Wanna enjoy a long walk on the beach?
I know it sounds like a line, but this lovers’ activity is a cliché for a reason. A seaside stroll proves both calming and romantic, with the vast ocean rippling along the shore while your toes sink into the cool sand. Or maybe your dream beach date consists of gazing at a gorgeous sunset while you enjoy a seaside picnic.
Either way, we are all about getting a little sandy, whether with a loved one, a friend, or for a little solo escape into the outdoors for some dedicated me time.
Torrey Pines, San Diego
What we love about it: Torrey Pines State Beach has picturesque views of the San Diego coastline and the adjacent Torrey Pines State Reserve is filled with little trails leading down to the shore. We recommend that you only take marked trails and watch your footing, but the views are worth the adventure.
What to do here: We love the Torrey Pines Trail to Black’s Beach in the morning for a beautiful way to start your day. Fair warning: some nudists like to visit this beach as well.
Water Quality: The only sampling site at Torrey Pines is at the Los Penasquitos Lagoon outlet. That site received good grades in our most recent annual Beach Report Card.
La Jolla, San Diego
What we love about it: This spot is great for lovers and families alike, with plenty of adventure to be had by all ages.
What to do here: This is the perfect spot for a SUP (stand up paddleboard) adventure, snorkeling, kayaking, or even just a picturesque walk along the beach. For stunning ocean views over dinner, check out the Marine Room at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.
Water Quality: La Jolla shores received great grades in our annual report last year.
Victoria Beach, Orange County
What we love about it: Straight out of a fairy tale, this shoreline spot is guarded by La Tour, a 60-foot castle-inspired tower. Built in 1926, the structure provided beach access for a home on the cliff above.
What to do here: Looking to be someone’s knight in shining armor? Look no further. To get here, walk to the north end of Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach, around the bluff and past another sandy section of beach. (This is a privately owned structure, so while you can walk up to it, please do not try to go inside or climb on the structure.)
Water Quality: Victoria Beach received A+’s across the board in our last annual report.
Crystal Cove State Park, Orange County
What we love about it: With such a long swath of open sandy shores, this is an ideal spot for a romantic seaside stroll, or perhaps for a love-inspired photoshoot.
What to do here: If you’re looking for post-beach walk eats with an ocean view, the Beachcomber Café is a fun option.
Water Quality: Crystal Cove has great water quality in the summer or whenever the weather has been dry. Given the buckets of rain we have (thankfully) gotten this year, make sure to heed any beach posting signs you may see.
Palos Verdes Peninsula, Los Angeles
What we love about it: We love the PV areas so much, we had to lump the whole peninsula together as one of our top locations. Palos Verdes wraps around from the base of the South Bay down to San Pedro, and features beautiful neighborhoods, coastal trails, clean beaches, and tidepool adventures.
What to do here: If you’re looking for some marine biology-inspired adventure, time your visit for low tide to go tidepooling at Abalone Cove. For a short hike and a hidden rocky beach, check out Palos Verdes Bluff Cove.
Water Quality: The Palos Verdes area is home to multiple Honor Roll beaches, including Abalone Cove Shoreline Park.
El Matador State Beach, Malibu
What we love about it: This was easily the top rated romantic spot by Heal the Bay staff. Dramatic cliffs and coves (and even secret sea caves) make this beach feel like the backdrop of a steamy Hollywood romance scene. Whether it’s energizing a new flame or a longtime squeeze, you can expect El Matador to light your fire.
What to do here: Explore the dramatic landscape, take Instagram-worthy photos, find little hideaway spots for you and your date to share secret kisses, and wrap up your evening with a gorgeous sunset view.
Water Quality: El Matador is an Honor Roll beach with awesome water quality.