7 Best Beach Resorts in California

by Global Viewpoint
This post may have affiliate links, where I receive a commission if you purchase through them. Here's our Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more info.

Are you looking to unwind in the California sunshine? Do you long for a relaxing week of spa treatments, gourmet dining, and sea breezes in the Golden State? Treat yourself to the lap of luxury with the best beach resorts in California! 

California is a dream destination for travelers around the world. Renowned for its breathtaking beauty, diverse landscapes, and vibrant culture, Cali is a world of its own. And the coast is where the charm of beachside living blends with the luxury of upscale resorts. Imagine waking up to the sound of crashing waves. The smell of the sea air fills your lungs, and the sight of the sun setting over the Pacific casts a golden glow over the water. This is what awaits you at California’s top beach resorts. These luxury hotels and beach resorts offer a unique slice of coastal paradise.

The Golden State boasts over 800 miles of coastline, dotted with world-class beach resorts catering to various tastes and preferences. Whether you’re seeking a secluded romantic getaway, a fun-filled family vacation, or a rejuvenating wellness retreat, you’ll find a CA resort to perfectly suit your needs.

Come along as we take you on a journey down California’s coastline. We’ll explore its best beach resorts and discover what makes each one a destination worth visiting. Let’s dive in!

This article on the best beach resorts in California contains affiliate links, where I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.
This article on the best beach resorts in California contains affiliate links, where I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

The best beach resorts in California: 7 amazing resorts on the California coast

This guide is your key to unlocking seven of the best beach resorts in California. Each resort is a world in itself. They offer luxurious accommodations, exquisite dining options, and a range of recreational activities against stunning seaside vistas. The vibrant charm of these resorts extends beyond their physical confines. They reflect the local culture, the Californian spirit of adventure, and the region’s commitment to eco-conscious living.

I used visitor reviews, hotel websites, and amenities lists to put together this comprehensive list to find the best. And now, without further ado, here is my list of the 7 best beach resorts in California. 

1. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Atop a 150-foot bluff with sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel redefines coastal luxury and Californian hospitality. An iconic staple of Dana Point, this resort combines casual elegance with the organic beauty of its seaside location. When you visit, there will be no question why it’s considered one of the best beach resorts in California. 

 The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, is one of the best beach resorts in California
The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, is one of the best beach resorts in California. | Credit: Booking.com

The pinnacle of world-class service

This luxury hotel is not just a beach resort. It’s a sanctuary of sophistication and comfort. Each room and suite is meticulously designed to capture the essence of California living with warm, contemporary décor. Private balconies boast spectacular panoramic ocean views. The resort’s attention to detail is evident in its luxury guest services, which include a personalized concierge, 24-hour in-room dining, and even a special ‘Yappy Hour’ for canine guests.

Dining at The Ritz-Carlton is a culinary journey in itself. With six unique dining experiences, guests can savor everything from locally sourced seafood at Raya to handcrafted cocktails at 180blũ, all while overlooking the mesmerizing Pacific Ocean. 

But not just the luxurious amenities and fine dining set this resort apart. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is a destination for those who seek to connect with nature and indulge in unique experiences. From private surf lessons and eco-adventures to artist-in-residence programs and oceanfront yoga, the resort offers many activities to inspire and rejuvenate.

 The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is a luxurious resort in CA
Relax in the resort’s beautiful accommodations. | Credit: Booking.com

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel goes beyond providing a place to stay. It offers an immersive experience into California’s coastal lifestyle. It’s a place where you can relax to the rhythm of the ocean, relish in sophisticated luxury, and create unforgettable memories. Whether you are a solo traveler, a couple seeking a romantic getaway, or a family looking for a fun beach vacation, this resort promises a stay as enchanting as its panoramic views.

Looking to save BIG on airfare? I recommend signing up for Dollar Flight Club. Thanks to DFC, I saved $5,000+ on travel in 2023…so I couldn’t recommend it more!

2. Montage Laguna Beach

Perched on the dramatic cliffs of Laguna Beach, The Montage Resort offers a haven of tranquility. Surrounded by 30 acres of pristine gardens on the Pacific coast, the resort promises a serene retreat with its craftsman-style architecture and panoramic views that take in miles of sandy beaches and the vast blue expanse of the Pacific.

Montage Laguna Beach is one of the best beach resorts in california
Montage offers a peaceful resort above the cliffs of Laguna Beach. | Credit: Booking.com

Montage Laguna Beach is one of the best luxury resorts in California

The luxurious rooms and suites, each with private ocean-view balconies, are designed to blend the comforts of home with the serene elegance of beach living. The ocean’s azure blues and the sun’s warm golds echo the tasteful decor, creating an atmosphere of relaxed sophistication.

Montage Laguna Beach raises the bar for dining experiences. Its award-winning restaurants, Studio and Mosaic Bar and Grille, showcase a blend of the best Californian and French cuisine. The menus are crafted from locally-sourced ingredients and paired with a curated selection of fine wines. 

In addition to culinary delights, the resort is home to Spa Montage. This 20,000-square-foot wellness haven offers extensive holistic treatments, fitness facilities, and a therapeutic saline pool. Whether indulging in a marine-inspired treatment or meditating in a peaceful oceanfront yoga class, wellness is a way of life.

relax at Montage Laguna Beach with the resort's many amenities
Relax in Montage’s saline pool. | Credit: Booking.com

A personal concierge service complements the resort’s exceptional amenities. They ensure guests’ needs are attended to with warm, thoughtful attention. Montage Laguna Beach’s commitment to creating a personal experience extends to its recreational activities, which include beachside picnics, guided hikes, and art classes.

Whether you’re savoring world-class dishes, unwinding in the spa, or watching the sunset from your private balcony, Montage Laguna Beach is more than just a beach resort. It’s a breathtaking sanctuary where luxury meets tranquility.

3. Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara

Exuding timeless glamour and old-world charm, the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is a luxury haven on 22 acres of lush tropical gardens. Often referred to as the “American Riviera,” this beautiful beachfront resort boasts Spanish Colonial architecture, historic charm, and captivating views of the Pacific Ocean.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is one of the best beach resorts in California
The Biltmore is among the most luxury resorts in the state. | Credit: Fourseasons.com

The Biltmore is synonymous with luxury

The accommodation at The Biltmore is a harmonious blend of classic luxury and contemporary comfort. Its 207 rooms, suites, and bungalows reflect the resort’s elegance with tasteful furnishings and private patios or balconies overlooking the ocean or the blooming gardens. 

Culinary excellence is a signature of the Four Seasons experience. The resort offers a variety of dining options to delight your palate. From the innovative Californian cuisine at Bella Vista, the state’s oldest seaside restaurant, to the exotic flavors of Tydes, guests can savor a unique gastronomic journey without leaving the resort.

Yet, The Biltmore offers more than just luxury accommodations and fine dining. Guests can participate in various recreational activities such as tennis, yoga, and watersports or enjoy a round of golf at the nearby championship golf course. The Spa at Four Seasons offers a comprehensive wellness program with signature treatments to rejuvenate body and soul.

Enjoy the bungalows at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
Enjoy the comforts of your own private bungalow at the beach. | Credit: Fourseasons.com

The resort’s legendary hospitality is epitomized in its personalized services, like the Kids For All Seasons program and the concierge service. The resort goes above and beyond to ensure guests have a memorable stay. 

The Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is where the grandeur of the past meets the luxuries of the present. It offers a distinctly Californian retreat that promises relaxation, adventure, and unparalleled serenity.

4. Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes

Situated on the stunning Palos Verdes Peninsula, Terranea Resort is a luxurious coastal paradise with unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. When you stay at this secluded luxury hotel, you will experience a profound connection with nature. Spread over 102 acres, this Mediterranean-inspired resort offers a unique blend of beauty, tranquility, and eco-conscious living.

Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes is one of the best beach resorts in California
Terranea Resort offers a piece of paradise on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. | Credit: Booking.com

Experience world-class service at one of the best beach resorts in CA

The resort’s accommodations are as diverse as they are luxurious. The rooms, suites, bungalows, casitas, and villas are thoughtfully designed to enhance the breathtaking surrounding scenery. Each offers a serene, private space where guests can unwind while enjoying the stunning ocean, resort, or garden views. 

Dining at The Terranea is a treat for the senses, with eight distinct restaurants, cafes, and lounges offering everything from gourmet cuisine to casual fare. With an emphasis on farm-to-Terranea dining, guests can enjoy the freshest locally sourced ingredients in spectacular seaside settings.

Committed to environmental stewardship, Terranea stands out for its eco-recreation activities, including nature walks, bird watching, and kayaking. Its award-winning spa employs sustainable practices and offers a range of treatments and wellness programs designed to harmonize the body and mind.

Amenities at Terranea are second to none. They have four swimming pools, a nine-hole golf course, and a kids’ club, to name a few. Personalized service is at the heart of the Terranea experience, with a dedicated team ready to customize your stay and ensure it is nothing short of extraordinary.

Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes has many luxurious amenities
Terranea Resort has four swimming pools you can enjoy. | Credit: Booking.com

More than just a resort, Terranea is an experience. It offers a peaceful retreat where guests can immerse themselves in the beauty of nature, experience luxurious comfort, and enjoy authentic Southern California hospitality. A stay at The Terranea Resort is more than a vacation. It’s an opportunity to create lasting memories in a place where the rhythm of the ocean is your soundtrack.

5. Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica

Located in the heart of Santa Monica, Shutters on the Beach offers an iconic SoCal experience. This luxury beachfront hotel exudes a timeless charm, blending the relaxed spirit of a seaside cottage with the elegance and service of a grand hotel. When you’re here, you’ll feel like a celebrity. 

Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica, is one of the best beach resorts in CA
Shutters on the Beach is the pinnacle of a luxury resort. | Credit: Booking.com

Shutters on the Beach is among the best beach resorts in California

Each of the hotel’s 186 rooms and 12 suites captures the essence of the coastal lifestyle. With hardwood floors, hand-woven rugs, and custom-designed furniture, these accommodations are a tribute to craftsmanship and comfort. The private balconies offer captivating views of the Pacific Ocean, letting guests enjoy the rhythm of the waves and the soft ocean breeze.

Shutters on the Beach goes beyond serving meals; it offers gastronomic experiences. Whether dining at the oceanfront restaurant Coast, enjoying a cocktail at The Living Room, or savoring fresh seafood at 1 Pico, you’re in for a treat. Each venue showcases the culinary richness of California, offering an array of dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients.

The hotel’s amenities include a wellness spa, an outdoor pool, and a fitness center. Guests can unwind and rejuvenate without leaving the comfort of the resort. You can also take part in beach yoga sessions or rent a bicycle to explore the picturesque Santa Monica coastline.

What sets Shutters on the Beach apart is its genuine hospitality. The staff ensures every need is met, helping create a truly personalized stay. Moreover, the hotel’s location offers easy access to Santa Monica’s best attractions, including the famed Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade.

Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica is a luxury resort where coastal chic meets classic elegance
Shutters on the Beach offers a unique experience and atmosphere. | Credit: Booking.com

Shutters on the Beach invites you into a world where coastal chic meets classic elegance. This luxury resort offers an authentic Southern California experience that’s as unforgettable as its views.

6. Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego

In the heart of the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar combines the old-world charm of a Mediterranean estate with the luxuries of a world-class resort. This five-star sanctuary offers a tranquil getaway, surrounded by lush landscapes and the rhythmic echoes of California’s coastal charm. And only 12 miles from San Diego, the city life isn’t very far away. 

Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego, is one of the best beach resorts in California
The Mediterranean-style Fairmont Grand Del Mar is a beautiful luxury resort. | Credit: Booking.com

Get the celebrity treatment at Fairmont Grand Del Mar

The Fairmont Grand Del Mar boasts 249 elegantly appointed rooms and suites. Each is a haven of luxury and comfort with spacious interiors, sophisticated décor, and a private terrace or balcony overlooking the resort’s gardens or the Tom Fazio-designed golf course.

For dining, the resort offers an epicurean adventure led by its signature restaurant, Addison, Southern California’s only Michelin-starred restaurant. The resort’s other dining venues, including Amaya and the Clubhouse Grill, also promise delectable culinary experiences in picturesque settings.

The resort offers various recreational activities catering to guests of all ages. From the championship golf course and pro-style tennis courts to horseback riding trails and guided hikes, there is never a dull moment at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. The resort is also home to a lavish spa that offers a variety of pampering treatments and wellness programs to rejuvenate and revitalize.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego is a beautiful resort with a great golf course
For the ultimate stay, enjoy the championship-style golf course. | Credit: Booking.com

As one of the best beach resorts in California, The Fairmont Grand Del Mar stands apart for its commitment to personalized service. They ensure every detail of your stay is tailored to your preference. The concierge team is always ready to assist, whether you need tee time reservations, dining suggestions, or help planning your exploration of San Diego.

Explore the grandeur of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar and experience Mediterranean luxury in the heart of California.

7. The Lodge at Pebble Beach

The Lodge at Pebble Beach, located along the dramatic coastline of California’s Monterey Peninsula, is one of the best beach resorts in California. This iconic destination has been welcoming guests since 1919. It seamlessly merges luxury, comfort, and natural beauty to create a similar resort experience.

The Lodge at Pebble Beach is one of the best beach resorts in CA
The Lodge at Pebble Beach has been a landmark destination since 1919. | Credit: Pebblebeach.com

This iconic hotel is among the best beach resorts in SoCal.

Guest rooms at The Lodge are designed to deliver unparalleled relaxation and elegance. With wood-burning fireplaces, ocean-view balconies, and sumptuous décor, every room encapsulates the rustic elegance synonymous with Pebble Beach. The sound of the crashing waves and the sight of the famed 18th green of Pebble Beach Golf Links provide a backdrop that is as soothing as it is inspiring.

Dining at The Lodge is an experience in culinary excellence. From the seafood specialties at Stillwater Bar & Grill to the Italian favorites at Pèppoli, the resort’s restaurants serve world-class cuisine with breathtaking views.

The Lodge’s exceptional location allows guests to partake in a wide array of recreational activities. Home to the renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links, it offers golf enthusiasts the opportunity to play on one of the world’s most famous courses. Guests can also enjoy tennis, horseback riding, or exploring the beauty of the Monterey Peninsula on scenic hiking trails.

The award-winning Spa at Pebble Beach offers extensive services, from traditional massages and facials to specialized wellness treatments. A stay at The Lodge isn’t complete without indulging in some well-deserved pampering.

The Lodge at Pebble Beach is a serene coastal retreat in CA
Play on world-famous golf courses without leaving the property. | Credit: Pebblebeach.com

The Lodge at Pebble Beach is more than just a luxury resort; it’s a piece of California’s rich history. It offers a serene coastal retreat where guests can revel in the beauty of the surroundings, engage in exciting activities, and experience the legendary hospitality that has made it a beloved destination for over a century.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the best beach resorts in California

Now that you know where to find the best beach resorts in California, you can begin planning your next adventure. Before you do, here are some frequently asked questions about booking a trip to the best beach resorts in California. I hope my answers help you have a trip of a lifetime! 

What is the best time of year to visit the best beach resorts in California?

California, with its renowned Mediterranean-like climate, is a year-round destination. However, the best time to visit can vary depending on what you’re looking for in your beach resort experience.

The peak travel season is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is warmest and sunniest. This is an ideal time for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying water sports. Resorts like The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Montage Laguna Beach, and Shutters on the Beach offer exceptional summer amenities. You can expect private beach access, outdoor pools, and various water sports activities.

The fall months (September to November) bring milder temperatures and fewer crowds. This makes autumn a great time to enjoy outdoor activities like golfing, hiking, or exploring local attractions in comfort. Resorts like Fairmont Grand Del Mar and The Lodge at Pebble Beach offer world-class golf courses that can be particularly enjoyable during these months.

Winter (December to February) and spring (March to May) are also excellent times to visit. While temperatures can be cooler, particularly in Northern California, it’s often still warm enough for outdoor activities. You may also find lower rates and fewer crowds at the resorts.

Of course, many of these resorts also offer unique amenities that can be enjoyed year-round, such as spa treatments, fine dining experiences, and fitness facilities. Ultimately, the best time to visit these California beach resorts depends on your preferences and the activities you most enjoy.

Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County is a beautiful beach in California
Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County.

What is the prettiest beach in California?

Determining the prettiest beach in California is no easy feat, given the state’s expansive coastline teeming with numerous stunning options. However, among the many contenders, Carmel Beach stands out as one of the most captivating beaches in California.

Located at the foot of the quaint Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel Beach is a picturesque hideaway that encapsulates the breathtaking beauty of the California coast. It’s famed for its stunning white sands that contrast sharply with the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean. Fringed by cypress trees, the beach offers a dramatic view of the rugged coastline and Pebble Beach’s legendary golf links in the distance.

Carmel Beach isn’t just a feast for the eyes. Its calm waters make it an excellent location for swimming, surfing, and beachcombing. The scenic beach is also home to the Carmel Beach Monterey Cypress forest, a unique ecosystem found only in this part of the world.

As the sun sets, Carmel Beach transforms into one of the best spots for sunset viewing. The beach permits bonfires, adding a cozy element to evening beach visits.

With its combination of natural beauty and serene ambiance, Carmel Beach is undoubtedly one of California’s prettiest beaches. However, the true beauty of California’s coast is its variety, with each beach offering its unique allure and appeal.

What’s the warmest beach in California?

California’s coastline stretches over 800 miles. This means beach temperatures vary greatly from the northern part of the state to the southern regions. Generally, the warmest beaches are found in Southern California, particularly during the summer months.

Among these, Coronado Beach in San Diego is considered one of the warmest. Bathed by the southern sun, this expansive beach experiences average high temperatures, often reaching into the 70s Fahrenheit even in the winter. In the summer, they can soar into the 80s. The water temperature also tends to be warmer here, typically in the mid-60s to low-70s Fahrenheit during the summer.

Coronado Beach’s warmer temperatures are complemented by its stunning beauty. It boasts a tranquil, laid-back vibe, soft white sands, and calm, clear waters. It’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The iconic Hotel Del Coronado adds a touch of historic charm to the beachscape. 

However, remember that weather can be unpredictable, and it’s always a good idea to check the forecast before planning your beach visit. Nevertheless, Coronado Beach is an excellent choice for those seeking warmth and an iconic Southern California beach experience.

Coronado Beach in San Diego is one of the warmest beaches in California.
Coronado Beach in San Diego is one of the warmest beaches in California.

What beach in California has the best weather?

When considering the beach with the best weather in California, it’s important to note that the ideal conditions often depend on personal preferences. Naturally, “best” weather can be subjective. Some might prefer a cooler, more refreshing climate, while others may seek warmth and sunshine.

However, for consistently pleasant, mild weather year-round, Santa Barbara is top for the best beach weather in California. 

Santa Barbara Beach offers an enviable Mediterranean climate characterized by moderate, often warm temperatures throughout the year. The average high temperature rarely dips below 60 degrees Fahrenheit even in the winter. In the summer, it tends to hover in the mid-to-high 70s. Rain is infrequent and usually confined to the winter months. Humidity is relatively low, and there’s plenty of sunshine throughout the year.

Besides enjoying the weather, there’s a lot to do around Santa Barbara Beach. You can take in scenic views, engage in water sports, and explore the area’s vibrant dining and shopping scene.

Of course, California is known for its favorable beach weather as a whole. As such, many beaches, especially in the southern part of the state, offer sunny, warm conditions for most of the year. Always check current weather conditions before planning your visit.

What sets the best beach resorts apart from other accommodations in California?

These seven resorts set the benchmark for luxury accommodations in California, providing not just a place to stay but a complete experience. They stand out because of their stunning locations, from beachfront settings to dramatic cliff-top vistas, providing guests with breathtaking views and easy access to the beautiful Californian outdoors.

Each resort offers a unique combination of luxurious rooms and suites, world-class dining experiences, superb facilities, and a wide range of recreational activities. Above all, they excel in providing personalized service, ensuring each guest’s stay is not just comfortable but truly unforgettable. It’s these elements that make these resorts the best in California.

You may also like

Leave a Comment