Photo courtesy of The Resort at Pelican Hill
It’s no secret that California takes the award for some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. From the famous celebrity-trodden sands in Malibu all the way north to the idyllic beaches in Carmel-by-the-Sea, there's nothing like a summer vacation by the ocean.
The iconic Highway 1 offers the perfect road trip route where you can enjoy epic views of the mountains and ocean all in one day. Whether you’re fleeing East Coast winters or just craving a beachside getaway, there are dozens of stunning resorts that dot the Pacific Coast Highway, offering luxurious accommodations and amenities ideal for a weekend escape.
Here are the 10 best oceanfront hotels in California that are worth visiting.
Photo courtesy of The Resort at Pelican Hill
The Resort at Pelican Hill - Newport Beach
The crown jewel of Newport Beach, The Resort at Pelican Hill is a dreamy seaside haven with Italian-inspired architecture that will whisk you away to Rome. Spacious light-filled bungalows with wood detail feature a cream-colored palette, an ultra-private patio and luxury amenities like a fireplace to make you feel right at home.
Admire the panoramic Pacific Ocean views from The Coliseum Pool & Grill terrace, where you’ll also get the best view of the stunning circular pool – one of the largest in the world. For added relaxation, book a private cabana on the terrace and enjoy light bites served from the restaurant, such as fish tacos and the avocado toast with crab.
Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach
Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach - Dana Point
The contemporary oceanside resort, formerly called Monarch Beach Resort, is a laidback luxury hotel that gives off a relaxed feel but doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to exceptional service, as one would expect from a Waldorf Astoria property.
Well-appointed guestrooms on higher floors offer balconies where glimpses of the ocean can be seen, and select ground level rooms have their own fire pit to cozy up to. Spend a day on the immaculate 18-hole golf course with ocean views or lounge poolside at one of three pools, including an adult lap pool.
For dinner, chef Michael Mina brings his culinary talents to Bourbon Steak, a modern American steakhouse, or take the hotel tram to the private oceanside Monarch Bay Beach Club restaurant. In town, Dana Point recently welcomed Glasspar, a classic seafood restaurant that offers an extensive menu of both raw and cooked fish.
Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
Relax and enjoy incredible views of the Pacific Ocean at this coastal hideaway that sits on 78 acres. The expansive Spanish-style property features three infinity-edge pools, six dining options and a 42,000-square-foot spa.
Start your night at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara with sunset cocktails at Angel Oak, an upscale steakhouse with ocean views and an impressive wine selection that spans a 12,000-bottle cellar. The guestrooms feature a large soaking tub and French doors that lead to a patio. Select garden rooms also feature a private fire pit perfect for making s’mores.
Photo courtesy of Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
The Manchester Grand Hyatt is located in downtown San Diego within walking distance to the Gaslamp Quarter, restaurants and many attractions. It’s hard to miss the waterfront hotel that towers over the harbor, so make sure to reserve a room that faces the bay for the best views.
Head to the adults-only rooftop pool that offers skyline views or the family pool on the fourth floor for those traveling with kids. Venture off property for a healthy but tasty meal at Parakeet Cafe in Little Italy which serves colorful salads, macrobiotic bowls and tons of caffeinated drink options that you never knew existed.
In University Heights, Madison serves eclectic dishes with a Mediterranean flair, including an elevated shish kabob plate and salmon skewers that are not to be missed.
Photo courtesy of Terranea Resort
Terranea Resort - Rancho Palos Verdes
Nestled on the coastal bluffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, this suburban oasis provides the ultimate sanctuary with private bungalows, residential-style casitas and villas spread across 102 acres. Just 30 minutes outside of Los Angeles, Terranea is ideal for travelers looking to escape the city bustle and unwind during a quiet retreat.
A mix of casual and high-end dining options are available, many of which offer endless ocean views. Enjoy an outdoor seaside workout offered daily or choose from one of four swimming pools to take a dip in (look out for the 140-foot water slide at the main resort pool).
Photo courtesy of © 2017 Lisa Romerein
Shutters on the Beach - Santa Monica
Located just a few feet away from the ocean, this beachside retreat embodies the Southern California spirit with classic cottages that feel like private residences. Soak up the sun by the hotel pool or go for a swim at the beach. Enjoy al fresco dining at the 1 Pico courtyard which celebrates California cuisine and the local farmers markets.
Rent one of the bikes at the hotel and ride (or walk) to the world-famous Venice Beach just minutes away. If you’re feeling adventurous, continue riding south about 12 miles until you reach the beautiful Manhattan Beach. Have a farm-to-table lunch and sip on craft cocktails at Manhattan Beach Post – that is, if you can get a reservation.
Photo courtesy of Malibu Beach Inn
Malibu Beach Inn - Malibu
Set right on the legendary Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu Beach Inn is home to 47 oceanfront guestrooms and provides easy access to the exclusive stretch of Carbon Beach, otherwise known as Billionaire’s Beach. The coastal-inspired rooms are designed with neutral tones reflecting upscale living and barefoot luxury.
Cozy guestrooms are well-equipped with Smeg tea kettles, Nespresso coffee machines, luxury Italian linens and Bamford toiletries. Carbon Beach Club is the hotel’s only restaurant on-property, which offers terrace views of the Malibu Pier. Other popular restaurants nearby include Nobu, which draws a celebrity clientele and Malibu Farm Restaurant which serves casual, farm-to-table fare.
Photo courtesy of Joann Dost
The Inn at Spanish Bay - Pebble Beach
Golfers will love The Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach, a renowned golf destination in Monterey. If the sweeping ocean views and 18-hole championship golf course are not what brought you here, then perhaps it’s Roy’s at Pebble Beach, a vibrant Hawaiian-fusion restaurant with fresh seafood as the main focus.
Relax at one of the nine fire pits on the outdoor terrace and enjoy live music in the lobby lounge every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. The resort is located on the scenic 17-mile drive that offers spectacular vista points, golf course views, and access to other outdoor attractions like Lone Cypress, Bird Rock and more.
Photo courtesy of La Valencia Hotel
La Valencia Hotel - La Jolla
La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla is a Mediterranean-inspired gem that blends classic beauty with laid-back elegance. The distinctive pink-colored building nicknamed the “Pink Lady” has become an icon in La Jolla with enough charm to make you feel like you’re in Europe.
The pet-friendly hotel offers classic and vintage guest rooms that have been recently redesigned, adding more modern elements. Family travelers will enjoy the spacious villas that feature private balconies with direct access to La Jolla Cove.
The hotel is a short walk from downtown La Jolla, which is home to many upscale boutiques and restaurants, but most of your time will likely be spent enjoying the seaside resort and its amenities.
Photo courtesy of Blake Marvin
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay perched on a cliffside is the Bay area’s only luxury oceanfront resort. The luxurious spa and golf resort is a short 30-minute drive from San Francisco and offers the perfect setting for a romantic getaway.
Adventure seekers will enjoy the variety of recreational activities offered on and off the property, including horseback riding, sea kayaking, bike riding, whale watching and surfing. Book an ocean view room with a terrace fire pit. It's equipped with Adirondack chairs that will be calling your name in the summer.