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San Jose is the largest city in the South Bay Area of San Francisco and one of the most populated cities in all of California. It’s a technology hub and has been called the Capital of Silicon Valley for many years. San Jose is surrounded by picturesque rolling hills and has fabulous parks and trails to explore. Even though the southern shore of San Francisco Bay doesn’t have sandy beaches, some of the best beaches in California are on the Pacific Ocean just a short drive away from San Jose.

See the complete list of the best beaches near San Jose at the bottom of this page

The closest beaches are about 45 minutes away in Santa Cruz. From Santa Cruz, it’s a short drive north on Highway 1 to unique cove beaches near the town of Davenport. More sandy options near Santa Cruz include the beaches in Aptos and Capitola.

Just a bit farther north there are stunning beaches near the small town of San Gregorio and the resort town of Half Moon Bay, both an hour from San Jose by car.

More epic beaches are available to the south on the shores of Monterey Bay near the historic city of Monterey and upscale Carmel at the start of a memorable road trip down the Big Sur Coast.

And it’s not too far to drive north to see the best beaches of San Francisco.

Natural Bridges State Park

There are so many beaches along the San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Monterey coastlines to choose from, but here are our favorites that are just an easy day trip from San Jose, CA. These beaches are organized by their approximate driving time from San Jose.