21 Secluded Beaches in Southern California You Must Visit

lifeguard tower 23 on one of the secluded beaches in southern california

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California has some of the best beaches in the world, but they can get pretty crowded. Check out these secluded beaches in southern California if you want to enjoy the amazing beaches without all the people.

Our List of 21 Secluded Beaches in Southern California

A rock outcropping in secluded beaches in southern california

Whether you’re surfing, swimming, relaxing or taking the family on a trip to the Cali coast, you’ll find that the more secluded beaches in Southern California are the ones to visit. You’ll find a little more room to spread out your sand free beach blanket, set up your tent and soak up the sun. If you’re surfing, you know it can get a little hairy when you’re sharing the waves with more than a handful of fellow surfers. When surfing off of the more secluded beaches in Southern California, you’ll have a little more room to paddle out and less competition to grab a wave.

1. Leo Carillo State Beach

One of our twenty-one secluded beaches in Southern California is Leo Carillo State Beach, which is part of the state park of the same name. There are a mile-and-a-half of beaches where you can swim, surf, fish, and walk or run. It is easy to get to the beach as it is just off the Pacific coast highway.

2. El Matador State Beach

One of the least crowded state beaches is El Matador Beach. It is part of Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach by Malibu. To get to the beach, you have to follow a trail and stairs down to it, which is why it is a quiet beach.

3. Seal Beach

Seal Beach is a hidden gem between Huntington Beach and Long Beach. It is a beach lover’s paradise as there are great waves to surf, soft sand to relax on, a pier to walk to, and even a grassy park where you can picnic.

4. Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay beach is the northernmost beach on this list, as it is more in central California near San Francisco than in southern California, but still worth mentioning. You have to walk down a steep trail to get to it, but it is well worth it to avoid the crowded beaches and enjoy this secret beach.

5. Fletcher Cove at Solana Beach

Fletcher Cove is a cool place to hang out, especially at low tide when there is a lot of space to spread out with little people. It is north of San Diego, and you will find it to be one of the more secluded beaches in Southern California, especially if you visit the viewing deck.

6. Imperial Beach

Another hidden beach in San Diego is Imperial Beach. It is a great beach for wildlife lovers as there are a lot of bird species that live here and are easy to spot. You can also surf, fish, walk and watch the sunset from the beach.

7. Ponto State Beach

Another nearby beach is South Ponto Beach, on the south end of South Carlsbad State Beach. It is cool because it is one of the widest beaches in the country, but it also has some secluded spots among the sand dunes. The beach is home to surf-ready waves, beach volleyball, and many surfing events.

8. Pinnacle Gulch Beach

Pinnacle Gulch Beach is one of the least crowded beaches, as it takes a mile-long walk along the trail to get to it. You will find only locals here, and you want to make sure not to come during high tide, as the small beach gets covered up and you will not be able to enjoy it.

9. Pfeiffer Beach

You only have to take a short hike to get to the white sands of Pfeiffer Beach. You will find the sandy cove on one half of the beach and cool rock formations surrounding the beach.

10. Carmel Meadows Beach

Carmel Meadows Beach is another pick of our list of secluded beaches in Southern California that you will find much more peaceful than the nearby beaches. There is free street parking by the beach, so you will have no trouble getting here. At the remote beach, you can hike and relax, but it is not good for swimming since this part of the Pacific shoreline is very dangerous.

11. Black Sands Beach

Black Sands Beach is another beach closer to San Francisco in northern California, but again, it is well worth the trip here, and it is technically in the southern half of California. Of all the beaches in California, this one might have the best view since you can see the Golden Gate Bridge.

12. Marshall’s Beach

Another low key beach in the area is Marshall’s Beach. You have amazing views of the Pacific Ocean from the beach, and you can even spend some time hiking and bird watching here. It is also a private beach, in the sense that sometimes people choose to wear their birthday suits here, so it might not be a good beach for kids.

13. Torrance Beach

Torrance Beach is great if you want to have a big beach day full of swimming, surfing, scuba diving, fishing, and sand volleyball. There are also a lot of small shops and bike paths nearby.

14. Butterfly Beach

Butterfly Beach is one of those beaches with year round perfect weather. You can kayak, swim, look out for dolphins, or just lounge on the white sand.

15. Victoria Beach

Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach is a great beach, but it is still one of the least known places in California, therefore making it on our list of secluded beaches in Southern California. You will have to park along the Pacific coast highway and take a bit of a walk, but it is well worth it.

16. Abalone Cove Beach

The beach is part of Abalone Cove Park, and you have to take a trail to the beach. It is a great place to swim, have a picnic, or just enjoy the sound of the waves.

17. Lechuza Beach

Lechuza Beach is one of the best hidden beaches, filled with great views, unbelievable rock formations, and great sand.

18. La Piedra State Beach

La Piedra is surrounded by a lot of big houses in Malibu, but it is still a less crowded beach. It is within walking distance from the parking lot just off the Pacific Coast Highway.

19. Pirate’s Cove Beach

Pirate’s Cove Beach is the perfect spot for those who love adventure and hiking. You have to be ready to hike down some dangerous rocks to get to the beach, but it’s worth it. There are tide pools close by in Crystal Cove, and it’s a hidden gem in Orange County with its gorgeous mountain scenery.

20. Thousand Steps Beach

Thousand Steps Beach in Laguna Beach, despite its name, is actually an easy-access beach. The slope is gentle, and the ocean trails reserve beach is stunning. Spend the day surfing, walking, swimming, and relaxing before you have to walk back up the steps to go home. If you time your visit right to this south Laguna gem, you may get to experience phosphorescent plankton at low tide!

21. Bluff Cove Beach

Bluff Cove Beach is in Palos Verdes Estates. It does not have a ton of sand, but it is a great hidden beach and one of the most secluded beaches in Southern California if you love surfing or scuba diving. You must descend down the bluff to get to the beach, but the small hike is worth it, and the view is good at the top.


A secluded beach in southern california at sunset

Secluded beaches in Southern California are more enjoyable than busy beaches; they’re quieter, there’s more room between you and the next visitor, and there are more seashells to gather. You’re sure to have a wonderful beach day no matter which of these Southern California beaches you choose. 

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