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If Prohibition taught us anything, it’s that we really like to drink in America. A lot. And that doesn’t always mean getting crazy drunk. Sometimes it’s nice to just lay back and relax with an ice cold beer, glass of wine or bubbly champagne. Especially with a stunning view! Granted, alcohol is not allowed on most California beaches – but there are still a few where those 21-and-up can enjoy their booze by the surf (under a few conditions). So, if you’re of age, grab a cooler, and a 6-pack or bottle of Pinot Noir, and head out for happy hour at any of these alcohol-friendly locations.

Carmel Beach

On the Central Coast, Carmel’s white sandy beach is paradise for surfing, volleyball, and seaside drinks as late as 10pm. Propane fire devices are permitted on the beach south of 10th Avenue, as well as letting your dog run off-leash if they are under voice control. Bring a cooler full of Pale Ales, or a bottle of champagne – but kegs are specifically not allowed. The beach parking lot is located at the west end of Ocean Avenue (Scenic Rd & Ocean Ave. Carmel, CA 93923)

Paradise Cove, Malibu

Keeping it classy, Paradise Cove in Malibu only allows beer, wine, and champagne on the surf – no hard liquor. The beach opens every morning by 8, and visitors can drink and be merry all day until it closes later on at sunset.

And because we all know drinking on an empty stomach never ends well – grab a bite to eat from the Paradise Cove Beach Café (located right at the beach) when you get hungry. They’re open right on the sand, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner – varying from eggs and waffles to juicy burgers, fresh seafood, soups, salads, and other appetizers.

Kehoe Beach, Point Reyes

Away from the crowds, Kehoe Beach is a hidden place to enjoy a cool drink and breeze on the western end of Point Reyes. It can be reached by walking about 0.6-of-a-mile along a trail through marshes and sand dunes. Those 21-and-up can lay back with a nice brew or glass of Chardonnay here, but keep in mind, no kegs are allowed, and all visitors need to leave no later than 11pm.

Descanso Beach, Catalina

Similar to Paradise Cove, the beach at Descanso Beach Club is privately owned (above the mean high tide level) and they allow paying visitors to enjoy a drink in one of their lounge chairs or directly on the sand. Descanso is just a leisurely walk from the main part of Avalon on Catalina Island (address: 1 St Catherine Way, Avalon, CA 90704). The Catalina Express ferries take you to this port city daily from three spots on the mainland in Southern California.

Other Options

Almost every public beach bans alcohol for obvious reasons, including minimizing unruly behavior and keeping the public safe from dangerous ocean conditions, but there are other ways to have a relaxing drink near the sand. Most campgrounds in California allow alcoholic drinks at the campsite and many of them are just steps from the beach. See our list of the California beach campgrounds and reserve a spot today!