Three California beaches ranked in the Top 25 beaches in the U.S. Visit now before the summer crowds

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The results are in. Three California beaches ranked in the Top 25 beaches in the U.S. These much-loved beaches are loved by both locals and travelers alike. These beaches are all within 4 hours travel time from Los Angeles. Keep reading to find out which are the top 3 beaches in California, as ranked in the 2022 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards.
James Lee on Unsplash, Moonstone Beach.

TripAdvisor readers vote on their favorite travel experiences worldwide in the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards every year. They vote on their favorite hotels, travel experiences, national parks, travel attractions, etc. Additionally, each category includes regional listings. Not surprisingly to residents, California starred in many of the categories.

The Top 3 Beaches in California, as ranked on TripAdvisor.

And the winner is... Moonstone Beach, California

This stunning beach in Cambria on the Central Coast of California ranked No. 4 in the Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice awards Top 25 Beaches in the United States.

A spectacular drive (only 4 hours travel time north of Los Angeles) to Moonstone Beach makes it a perfect place for a long weekend vacation.

With a great view of the sunset, the smell of the fresh ocean air, and the sounds of the crashing waves, this rugged beach will make you feel like you have no worries.

This stunning beach offers many tide pools you can explore and a chance to fossick for moonstone, jasper, and jade.

Traveler highlights include Friends Of The Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop, where you can get information on where to see the elephant seals in their natural habitat and the 1.4-mile Moonstone Beach boardwalk trail. The trail is one of Cambria's top travel activities. The boardwalk hugs the ocean and offers scenic ocean views and a chance to see birds and wildlife.

Also, you could spend the day exploring nearby Hearst San Simeon State Park. This scenic California state park offers a 3.3-mile trail with beautiful views through riparian forests and coastal wetlands.

Moonstone Beach offers a perfect long weekend getaway from Los Angeles. There are accommodation options ranging from camping to ocean view resorts and motels. There are lovely restaurants providing water views and outdoor seating.

Plus, nearby vineyards provide the chance to spend the afternoon tasting Californian wines.

La Jolla Cove, California

San Diego residents will not be surprised to see that La Jolla Cove is in the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards Top 25 beaches in the United States.

If you are from Los Angeles, travel time from Los Angeles is only 2 hours and 45 minutes. Make sure to travel down the Pacific Coast Highway which offers many wonderful views and is one of our favorite road trips from Los Angeles.

Ranking in at No. 9 out of the 25 top beaches In the U.S, the gorgeous La Jolla Cove in San Diego features calm water, making it an ideal spot for swimming. Incidentally, last year La Jolla ranked No.14 in the awards, so not only has it cemented its place in the top beaches in California. But this San Diego favorite has moved up in the rankings.

The walking trail along the coast offers some of the most impressive ocean and wildlife views. The ample wildlife includes pelicans, cormorants, and sea birds. But the highlight is the seals and sea lions. The California sea lions can be found in the area and on the bluff.

You will find hundreds of seals at La Jolla's Children's Pool, a short walk from La Jolla Cove. You can watch them lazing and swimming from the plaza above the cove.

Besides exploring the beaches, snorkelers and divers love the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park. This marine reserve offers a variety of marine life, reefs, and caverns.

There are many other travel attractions in San Diego's La Jolla, such as Scripps Pier, one of the world's largest working piers, walking trails, shopping, and restaurants.

Dining out along this part of the coast, is a treat for all the senses, as many cafes and restaurants offer views of the ocean and coastline. Some offer views of the seals and sea lions too.

Love dining out with a water view? Here are the top-ranked restaurants with water views and outdoor seating in San Diego, California. Read next!

"We wisely visited La Jolla Cove on a weekday morning when we were able to find a parking spot. It is without a doubt one of the most scenic areas in San Diego. The walk along the coast was pleasant with great scenery. The highlight was being able to check out the sea lions up close with the pelicans flying around them." - Thelonious22, Los Angeles, TripAdvisor, Dec. 2021.

Coronado Beach, California

San Diego ranked two beaches in the top 25 beaches in the United States, two years in a row. Coronado Beach is another beach that ranked in last year's awards.

Up to 3 hours drive from Los Angeles, San Diego's Coronado Beach offers a long sandy beach, a boardwalk, tide pools, and beach swimming.

Coronado beach is on an island. However, you can drive there via The Strand, a 7-mile land strip from Imperial Beach, or across the 2.12-miles long San Diego-Coronado Bridge.

Though for those who don't want to deal with looking for parking, you can take a 15-minute boat ride across the bay to Coronado from Broadway Pier. The boat trip is a fun travel activity.

There are many bike rental shops on the island offering rentals. You could spend the day sightseeing by bike, and Coronado has over 15 miles of dedicated bike paths.

Alternatively, there are tours available that take you to the highlights, including the historic areas of Coronado and the grand homes.

Pop into the trendy Orange Avenue for boutique shopping and restaurants.

Don't miss a visit to Hotel del Coronado. This iconic San Diego, California hotel, built in 1888, is a National Historic Landmark with majestic Victorian architecture, modern luxuries, and magnificent views.

Worth mentioning is that Santa Monica Beach did not make it to the top 25 beaches in the U.S this year. However, this Los Angeles beach remains a favorite for many visitors to Los Angeles. This Los Angeles, California beach has been voted one of the top beaches in the United States in 2021.

Do you have a favorite beach to recommend to News Break readers and us? Please kindly share in the comments.

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Travel writers reporting on NewsBreak to help you improve your lifestyle and give you ideas on how to get more adventure and travel in your life. Having traveled to over 25 states in the U.S. (& lived in 3), our goal is to find interesting & fun things for you to do. Follow us for inspiring stories.


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