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Want to get away from Bakersfield and go kick sand at the beach? Well there are several options that aren’t far from the southern Central Valley. No matter which way you drive to the ocean, the quickest routes will be a couple hours, but it’ll be worth it!

The pier at Avila Beach as the sun is setting

Santa Barbara is probably the closest coastal city to Bakersfield as the crow flies, but the Santa Inez mountains make it tough to get there directly. Instead the fastest three options are the beaches in Santa Monica, Ventura, and the coast of San Luis Obispo at Avila Beach, Pismo Beach, and Morro Bay. With minimal traffic, each of these three areas will be a pleasant drive on a single tank of gas.

  1. Santa Monica & Venice via I-5 and I-405 are about 2 hours south
  2. Ventura & Oxnard via I-5 and Hwy 126 are about 2 hours south
  3. Avila Beach, Pismo Beach, & Morro Bay are about 2:30 hours west

From Ventura it’s about a half-hour drive north to Santa Barbara which has some of the finest beaches around. Also if you visit Santa Monica, it’s a short drive west on Pacific Coast Highway to the beaches of Malibu.

Here is our list of the top 10 beaches near Bakersfield.