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This Dreamy Southern California Road Trip Takes You To 12 Secret Beaches

Are you ready to discover some hidden gems along the coastline of Southern California? 

Imagine walking along the sand of a secret beach that few other people know about.

In fact, some of these beaches are so unknown that you might have the entire thing to yourself!

Join us on this ultimate SoCal road trip that leads you to the most secluded, stunning beaches that are tucked away from the usual tourist spots. 

From the rugged cliffs of Malibu to the tranquil sands of hidden coves, this road trip takes you to many breathtaking beaches that only the locals know about. 

Let’s explore!

1. Camino Del Sur Beach

Rahul Vishwakarma / Google Reviews

Camino Del Sur Beach is a hidden treasure that few people know about in Isla Vista.

Located near the University of California in Santa Barbara, this beach is known for its stunning sunsets and laid-back vibe. 

You can access the beach via a stairway that you’ll find at the end of Camino Del Sur road.

It’s a favorite spot for students and locals who love relaxing and picnicking on the sandy shores.

One fun fact is that you might even catch sight of dolphins playing in the waves!

陳衍昊 / Google Reviews

With its relaxed atmosphere and beautiful scenery, Camino Del Sur Beach is a perfect place to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the California coast.

Please note this beach is only accessible during low tide. It completely disappears during high tide.

2. La Conchita Beach

La Conchita Beach is another hidden gem that you can’t miss!

This wide stretch of sand never gets busy and is usually very quiet, if not completely empty.

Jon Sullivan / Flickr

Located between Ventura and Santa Barbara, this beach is known for its peaceful, uncrowded shores and stunning ocean views. 

It’s a great spot for walking, surfing, fishing and beachcombing, with lots of cool shells like sand dollars and sea glass to find. 

The beach is right next to a charming little village, also called La Conchita, which adds to its cozy, secluded feel. 

You can also sometimes even spot dolphins and seals playing in the surf! 

3. Carbon Beach

Carbon Beach, located in Malibu, is a stunning spot that very few tourists know about. 

Often called “Billionaire’s Beach,” it’s famous for the luxurious beachfront homes lining its shores. 

Despite its high-end neighbors, the beach itself is public and offers a peaceful retreat with soft, golden sand and gentle waves. 

It’s a fantastic place for a quiet walk, sunbathing or simply watching the beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean. 

It feels like a private beach even though it isn’t!

Fun fact: you might even spot a celebrity or two as many Hollywood stars own homes here! 

They love Carbon Beach as it’s usually pretty quiet and peaceful.

4. Abalone Cove Beach

Abalone Cove Beach is a stunning hidden beach in Los Angeles County that few people know about.

Located in Rancho Palos Verdes, this beach is known for its beautiful tide pools and stunning coastal views. 

It’s a great place for hiking, exploring marine life and enjoying a picnic with family or friends. 

The beach has a network of trails that lead you to scenic overlooks and hidden coves. 

A fun fact about Abalone Cove is that it’s part of a marine protected area so the wildlife here is especially vibrant and diverse. 

Abalone Cove Beach is the perfect secret beach in California, whether you’re searching for colorful sea creatures or just looking to relax by the ocean.

5. Bay Shore Beach

Bay Shore Beach is another incredible secret beach you can’t miss. 

You’ll find it along Alamitos Bay in Long Beach.

Tucked away in the charming neighborhood of Belmont Shore, this beach is known for its extremely calm waters and family-friendly atmosphere.

It’s a perfect spot for swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking and beach volleyball. 

A unique feature of Bay Shore Beach is its floating platform which is a hit with both kids and adults for sunbathing and diving. 

The beach is also just a short walk from Second Street, where you can find cool shops and tasty restaurants. 

6. Sleepy Hollow Beach

Sleepy Hollow Beach is a hidden gem located in Laguna Beach that few people know about. 

Located just off Pacific Coast Highway, this beach is known for its serene atmosphere and stunning ocean views. 

It’s a great spot for swimming, surfing and exploring tide pools filled with colorful sea life. 

Sleepy Hollow Beach is a favorite among locals for its peaceful vibe and less crowded shores. 

The beach also features unique rock formations and cozy nooks that are perfect for picnics or a quiet afternoon of sunbathing. 

Sleepy Hollow Beach is a must-visit for anyone looking to enjoy the best of Laguna Beach’s coastline without the crowds.

The waves can be strong here so it’s not ideal for small children or weak swimmers.

7. Coast Royale Beach

John Hatch / Google Reviews

Coast Royale Beach in Laguna Beach is one of the most beautiful secret beaches on this list.

Located just off Pacific Coast Highway near Laguna Royale condominiums, this beach is known for its beautiful, clear waters and dramatic cliffs. 

It has a tropical feel to it with vibrant turquoise waters and soft white sand. You’ll feel like you’re in Hawaii!

Ben Park / Google Reviews

It’s a perfect place for swimming, snorkeling and exploring the vibrant tide pools teeming with marine life. 

Coast Royale Beach is usually pretty quiet as few people know about it, giving you a peaceful retreat from the busier beaches nearby. 

You can also enjoy sunbathing on the soft sand or having a cozy picnic with stunning ocean views.

8. Poche Beach

Graeme Thickins / Flickr

Poche Beach is another must-visit secret beach that only the locals know about.

Located between Dana Point and San Clemente, this rocky beach is known for its quiet, laid-back vibe and beautiful coastal scenery. 

It’s a great spot for enjoying long walks along the shore as it is usually pretty empty. 

Whilst swimming is possible here there have been some issues with water quality over the years so check before you visit.

Otherwise you can simply stroll along the sand, have a picnic on the beach and enjoy the stunning coastal scenery.

9. Gladiator Beach

Kegan Heaps / Google Reviews

Gladiator Beach is an awesome hidden spot that you’ll wish you knew about sooner!

Tucked away within San Onofre State Beach, this beach is known for its rugged beauty and excellent surfing conditions. 

It’s a great place for surfing, beachcombing and enjoying the natural scenery. 

Jesus Adrian Sanchez / Google Reviews

Gladiator Beach is less crowded than other nearby beaches so offers a more secluded and peaceful experience. 

You might even spot some local wildlife, such as dolphins and sea birds, while relaxing on the sandy shore. 

Please be aware that this beach is clothing optional!

10. Boneyard Beach

Colleen V / Google Reviews

Boneyard Beach in Encinitas is a fantastic hidden gem that rarely gets busy at all.

Located just south of Moonlight State Beach, it’s known for its beautiful, rugged cliffs and excellent surfing waves. 

This beach is a favorite among local surfers and a great spot for beachcombing and sunbathing.

Joe Boyle / Google Reviews

Boneyard Beach is only accessible by foot which adds to its secluded charm and is the reason why it’s usually pretty quiet.

You can access it by walking south for 10 minutes along the neighboring D Street Beach where there is a stairway that leads down from the street.

You can explore the fascinating towering rock formations and find unique shells along the shore. 

11. Wipeout Beach

Wipeout Beach in La Jolla is an exciting stop that you cannot miss! 

Located just south of La Jolla Cove, this beach is known for its stunning rocky shoreline and dramatic waves, making it a popular spot for surfers. 

It’s also a great place for exploring tide pools filled with fascinating marine life during low tide.

Seals and sea lions can often be spotted sunbathing along the shore here. 

This place tends to be pretty quiet as all of the tourists tend to flock to La Jolla Cove or Children’s Pool Beach instead.

A fun fact about Wipeout Beach is that its name comes from the powerful waves that can “wipe out” even the most experienced surfers so be super careful if you plan on surfing here.

The beach offers breathtaking views and is a perfect spot for photography and sunset watching. 

Swimming here can be dangerous due to rip currents so be careful.

12. Bermuda Beach

Bermuda Beach is a hidden beach in San Diego that few people know about.

Tucked away in the Sunset Cliffs neighborhood, this beach is known for its stunning cliffs, crystal-clear waters and serene atmosphere. 

It’s an ideal spot for sunbathing, exploring tide pools and taking in breathtaking ocean views. 

Bermuda Beach is a favorite among local photographers for its spectacular sunsets. They’re truly mesmerizing.

The beach is also great for a peaceful walk along the shore with plenty of unique rock formations to discover along the way.

Bermuda Beach is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of San Diego’s more crowded beaches.

Sophie Davis

Born and raised in the Bay area of California, Sophie is a California native. She joined our team in 2023 to create travel guides on California.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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