With over 1,000 hotels on the beach (or a short walk to it), selecting California’s best beach hotels, resorts & inns was no easy task. Region-by-region, county-by-county, and city-by-city, we looked at all accommodations (except vacation rentals & Airbnb rentals) that were within a short walk to the beach and then compared their location, views, reviews, ratings and amenities. Each of the hotels below represents the best that their area has to offer. See the map of the best beach hotels and resorts in California.
The rugged coastline and empty beaches of Northern California offers a very different experience than Southern California. Lodging options are also quite different, with far fewer luxury accommodation, the focus is more about adventure than indulgence.
Howonquet Lodge, Smith River
Located on the stunning Northern California Coast, 3 miles south of the Oregon border, the Howonquet Lodge is part of the Lucky 7 Casino. It features 71 rooms and suites that offer both Pacific Ocean and mountain views. Nearby beaches: Smith River County Park & Clifford Kamph Memorial Park.
Oceanfront Inn, Shelter Cove
Sitting on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean in Northern California’s Lost Coast region, this inn offers rooms and suites, all of which have private balconies or decks with unobstructed views of the ocean. Nearby beaches: Mal Coombs Park & Shelter Cove Beach
Brewery Gulch Inn, Mendocino
This award winning B&B Inn sits above the rugged Mendocino coast and offers romantic cottage, suite and room options. Dining at the inn focuses on locally sourced ingredients. Nearby beach: Big River Beach
Stanford Inn by the Sea Eco Resort, Mendocino
This boutique resort is nestled on a hillside meadow overlooking Mendocino Bay. Rooms and suites are paneled in pine and redwood. Nearby beach: Big River Beach
Bodega Bay Lodge, Bodega Bay
Perched above the Bodega Bay and the Pacific Ocean, the lodge comes wtih resort-like amenties including an oceanview pool, spa, restaurant, sauna, fitness center and concierge service. Rooms are well appointed and oversized. Nearby beach: Bird Walk Coastal Access & Doran Beach
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Set on a bluff overlooking the ocean, this upscale resort is located just a few miles south of Half Moon Bay and features a world-class links style golf course. Nearby beach: Pelican Point Beach
See our complete list of Northern California’s best beach hotels & resorts.
With some of the most dramatic coastline in California, plenty of beachfront resorts and a location that is within striking distance of major cities like San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles, Central California is an ideal location for weekend getaways.
Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach
This oceanside retreat is located within the Pebble Beach community and fronted by a links-style golf course that borders some of the most breathtaking coastline in California. Nearby beaches: Spanish Bay Beach, Moss Beach, Asilomar State Beach
Lodge at Pebble Beach, Pebble Beach
The historic Lodge at Pebble Beach sits next to the famous 18th green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of the most exciting closing holes in golf. Many of the 161 rooms feature ocean views, private balconies and wood-burning fireplaces. Nearby beach: Stillwater Cove Beach
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
Set on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this contemporary hotel features rustic rooms, suites and tree-houses that have private decks with mountain or ocean views and wood-burning fireplaces. Nearby beaches: Pfeiffer Beach (requires driving)
The Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa, Pismo Beach
Set along a bluff overlooking San Luis Obispo Bay, this resort features 60 spacious 1 and 2 bedroom suites and is located 3 miles north of downtown Pismo Beach. Another good option nearby is The Cliffs Resort. Nearby beach: Silver Shoals Park
Bacara Resort & Spa, Santa Barbara
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this Mediterranean-style luxury resort features spanish colonial style rooms with tubs, private balconies or patios and ocean views. Nearby beach: Haskell’s Beach
Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, Santa Barbara
Built in 1927, this luxury oceanfront resort is located 4 miles from downtown Santa Barbara and features beautiful gardens and Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Nearby beaches: Butterfly Beach, Hammonds Beach
See our complete list of Central California’s best beach hotels & resorts.
With amazing beaches, great weather and luxe resorts, it’s no wonder that Southern California is one of the most popular travel destinations in the USA.
Hotel Casa del Mar, Los Angeles
Situated directly on the beach in Santa Monica, this resort is all about location. Guests can enjoy panoramic views of the ocean, including the famous Santa Monica Pier. The beach boardwalk is just outside, stretching for miles north and south. An onsite seafood restaurant features fresh and local fare, and the hotel lobby often has live music on the weekends. Nearby beach: Santa Monica State Beach
Terranea Resort, Palos Verdes
Situated on a peninsula, Terranea Resort is almost completely surrounded by ocean. Trails and scenic overlooks abound on the resort grounds. Eight on-site restaurants offer a variety of dining options. A 9-hole golf course and a relaxing spa provide a little something for everyone. For more information, see our Terranea Resort review. Nearby beach: Terranea Cove Beach
The Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach
An enormous circular pool, a world class golf course, and a kids program are just a few of the unique amenities at this beachside resort. The nearby beach provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities such as surf lessons, kayak tours, and Crystal Cove bike tours, all arranged by resort staff. Nearby beaches: Crystal Cove State Park
Montage, Laguna Beach
Set on a bluff overlooking the ocean on the south side of Laguna Beach, this luxury resort offers expansive views combined with a cozy atmosphere. The lobby is airy and spacious with an attached bar and live piano music most evenings. There are pools, a spa, and beach trails perfect for a morning stroll. See our Montage resort review for more info. Nearby beaches: Treasure Island Beach, Middle Man Cove, Goff Cove Beach & Christmas Cove Beach
Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point
Situated in laid-back Dana Point, this resort combines elegance with California casual. The private beach is an easy two-minute stroll (or tram ride) away with resort attendants on hand to make sure guests are comfortable. Six ocean-view restaurants provide a wide range of dining options, and hotel activities like sandcastle building contests and surf lessons offer fun for any age. Nearby beaches: Monarch Bay Beach & Salt Creek Beach
The Lodge at Torrey Pines, San Diego
Fireplaces and rustic touches fill this Craftsman style resort. Next door is Torrey Pines State Reserve with beautiful trails along the coast. An 18-hole golf course is also adjacent to the resort. A farm-to-table restaurant and a relaxing spa complete this picturesque getaway spot. Nearby beaches: Flat Rock Beach at Torrey Pines, Black’s Beach
Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego
Rich in history and mystery (there’s even rumored to be a resident ghost), this beachfront resort was once the largest in the world. It’s gone through several major upgrades and retrofits since being built in 1888, but much of its old charm is still there. The Del offers a wide range of restaurants, pools, a spa, and a kids program among other things. Nearby beach: Coronado Beach
See our complete list of Southern California’s best beach hotels & resorts.