Your Ultimate Guide to the California State Beaches


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There are many California State Beaches found along the coastlines of California. If you are visiting California we highly recommend checking out a state beach here.

After all, California beaches are one of a kind compared to other U.S. state beaches such as Florida. 

What makes a state beach?

When deciding whether to check out a state or public beach you should be well aware that there are several differences to them. 

State Beaches Have Entrance Fees

In California, most state beaches often have an entrance fee. Usually, an entrance fee of $10 is what most charge. In contrast, public beaches don’t normally charge when visiting.

One of the main reasons for this is that most California state beaches are maintained under the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

This department is in charge of protecting and maintaining these beaches. Any money received from visitors goes back into the parks and beaches in hopes of supporting its continued state.

California State Beaches Pin

 State Beaches Offer many Amenities 

One of the nice things about visiting California State Beach is that you have several amenities to do with the family or even yourself.  


Camping is a common amenity offered at these places. For instance, at Leo Carrillo State Park which is in Los Angeles, you can bring your motorhome or RV trailer as long as it is under 31 feet.

Unfortunately, you can’t camp on the beach since the campsites are more inland, but the Leo Carrillo State Beach is within walking distance from the campsite. The cost to camp at night ranges from $41.

You can get an updated list of the current prices by visiting the California State Parks reservation site.

Photo by Tron Le 

Hiking Trails

One of my sisters and I’s favorite activities to do is hiking. Because some of these state beaches fall under the California State Parks you can expect to see many hiking trails.

Why not catch fresh air in the natural environment than the gym? For instance,  Point Mugu State Park offers over 50 miles of hiking options to see. You can also catch some ocean views from some trails. 


 Activities and Educational Programs

Fishing, kayaking, and boating are just a few activities some of these places offer. For instance, at the Redwood National State Park people come to fish here.

The Orick Fishing Access found within the Redwood National State Park has a specific area for those fishing enthusiasts. Not only do you have activities, but you can participate in some educational programs.

For instance, campfire programs, and nature walks are a few worth mentioning. At Silver Strand State Beach you can participate in a 1-hour Nature Walk where you can learn about the ocean’s habitat followed by volunteering in cleaning up the beach.

Photo by Sebastien Gabriel 

What are some California State Beaches?

There are many California State Beaches found within this state. To make it easier, we went ahead and made a list of several categories answering some questions asked by our readers. So, let’s get started. 

California State Beaches that Have Fire Pits

There is nothing better than enjoying time with friends or family through BBQs or roasting marshmallows together while at the beach.

Of course, you can always bring your own portable grills, but it’s nice having the option to have fire pits around when you’re visiting a beach. Below is a list of some beaches that have fire pits. 

  • Bolsa Chica State Beach
  • Moonlight State Beach
  • Huntington State Beach
  • New Brighton State Beach
  • Doheny State Beach
  • San Onofre State Beach
  • Gaviota State Park
  • Dockweiler Beach
Photo by Patrick Boucher 

California State Beaches that Offer Camping

If you love the outdoors then why not explore the night at the beach? There are some state beaches that offer camping opportunities. Some places welcome different types of camping as well.

For instance, you can tent camp at Jalama Beach County Park. Do be aware that there are restrictions on the length size of trailers or motorhomes wanting to camp.

So be sure to check the homepage of the beach you are wanting to visit for a complete view of any of their restrictions. Below are a few places that have campgrounds for those outdoor lovers wanting to be immersed fully in nature.

  • Leo Carrillo State Beach
  • San Elijo State Beach
  • Bolsa Chica State Beach
  • San Clemente State Beach
  • Seacliff State Beach
  • Carpinteria State Beach
  • Refugio State Beach
  • Silver Strand State Beach
dog with owner
Photo by Spencer Watson 

California State Beaches that Allow Dogs

If you have a dog, chances are you would like to have the option of bringing them with you. It’s always nice to have this option. After all, why not create experiences together?

But, there are some places that don’t allow dogs. We wrote two articles for those wanting to learn about The Most Popular Friendly Dog Beaches of San Diego as well as The Best Dog-Friendly East Coast Beach in Florida.

One of the main reasons most state beaches don’t allow dogs is for the protection of wildlife. You can find some places that do allow dogs to be leashed. The following are some state beaches that are dog friendly. 

  • Cardiff State Beach
  • San Elijo State Beach
  • Asilomar State Beach
  • San Buenaventura State Beach
  • Doheny State Beach
  • San Buenaventura State Beach

Also, make sure to call ahead of time the beach you wish you visit to be aware of any restrictions. For instance, at Doheny State Beach dogs are ONLY allowed in the campgrounds not on the beach.

huntington state beach
Photo by Ian M Jones 


If you get the chance to visit California or live here, be sure to check out some of these state beaches. After all, many of these places offer a variety of options for your family or yourself than the public beaches.

Beware most of these places do have entrance fees, but the money is used to help maintain it. Let me know what are some favorite state beaches you have been to in the comments below.

And remember be the best person out there and respect these places. Always pick up after yourself and your dogs as well when visiting. We only have one planet and we must cherish and protect it. Until next time!

Jess and Jeanette are two sisters who were inspired by their family beach vacations while growing up. Their passion lies in guiding you toward the most remarkable beach destinations across the United States! Cheers! ❤️

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