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California is one of the most beautiful places to wake up. Every morning, when the sun rises and fills the sky with pink, orange and purple hues, our landscapes could not get any more gorgeous – especially out by the coastline. Throw in some palm trees, curious seagulls, ocean waves & surfers and the scene becomes even more lovely. These are just eight of the many beaches that are worth getting up early for to watch the sunrise.

1. Huntington Beach

via Ian D Keating

Huntington City Beach is a place for peace, quiet and golden sunrises in the A.M. You can wander out on the pier, or just lay back in the sand and watch the sun peeking through the palm trees. At the end of the pier, Ruby’s Diner opens at 7, serving omelettes and hot cakes just in time for breakfast.

2. Ventura Beach

via Steve Hardy/Flickr

Like most Southern California beaches, Ventura Beach has sand, waves and an old wooden pier that stretches out over the sea. It’s a heavenly place to go for a brisk morning walk and take in views of Pierpont Bay and the Channel Islands.

3. Malibu

Why just show you a pic of a Malibu sunrise when you can watch this short clip to experience the beauty in motion? Malibu is well known as a slice of California paradise, and that’s certainly no exception after the break of dawn. Want to see Malibu’s hidden beaches?

4. Oceanside City Beach

via Flickr/Joe Behr

Both North and South Beach surrounding the Oceanside Pier are lovely in the morning. We recommend grabbing a spot on the north side (pictured above), spreading out a blanket on the sand and enjoying the warm hues over a breakfast picnic.

5. Avila Beach

via Flickr/Derek Giovanni

Wide and sandy, Avila Beach stretches along San Luis Bay on the Central Coast. The wooden Avila Pier juts out into the water from the center of the beach, and makes for great photo ops all day – but especially combined with the brilliant colors at sunrise.

6. Laguna Beach

Joel Duggan/Flickr

Laguna Beach greets every morning with a vibrant sunrise in Orange County. You can lay on the sand, stroll along the beach or take a walk down the boardwalk for picture perfect views. Take some time to search for the hidden Laguna tower.

7. Half Moon Bay

via Flickr/Jan Arendtsz

Half Moon Bay State Beach is four miles of pure sandy beauty on the waterfront of the town of Half Moon Bay. It actually consists of five different stretches – Elmar, Roosevelt, Dunes, Venice and Francis Beaches – with each one as dreamy as the last, especially in the morning when the sky becomes splashed with pink and purple sunrise colors.

8. Marshall Beach

via Flickr/Justin Kern

Marshall Beach will give you more solitude than the famous Baker Beach, and at low tide, the sunrise views from here aren’t too shabby either. The shoreline runs between North Baker Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge, hidden just beneath steep rocky cliffs. Just note that the farther you venture north from Baker Beach, the more naked people you will find. If you are ok with that, check out this California nude beaches map.

You can’t really go wrong with an early visit to any beach in California. So tell us, where are some of your favorite places to see the sunrise?

Beaches on this list

  • Baker Beach

    Baker Beach is a large popular beach not far from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. On sunny weekends both parking lots could be full and all the spaces along […]

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  • Huntington City Beach

    Huntington City Beach is the center of a long stretch of sandy waterfront for the city of Huntington Beach, CA. This huge asset and the fact that surf’s up regularly […]

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  • Ventura Pier Beach

    The sandy beach at Ventura Pier is Ventura’s main central beach and is nearest downtown. San Buenaventura City Pier is an old structure on wooden pilings that attracts fishermen and […]

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  • Malibu Surfrider Beach

    Malibu Surfrider Beach is the popular sandy beach and surfing spot between the Malibu Pier and the Malibu Lagoon. Surfrider Beach is part of Malibu Lagoon State Beach which has […]

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  • Oceanside Pier View North Beach

    Pier View North Beach in Oceanside is a popular sand beach just north of the Oceanside Municipal Fishing Pier. The beach on this side of the pier is a little […]

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  • Oceanside Pier View South Beach

    Pier View South Beach is the most popular beach in Oceanside, CA. Like the name suggests, it’s the beach just south of Oceanside Pier, and yes the beach on the […]

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  • Avila Beach City Beach

    Avila Beach City Beach is the large wide sandy beach that takes up the entire waterfront of the town of Avila Beach, CA. The picturesque wooden Avila Pier sticks out […]

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  • Main Beach in Laguna Beach

    Main Beach is the simple name given to the main centrally-located city beach in Laguna Beach, California. Main Beach is a nice sandy beach in a broad cove that faces […]

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  • Dunes Beach – Half Moon Bay State Beach

    Dunes Beach is one of the northern beaches in Half Moon Bay State Beach. To reach the parking area turn onto Youngs Road just north of Half Moon Bay on […]

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  • Elmar Beach – Half Moon Bay State Beach

    Elmar Beach is a section of Half Moon Bay State Beach between Francis and Venice Beaches. Pilarcitos Creek pools up and sometimes breaches to the ocean at Elmar Beach (at […]

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  • Francis Beach – Half Moon Bay State Beach

    Francis Beach is the southernmost beach in Half Moon Bay State Beach. Francis Beach has a nice grassy park with many of picnic tables and barbecues on the bluff above […]

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  • Roosevelt Beach – Half Moon Bay State Beach

    Roosevelt Beach, a.k.a. Naples Beach is the northernmost beach in Half Moon Bay State Beach. The signed Roosevelt Beach parking lot is located at the end of Youngs Road off Highway […]

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  • Venice Beach – Half Moon Bay State Beach

    Venice Beach is the middle beach of five within Half Moon Bay State Beach. The large parking area is at the west end of Venice Boulevard which turns off Highway […]

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  • Marshall’s Beach

    Marshall’s Beach is a long narrow secluded beach that stretches from the Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Point National Historic Site all the way south to North Baker Beach. Because […]

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