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Post Ranch Inn

The Central Coast of California roughly runs from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara and is known for some of the most dramatic coastline in California, including the Big Sur Coast. Its central location makes it an easy weekend getaway for people living in or traveling through Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco or San Diego. Fortunately for those of us not lucky enough to live here, there is an impressive selection of beachfront resorts to stay at when visiting. Below are some of the best oceanfront resorts along California’s central coast.

Note: The following list of Central California beach resorts is ordered north to south, starting in Half Moon Bay to the north and ending in Ventura to the south.

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay Ritz-Carlton 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

Dream Inn, Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz Dream InnThe Dream Inn is located next to the Santa Cruz wharf and is close to local shops, restaurants, Yacht Harbor, and Downtown Santa Cruz. Nearby beaches: Cowell Beach & Santa Cruz Main Beach

Seascape Beach Resort, Monterey

Seascape Beach ResortSeascape Beach Resort sits on a bluff above overlooking Monterey Bay. It offers 285 spacious suites and beach villas with fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes, fireplaces, and private balconies. Nearby beach: Seascape Park Beach

Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach

The Inn at Spanish BayThis 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

The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Pebble Beach

The Lodge at 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

Post Ranch Inn

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

Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa

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

Bacara Resort & Spa

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

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

Ventura Beach Marriott, Ventura

Ventura Beach Marriott

This pet-friendly and family-friendly resort is located just steps away from the beach and features fashionable guest rooms and suites. Other attractions include excursions to the Channel Islands. Nearby beaches: San Buenaventura State Beach

Also check out these related posts:

Best Beach Resorts of Northern California 

Best Beach Resorts of Southern California


Beaches on this list

  • Pelican Point Beach

    Pelican Point Beach is located near the end of Miramontes Point Road in Half Moon Bay, CA. The beach is nearby the Pelican Point RV Park and surrounded by the […]

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  • Cowell Beach

    Cowell Beach, aka Cowell’s, is the name of the beach west of the Municipal Wharf pier in downtown Santa Cruz, CA. On the other side of the pier is the […]

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  • Santa Cruz Main Beach

    Santa Cruz Main Beach is known as Boardwalk Beach because of the popular boardwalk and amusement park at the beach on the Santa Cruz waterfront. Main Beach is a south-facing […]

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  • Seascape Park Beach

    Seascape Park is a six acre city park that sits high on the bluff above the ocean in the Rio Del Mar area of Aptos. In the park you’ll find […]

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  • Spanish Bay Beach

    Spanish Bay Beach is a public beach at the south end of Asilomar State Beach. Spanish Bay is just inside the limits of the private community of Pebble Beach, California. […]

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  • Moss Beach

    Moss Beach is in the cove south of Spanish Bay inside the private community of Pebble Beach, CA. This is a sandy beach with cobblestone rocks at the back. Sawmill […]

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  • Asilomar State Beach

    Asilomar State Beach is located on the Pebble Beach side of Monterey Peninsula in Pacific Grove, CA. This linear state park is along Sunset Drive between Jewel Avenue and Crocker […]

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  • Stillwater Cove Beach

    The public beach at Stillwater Cove is near the Pebble Beach Beach Club inside the private community of Pebble Beach. This is a white sandy beach that extends out below […]

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  • Pfeiffer Beach

    Pfeiffer Beach in the Big Sur area is definitely off the beaten path, but well worth the drive. Just south of Big Sur Station on Highway 1 there is unsigned […]

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  • Silver Shoals Park

    Silver Shoals Park is a small grass park with great views and a steep beach access in the Shell Beach area of Pismo Beach. At the south end of the park […]

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  • Haskell’s Beach at Bacara Resort

    Haskell’s Beach is right below the huge Bacara Resort and Spa west of Goleta and Santa Barbara. The resort owners agreed to provide a parking area for the general public […]

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  • Butterfly Beach

    Butterfly Beach is located along Channel Drive in ritzy Montecito, CA. This is a popular beach with Santa Barbara area locals, many who walk their dogs at the water’s edge. […]

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  • Hammonds Beach

    Hammonds Beach is a locals beach and a surfing spot in the Montecito area of Santa Barbara County. The beach here is a nice sandy spot hidden away amongst homes […]

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  • San Buenaventura State Beach

    San Buenaventura State Beach takes up about two miles of the waterfront in Ventura. It stretches from Marina Park near the Ventura Harbor all the way north to the Ventura […]

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Related Hotels

  • Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

    Perched upon an ocean bluff, The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay presents some of the best sunsets in Northern California. This luxury golf resort boasts two championship courses, a half-dozen lighted […]

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  • The Santa Cruz Dream Inn

    The Santa Cruz Dream Inn serves up a beachside location, with retro-style accommodations. While all of the 160+ guestrooms supply sensational bay views, this surfer-friendly hotel also makes room for […]

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  • Seascape Beach Resort

    With nearly 300 luxurious suites and beach villas, Seascape Beach Resort in Aptos welcomes guests with a full range of resort amenities. From championship golf to on-site dining, guests may […]

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  • The Inn at Spanish Bay

    Generating golf course, ocean and wooded, Del Monte Forest views, The Inn at Spanish Bay supplies luxurious accommodations alongside Monterey Peninsula. The nearly 270 guestrooms and suites are outfitted with […]

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  • The Lodge at Pebble Beach

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that The Lodge at Pebble Beach is anything less than “as good as it gets”. Luxury has its price and for what you pay, just […]

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  • Post Ranch Inn

    High atop the cliffs of Big Sur, 1200 feet above the Pacific Ocean, sits Post Ranch Inn, a sanctuary for the soul. Ideal for romance, relaxation or rejuvenation, this Big […]

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  • Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa

    Dolphin Bay Resort is a luxury beach resort providing a beach vacation beyond compare. Possibly the finest hotel property along the California coast in Pismo Beach’s Shell Beach community, this […]

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  • Bacara Resort & Spa

    If you are looking for that “WOW” factor, Bacara has it. It doesn’t come cheap and you wouldn’t want it that way in a place where people pour in to […]

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  • Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara

    This Santa Barbara resort is not for those who have to worry about pennies. It is a luxury resort, located along the winding roads that weave along residential neighborhoods where […]

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  • Ventura Beach Marriott

    The elegantly designed Ventura Beach Marriott enjoys a modern flair set amidst a stylish setting. Only about a half hour from Santa Barbara, the large Ventura hotel offers on-site dining […]

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