Craggy rocks rise up along a smooth sandy beach as waves wash up on shore.

The Best California Beaches

From wide, golden beaches with abundant sunshine to boardwalks crowded with kids, cotton candy, and roller coasters, California has any kind of beach you could possibly want. Author Stuart Thornton shares a helpful overview of some of the state’s best options for sun, sand, and surf.

Low waves roll in to a sandy beach surrounded by tall sandstone cliffs.

Discover the California Road Trip

Take a look at a map of California, and you’ll discover that some of the top destinations in the country are within a day’s drive of one another: San Francisco, Yosemite, and Los Angeles. Push past the state’s borders and add Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, and you’ll have the road trip of a lifetime.

City lights spread out, cut through by a ribbon of light made from tail and headlights.

Visiting Los Angeles with Road Trip Expert Jamie Jensen

Love it or hate it, one thing you can’t do about L.A. is ignore it. Road trip expert Jamie Jensen has recommendations for where to eat and where to stay when you’re there. In keeping with the city’s car-centered culture, he also suggests a tour that focuses on a pair of quintessential L.A. drives.

The thin stream of McWay Falls takes backseat to the dramatic rocky cove studded with pines.

Coastal California Road Trip: The Sights of Big Sur

Soaring cliffs dropping to sporadic white-sand beaches exemplify the Big Sur coastline made legendary in film and literature. The region is explored via Highway 1, also called the Pacific Coast Highway, a road that hugs sheer cliffs and passes several state parks, resorts, and restaurants like Nepenthe, seemingly perched on the edge of the world.