to other outdoor attractions like Lone Cypress, Bird Rock and more.
Hotel La Valencia in La Jolla is a Mediterranean-inspired gem that combines classic beauty with relaxed elegance. The distinctive pink-colored building nicknamed the ‘Pink Lady’ has become an icon in La Jolla with enough charm to make you feel like you are in Europe.
The hotel is pet-friendly and offers classic and vintage rooms that have been recently redesigned, adding more modern elements. Family travelers will appreciate the spacious villas with private balconies with direct access to La Jolla Cove.
The hotel is a short walk from downtown La Jolla, which has plenty of upscale shops and restaurants, but most of your time will likely be spent enjoying the resort and its amenities.
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay perched on a cliff is the Bay Area’s only beachfront luxury resort. The luxurious spa and golf resort is a 30-minute drive from San Francisco and provides the perfect setting for a romantic getaway.
Adventure seekers will appreciate the variety of recreational activities offered on and off the property, including horseback riding, sea kayaking, biking, whale watching and surfing. Reserve a room with an ocean view and outdoor fireplace. It’s equipped with Adirondack chairs that will call your name in the summer.