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You’d be hard-pressed to find a traveler who hasn’t heard of our spotlight coastal communities like Malibu and Laguna Beach. But nestled along the California coastline sit dozens of off-the-grid beach towns, many of which are true hidden gems. If you haven’t heard of these spots, perhaps it’s time to venture out and explore them.


Capitola, the oldest seaside town in California, is about a 90 minute drive (south) from San Francisco. Its rows of colorful Venetian inspired beach bungalows give it the kind of old world charm you’ll rarely find here, and its lowkey but wonderful shops, restaurants and hotels make it a must-see. We highly recommend enjoying some sustainable seafood with a view at Margaritaville or sipping a latte from Mr. Toots Coffeehouse.


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You’ll find Cayucos on the coast of San Luis Obispo County along California State Route 1 between Cambria and Morro Bay. The picturesque town has escaped the over development seen in its nearby cities, and it’s the perfect place if you’re looking for a small town vibe. Since 1906, local cowboys have been hanging out at the Old Cayucos Tavern, and the Cayucos Pier is a great place for an evening stroll.


If you like stunning scenery, friendly people, and the “world’s safest beach,” head 15 minutes south of Santa Barbara to Carpinteria. The relaxed atmosphere and beautiful scenery will win you over. Carpinteria State Beach offers a mile of peaceful shoreline to explore.


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Located in Santa Cruz County, Davenport is a quaint little town with a lot to offer. It was founded in 1868 and named after a sea captain, and it still maintains plenty of its original charms. The Bonnie Doon Vineyard has a great tasting room, and the Swanton Berry Farm is a great place to stop for a snack and some jam tasting. Plus, you can relax on Davenport Landing Beach.


Laid back and unpretentious, Oxnard is located in Ventura County. From whale watching in winter to outdoor adventures in the summertime, there’s never a bad time to visit. Though it’s just minutes from northern Malibu, Oxnard is a great place to go if you’re on a budget. Enjoy an old school breakfast at Mrs. Olson’s Coffee Hut, explore the beautiful Mandalay Beach, and hop on a boat to the perpetually uncrowded Channel Islands National Park.

Beaches on this list

  • 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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  • Davenport Beach

    Davenport Beach, a.k.a. San Vicente Beach, is the southern beach of two beaches right in the little town of Davenport, California. This beach is easily accessible and the other one […]

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  • Davenport Cove & Shark Fin Beach

    This is a sandy beach in a small but deep cove south of the town of Davenport. Davenport Cove is locally known by several different names including Shark Fin Cove […]

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  • Davenport Landing Beach

    Davenport Landing Beach is a short drive from Highway 1 on Davenport Landing Road just north of Davenport, CA. Parking spots can be found along this loop road next to […]

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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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  • Cayucos Beach

    Cayucos Beach is the city-owned beach south of the state beach in Cayucos, CA. Cayucos Beach lies in front of the many beachfront homes along Pacific Avenue south of the […]

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  • Carpinteria City Beach

    Carpinteria City Beach starts where Linden Avenue (the main drag in Carpinteria) ends at the ocean. It runs north for three city blocks to Ash Avenue where the beach in […]

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  • Carpinteria State Beach

    Carpinteria State Beach is an excellent white sand beach right in the city of Carpinteria. The state beach starts at Linden Avenue and continues south to Tar Pits Beach at […]

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  • Carpinteria Seal Sanctuary

    The Carpinteria Seal Sanctuary is a harbor seal rookery next to the old oil pier just south of Carpinteria State Beach. As expected, the beach at the sanctuary is off-limits […]

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  • Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve

    Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve is an open space park above the ocean waves south of Carpinteria, CA. The land in the preserve was purchased with donations to protect it from […]

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  • Oxnard Beach Park

    Oxnard Beach Park is on a wide sandy beach in Oxnard, California. The beach makes up the shoreline between Hollywood Beach to the south and Mandalay Beach to the north. […]

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  • Hollywood Beach

    Hollywood Beach in Oxnard is located on the south end of the peninsula that separates Channel Islands Harbor from the ocean. Hollywood Beach is wide and about a mile long. […]

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  • Mandalay State Beach

    Mandalay State Beach is a protected area of beach, dunes, and wetlands between a power generation plant and the Oxnard Shores neighborhood of Oxnard, CA. This is a popular place […]

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