Seascapes: The 13 Most Beautiful Beaches in SoCal for Photography
When Southern Living polled its readers, they ranked a few California beaches as some of the best beaches in the entire country (yes, beating out because in both Hawaii and Florida). It’s no surprise that the sleepy, jagged coastline of California is a hotspot for tourists looking to enjoy quiet beaches and stunning spots for photos.
However, we’ll argue that Southern California, specifically, is full of beautiful beaches that are fantastic for photography. Whether you’re interested in nature photography and catching a glimpse of some bright blue waves or simply need a spot for some great selfies, here are our top pictures for the 13 most beautiful beaches in SoCal.
Most Beautiful Beaches in SoCal
El Matador Beach
Jagged cliffs and secret caves await you at this dreamy Malibut hotspot. El Matador Beach is one of the most stunning beaches in SoCal and it’s situated right next to all of the homes of Hollywood’s hottest stars. Enjoy blufftop parking where you can pose for photos against the setting sun atop the sea. Or, visit on a clear day and take photos inside of the caves during golden hour.
Newport Beach ranked as one of the best beaches in the country in the Southern Living poll, but it’s Balboa Island that’s the real gem. This harborside community is accessible via a bridge or ferry (although we’d suggest the latter for extra photo ops). Take photos along the boardwalk, visit the original frozen banana stand, and wait until sunset for stunning photos by the water.
The famous show by the same name made this beachside city one of the most visited in Southern California. It’s located south of Los Angeles in Orange County and is home to numerous lesser-known beaches great for socially distanced photography. This includes Thousand Steps, Crescent Bay, and Victoria Beach, all of which are great cove beaches ideal for portrait sessions and couples photos.
We’re somewhat cheating with this one as Pirate Towers is located at Virginia Beach, mentioned above. However, it’s such a great spot in SoCal for photography that it’s well worth the mention. It’s a mysterious tower built in 1926 that’s perched over the waves. The medieval-looking structure isn’t accessible, but you can visit the beach and take photos with the tower in the background.
Point Fermin Park
For sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean from above, head to Point Fermin Park in San Pedro. The historic lighthouse has been the site of many weddings and the sunsets here can be truly stunning. Pose against the setting sun with the sea in the background or take photos along the bluffs above.
San Clemente State Beach
Away from the crowds at other top beaches in Southern California, San Clemente State Beach is a hidden gem for those who love picturesque views and space to camp on the sand. We’d suggest this spot if you want to have a cute campervan photoshoot. Load it up with cozy blankets and some fairy lights and have a couples photo session here with the beach in the background.
If Laguna Beach is too crowded for you, head over to Huntington Beach, known for its impressively long pier and the great surf. While the city of Huntington Beach itself is pretty great for exploring, we suggest sitting along the shore and waiting until sunset to snap some superb photos with the orange skyline and the pier in the background.
San Ramon Reserve
Rancho Palos Verdes is one of the best spots in SoCal for pretty beaches. Literally, it’s full of them. And, the San Ramon Reserve is home to a 100-acre parcel that surrounds the switchbacks of Palos Verdes Drive East, ideal for hiking and adventure. Charge your camera and take photos along the hike for the perfect #HikeLA photoshoot.
Del Cerro Park
Del Cerro Park is another great spot to visit in Rancho Palos Verde if you’re interested in sweeping views atop a tall bluff. What’s so great about this public park is that it’s home to benches that are perfect for photo-taking. They look out onto the beach below, offering an ideal backdrop for any kind of photo.
Flat Rock Beach
Ah, La Jolla. It’s one of SoCal’s best-kept secrets. While millions of tourists flock to Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego, La Jolla feels somewhat still untouched. That’s great news for you, because Flat Rock Beach isn’t usually loaded with tourists. You’ll find it tucked away in Torrey Pines and home to, well, large flat rocks. Their unique look makes them a great spot to take unique beach photos.
Table Rock Beach
Similar to Flat Rock Beach, Table Rock Beach in Laguna is another great spot for unique finds. The side of the cliffs are carved in a way that provides unique textures to photos, and the waves crash in at just the right angle for a fantastic action photo. Tide pools and tall staircases complete the look for this photo-perfect beach in SoCal.
Abalone Cove Shoreline Park
Impressive coves, large rocks, and blue-green water mix to form an idyllic location at this Rancho Palos Verdes beach. In the park, there are two main areas that are ideal for photo-taking. Abalone Cove and Sacred Cove both feature quiet little tidepools and waves that crash into the secluded coves. Head up to the blufftops for a bird’s eye view of the magic.
Inspiration Point @ Corona Del Mar
It’s easy to feel inspired at this Corona Del Mar lookout. Inspiration Point gets its name from the enchanting views it offers visitors. It’s popular at sunset, and it’s pretty easy to see why. The winding walkway that leads down to the water perfectly frames the beach in a way that lights up as the sun goes down.
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