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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. They are places where it’s possible to forget about the rat race and chaos of the day. 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 busy Laguna Beach.

Always be careful when heading out to these beaches. Often times there is no one around to help if you got hurt 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!