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Fishing has always been a big coastal activity in California, long before surfing became popular in the 1960’s. During the second half of the 1800’s and in the early 1900’s many long fishing piers were installed at beaches up and down the California coastline and on San Francisco Bay. Some were installed for access to ships while others were installed with restaurants and entertainment venues to attract tourists to these coastal towns. Almost all of them are still open to fishing and many don’t require a fishing license to cast a line. A few are closed to public access unfortunately, but they can still be photographed from the shore.

These historic piers are famous icons of the California Coast. If you are visiting any of these beaches, plan to walk out on the piers to take in the smell of the ocean and the views up and down the shoreline. In Southern California the piers are often the best place to be for watching and photographing surfers. When photographing the piers consider different vantage points on the beach beside them, under them, above them if possible, and consider staying for a sunset shot!

Waves In The Pacific Ocean And The Fishing Pier At Sunset, In ImImperial Beach Pier

Over the years most of these piers have either burned down or suffered significant damage from storms and have been rebuilt. Above is a map of all the California fishing piers and below is a long list of all the beaches that have a pier.

Beaches on this map

  • Pismo Beach Pier Beach

    Pismo Pier juts out into the Pacific from the center of the Pismo Beach city waterfront giving visitors a grand view of the beach. Pismo Pier Beach is best known […]

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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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  • 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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  • San Clemente Pier City Beach

    San Clemente Pier Beach is the main city beach of San Clemente, California. The beach is a wide sandy spot on both sides of the pier between T-Street Beach and […]

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  • Balboa Pier Beach

    The beach at Newport Beach’s Balboa Pier is a popular place with many nice amenities nearby. The pier is open to fishing, however most visitors will just want to walk […]

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  • Venice Pier Beach

    The Venice Pier Beach is at the long fishing pier jutting out into the Pacific Ocean from the Venice District of Los Angeles. This area of LA has a reputation […]

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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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  • 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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  • Santa Cruz Main Beach

    Santa Cruz Main Beach is known as Boardwalk Beach because of the popular boardwalk and amusement park at the beach on the Santa Cruz waterfront. Main Beach is a south-facing […]

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  • Hermosa City Beach

    Hermosa City Beach occupies the entire waterfront in the city of Hermosa Beach in LA County. It starts at King Harbor Marina in Redondo Beach and continues north for nearly […]

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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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  • West Beach of Santa Barbara

    West Beach in Santa Barbara is a wide beach located west of and adjacent to Stearns Wharf Pier at State Street. Be sure to visit the pier for shops and […]

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  • Port Hueneme Beach Park

    Port Hueneme Beach Park is the main beach in the city of Port Hueneme which is completely surrounded by Oxnard, CA. The beach here is wide with many picnic areas […]

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  • Manhattan County Beach

    Manhattan Beach (the beach) is the main beach of the city of Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles County. It’s a popular beach that becomes a madhouse on weekends especially near […]

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  • Pacific Beach

    Pacific Beach (the beach) is located between Pacific Beach Drive and the Crystal Pier in the Pacific Beach District of San Diego, CA. North of the pier is North Pacific […]

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  • Goleta Beach Park

    Goleta Beach Park is a county run facility on a sand spit next to the University of California Santa Barbara campus, the Santa Barbara Airport, and the city of Goleta. […]

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  • Santa Monica State Beach – North Beach

    The north part of Santa Monica State Beach is a wide sandy beach that runs north from the Santa Monica Pier to the city border where Will Rogers State Beach […]

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  • Gaviota State Park Beach

    Gaviota State Park Beach is a south-facing beach below a tall train trestle about 30 miles west of Santa Barbara and 25 miles southeast of Lompoc. Behind the trestle there […]

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  • Cayucos State Beach

    Cayucos State Beach is right on the waterfront in the town of Cayucos, California. The Cayucos Pier is a popular old wooden fishing pier that juts out from the beach […]

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  • William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach

    William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach is the beach nearest Hearst Castle and not far from the town of San Simeon. The beach entrance road is opposite the road to […]

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  • Paradise Cove Beach

    Paradise Cove in Malibu is a public beach in front of a privately-owned facility by the same name. The property and the restaurant has surfboards all around and the outside […]

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  • Fishermans Beach

    Fisherman’s Beach is the last beach you come to along Avila Beach Drive as you drive farther away from the town of Avila Beach. Locals call it Dog Beach because […]

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  • Monterey Municipal Beach

    Municipal Beach is the name given to the city-owned beach adjacent to the Municipal Fisherman’s Wharf 2 Pier in Monterey, CA. This is probably the busiest sandy beach in the […]

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  • Seacliff State Beach

    Seacliff State Beach is a long sandy beach on the waterfront of Aptos, CA. This is a great place for sunbathing or walking the sandy shores of Monterey Bay in […]

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  • Capitola Beach

    Capitola City Beach is a sandy beach at the north end of Monterey Bay in Capitola, CA. It’s a popular urban beach that can be jam packed on sunny days […]

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  • Sharp Park Beach

    Sharp Park Beach is located along Beach Boulevard in Pacifica, CA. The park is a narrow strip of land with grass and picnic tables and benches above the sandy beach. […]

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  • Aquatic Park Cove

    Aquatic Park Cove has a narrow sandy beach and a grass park at the end of the Hyde Street Cable Car line on the San Francisco Waterfront. The cove is […]

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  • Ocean Beach City Beach

    Ocean Beach City Beach is the main beach in the San Diego neighborhood of Ocean Beach. This is a wide sandy beach that has formed at the south side of […]

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  • Redondo County Beach

    Redondo County Beach is a 1.5 mile long sandy beach that makes up the waterfront of Redondo Beach, CA. The main part of Redondo County Beach starts at the Redondo […]

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  • Nick’s Cove and Miller Boat Launch

    Miller Boat Launch is a Marin County boat ramp facility on the east side of Tomales Bay across from the Point Reyes Peninsula. It has an overnight parking lot for […]

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  • Arena Cove Beach

    Arena Cove Beach is the main beach in the Mendocino County town of Point Arena. The cove isn’t really known for its beach since there isn’t a lot of beach […]

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  • Davenport Pier Beach

    Davenport Pier Beach is the northern of two beaches right in the tiny town of Davenport, CA. This beach is across from the huge concrete and cement plant that’s visible […]

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  • Trinidad Head Beach

    Trinidad Head Beach, a.k.a. Pier Beach, is on Trinidad Bay below the huge rocky point called Trinidad Head in the town of Trinidad. It’s really two beaches in one with […]

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  • Belmont Shore Beach

    Belmont Shore Beach spans the waterfront of the Belmont Shore neighborhood in Long Beach, CA. Generally this beach is between the Belmont Pier area and 55th Place. South of 55th […]

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  • Fort Baker Beach on Horseshoe Cove

    Fort Baker is a historic army post at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge that was built in the early 1900’s. It’s now a park within the Golden […]

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  • Newport Municipal Beach

    Newport Municipal Beach is located on both sides of the Newport Beach Pier. The beaches are continuous here and the city beach stretches from Balboa Pier Beach to the south […]

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  • Imperial Beach City Beach

    Imperial Beach, California has an impressive beach running the length of its waterfront called Imperial Beach City Beach. This beach is generally located between Palm Avenue and Imperial Beach Boulevard […]

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  • Crescent Beach on Catalina Island

    Crescent Beach is the main beach in the town of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island. It is next to Green Pleasure Pier, a picturesque wooden pier in the protected boat […]

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  • Seal Beach

    Seal Beach (the beach) is located in the city of Seal Beach, a small beachside community wedged between Long Beach and Huntington Beach. It is the northernmost beach town and […]

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  • Cabrillo Beach – Harbor Beach

    Cabrillo Harbor Beach (aka Harborside) is located at Cabrillo Beach Park next to the public boat launch in the San Pedro District of Los Angeles. This small sandy beach is […]

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  • Candlestick Point State Recreation Area

    Candlestick Point State Recreation Area is an urban park on San Francisco Bay next to Candlestick Park in San Francisco, CA. Windsurfers launch here and ride in an area known […]

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  • Centennial Park

    Centennial Park in Coronado has a sandy beach on both sides of it on San Diego Bay. Condo buildings look down on this grass park, but the focal point is […]

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  • Dana Point Harbor Beach (Baby Beach)

    Dana Point Harbor Beach, better-known as “Baby Beach,” is located on the protected waters of Dana Point Harbor. This is a small family-friendly beach with a roped off swimming area […]

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  • McNears Beach Park

    McNears Beach Park is a Marin County Park located in the city of San Rafael. The beach here is rocky and located in a muddy part of San Pablo Bay […]

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  • Crissy Field – West Bluff Beach

    The beach at West Bluff Picnic Area is located at the west end of Crissy Field Park right below Fort Point National Historic Site and very near the Golden Gate […]

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  • Oyster Cove Beach

    Oyster Cove Beach is a small sandy beach in Oyster Point Park on San Francisco Bay. The park is part of the San Mateo County Harbor District and has a […]

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  • Shelter Island Shoreline Park

    Shoreline Park is a small park with a beach and a boat launch on Shelter Island in San Diego. The beach here is small but it has picnic tables and […]

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  • Scripps Beach

    Scripps Beach is adjacent to the UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus in northern La Jolla. The long concrete Scripps Pier is not open to the public unfortunately, but the […]

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  • Crescent City Harbor Beach

    Crescent City Harbor has a narrow beach that is protected from the wild ocean waves that batter the shoreline outside the jetties. At low tide the mud flats of Elk Creek […]

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  • China Camp State Park Beach

    China Camp State Park is a large state park on San Pablo Bay north of San Francisco. China Camp Beach is located at China Camp Village just off North San Pedro […]

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