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California has a unique rugged and irregular coastline that hides coves and even long stretches of sand from passers-by. These are the hidden beaches of California. We have traveled up and down this coast looking for nooks and crannies where visitors can lose themselves at the water’s edge. Places where it’s possible to forget about the rat race and chaos of today’s society. Secluded spots where you can only hear the ocean and birds and the occasional breeze.


Northern California is a vast less-populated region with many hidden beaches. Central California, between San Francisco and Los Angeles, also has its share of these remote hideaways. In Southern California, it is much harder to get away from it all as there are more people and few spots that aren’t busy every day. That said, if you get out early in the morning, you can find solitude even in densely populated areas.

There’s a whole list of Big Sur beaches that most people miss. We pulled two of our favorites from Big Sur that make the cut of California’s finest.

Point Reyes Peninsula is another region that is rich with hidden shorelines. These beaches require either a long winding drive deep into the national seashore, as is the case with McClures Beach, or a long hike or beach walk to places like Sculptured Beach.

Some hidden beaches are only accessible by boat or kayak as is the case with Estero de San Antonio Beach on Bodega Bay and with Elk Creek Beach in remote Mendocino County.

California has a handful of beaches that can only be accessed by going through a rock arch. These hidden sandy beaches are safest at low tide when the access is not under water.

Sometimes hidden beaches can be discovered right under our noses as is the case with Carmel Meadows Beach on the outskirts of Carmel, and with Table Rock Beach which is squeezed between two rocky points in Laguna Beach.

Always be careful when heading out to these beaches. Often times there is no one around to help if you should get hurt going to the beach or playing around at the beach. In at least one case, there are signs to discourage access to the beach due to exposure on the hidden access trail.

The only state park on this list is one that involves a long and strenuous day hike in a remote region. This beach, Point Sal State Beach, and it’s neighbor to the north, Paradise Beach, are two of the least visited beaches in California.

Check out our list below of the best hidden beaches in California (listed south to north). This list has been updated with some suggestions from our loyal followers. Don’t tell anyone how you found out about these beaches. Let’s keep it our little secret!

Beaches on this list

  • South Black’s Beach

    The southern section of Black’s Beach, also known as Torrey Pines City Beach, is accessible through a gate at the intersection of Blackgold Road and La Jolla Farms Road. Find […]

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  • Table Rock Beach

    Table Rock Beach is a locally-known tucked away beach in south Laguna Beach, CA. This is an excellent sandy beach in a deep cove with homes high above. Rocks of […]

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  • Rancho Palos Verdes Beach

    Rancho Palos Verdes Beach is a beach below Trump National Golf Club and the Ocean Trails Reserve in Rancho Palos Verdes. This reserve includes what used to be known as […]

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  • Pirates Cove Beach

    Pirates Cove is a hidden sandy beach in a small cove on the west side of Point Dume in Malibu. It was made famous as the filming location of the […]

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  • Ormond Beach

    Ormond Beach is the beach fronting the Ormond Wetlands and coastal farmlands near Oxnard in Ventura County. Ormond Beach fills a two mile gap between the city of Port Hueneme […]

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  • Point Sal State Beach

    Point Sal State Beach is a remote public beach that has become quite difficult to access. The trail to the beach is an old road that has eroded over time […]

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  • Arroyo De La Cruz Beach

    The Arroyo De La Cruz Beach Access is another one of the state-owned properties included in Hearst San Simeon State Park. This is a sandy beach at the mouth of […]

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  • San Carpoforo Creek Beach

    The San Carpoforo Creek Beach Access is the northernmost portion of the state-owned properties in Hearst San Simeon State Park. A portion of this beach is also in Los Padres National […]

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  • Carmel Meadows Beach

    Carmel Meadows Beach is the nickname for the portion of Carmel River State Beach that is adjacent to the Carmel Meadows housing community. It’s a wide sandy west-facing beach with […]

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  • Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

    Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge has a long remote sandy beach at the mouth of the Salinas River north of Monterey, CA. The refuge is managed by the US Fish […]

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  • Hidden Beach Park

    Hidden Beach Park is a small hard-to-find park in a creek ravine that empties out on a sandy beach in the Rio Del Mar community in Aptos. The park has […]

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  • Seal Cove

    Seal Cove (also called Cypress Cove) is a secluded beach in Moss Beach, CA. The cove is within Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and is a real treat at low tide when […]

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  • Sculptured Beach

    Sculptured Beach is a remote beach in the southern portion of Point Reyes National Seashore. The beach is accessible by walking or mountain biking on the Coast Trail from Point […]

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  • McClures Beach

    McClures Beach is a remote beach on the northwest coastline of Point Reyes National Seashore. It is the last easy access beach on the western side of Tomales Point (Driftwood […]

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  • Estero De San Antonio Beach

    Estero De San Antonio Beach is a large sand bar at the mouth of a stream called Estero De San Antonio in northern Marin County. The only land-based access is […]

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  • Pinnacle Gulch Beach

    Pinnacle Gulch Beach is a hidden beach at the bottom of Pinnacle Gulch in the Bodega Harbor housing community in Bodega Bay. To get there you’ll hike a wide mile-long […]

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  • St. Orres Creek Beach

    St. Orres Creek Beach is in a small cove just north of Gualala. The Redwood Coast Land Conservancy was granted an easement from local property owners to provide access down […]

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  • Ocean Drive Beach Access

    Ocean Drive Beach Access is a state-provided coastal access just south of Fort Bragg. This is a stunning sandy beach in a deep cove surrounded by a rocky bluffs. Other […]

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  • Bear Harbor Beach

    Bear Harbor Beach is a small south-facing beach in Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. This dark sand beach is somewhat protected from wind and waves rolling onshore from the west. During […]

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  • Mattole River Beach

    Mattole Beach is at the sandy mouth of the Mattole River at the north end of King Range National Conservation Area. This remote area is reached via a long winding […]

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  • Guthrie Creek Beach

    Guthrie Creek Beach is an off-the-beaten-path destination near Eureka. It’s a little-known sandy strip with a creek sometimes flowing through the driftwood and sand to meet the Pacific Ocean. The […]

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  • Fleener Creek Beach

    Fleener Creek Beach is a wonderful hiking and beachcombing spot not far from Eureka. The Fleener Creek Trail is about a half-mile hike down switchbacks to the beach below high […]

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  • Martin Creek Beach

    Martin Creek Beach might be the most hidden beach in Northern California. Except for locals this beach is pretty much unknown, yet it is a wonderful spot to visit. It […]

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  • Hidden Beach

    Hidden Beach is a small cove beach in Del Norte County, Northern California. It is tucked away below a tree-covered hillside not far from the town of Klamath. This is […]

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  • Orick Fishing Access Beach

    The Orick Fishing Access is a parking area on the north side of the Redwood Creek mouth near the town of Orick. It is located on Redwood National Park property, […]

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  • Lake Earl Wildlife Area

    Lake Tolowa and the larger adjacent Lake Earl are coastal lagoons that attract many species of birds. They are both part of Lake Earl State Wildlife Area just north of […]

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