From stunning Pacific vistas to luxurious accommodations, these are the best oceanfront hotels in California!
If California is known for one thing, it’s having the best beaches in the continental U.S. — so it should come as no surprise that it’s home to some of the most stunning hotels with ocean views! Knowing this is a main draw — and an unforgettable experience — for those visiting the Golden State, we’ve collected a list of our favorite, most beautiful oceanfront hotels in California.
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Most Beautiful Oceanfront Hotels in California
Ventana Big Sur
Accommodations near Big Sur are highly sought after but rare to find — unless you’re lucky enough to score a room at the adults-only Ventana Inn & Spa!
“Stunning” is the only word to describe this hotel sitting in the mountainous hillside overlooking the ocean, which seamlessly integrates both nature and minimalist luxury into its aesthetic. Choose your preference of sea or forest views, and opt for a fireplace or hot tub perfect for chilly coastal nights!
Read more: The Best Small Luxury Hotels Of The World
Hotel del Coronado
San Diego isn’t all just surf and sand — history is at the forefront of this oceanfront property that embraces classic charm from it’s 1800’s origins with a refined touch.
Fondly referred to as “The Del,” the Hotel del Coronado is a sprawling victorian hotel and it was the filming location for various movies and hosted major stars like Marilyn Monroe, and is even registered as a National Historic Landmark! Cozy up to a beach bonfire, enjoy live music or catch a movie under the stars(!) at this majestic, one-of-a-kind San Diego gem.
Read more: The Best Places to Photograph in San Diego
The Inn Above Tide
Anyone familiar with San Francisco knows the most magical views come not from the city but from across the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito!
Bay views from this independently-owned establishment are unmatched by nearly anything else in the area, and the intimacy of a small hotel fits the small-town feel of Marin County’s charming neighborhoods.
Montage Laguna Beach
Photos don’t quite do the panoramic views from this Laguna gem justice! The Montage is one of the best hotels in Laguna Beach and it brings the classic light and airy beach feel indoors, keeping true to the Laguna’s small beach town feel.
A major draw to this resort is the tranquil on-site spa, with extensive salon services offered to complete the experience. Private yacht charter to Catalina, anyone?!
If Rancho Palos Verdes wasn’t on your radar of gorgeous seaside escapes, it is now! Just a short few miles from the ferry that takes you to Catalina Island, Terranea offers full, unobstructed views of the island right from your balcony — something few other hotels can offer!
What also sets this beauty apart are unique activities offered on-site like horseback riding and a stunning 9-hole oceanfront golf course. Without a doubt, this is one of the closest and easiest luxury beach getaways from Los Angeles.
Shutters on the Beach
Shutters on the Beach is a quaint, unassuming coastal getaway right in Santa Monica, though photos of this property might make you question if you’re even on the west coast!
Enjoy your marble spa tub (featured in every room) indoors, or make your way outdoors to the luxe pool or yoga on the beach. Shutters prides itself on their extraordinary 5-star treatment to its guests, which might be our favorite thing about this property yet!
The appeal of Carmel is its charm, so it should be no surprise the L’Auberge is nothing short of something straight out of fairytale.
Recognized for excellence by a Michelin-star restaurant and Relais & Chateaux (an association recognizing only 600 establishments worldwide for their accommodation and dining experience), L’Auberge Carmel offers everything you’d want in a stay in this central California coastal town. Enjoy customized itineraries, fresh flower baths, local wine tastings and a short 5 minute walk to the beach.
Read more: CA Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Guide
With Golden Gate Bridge views, you can’t ask for much more of a San Francisco coastal lodge. Across the bridge in picturesque Sausalito, Cavallo Point offers everything you could ever want and more: Sunday sails, watercolor painting, guided meditations, cooking classes and kayak tours of the Bay.
Activities aside, the accommodations are exactly what you’d hope for and expect — views of the Northern California coast and hills, cuisine to die for and an absolutely serene setting!
Read more: 20 Best Things to Do in San Francisco
Resort at Pelican Hill
The Resort at Pelican Hill on the Newport coast boasts incredible Italian Renaissance architecture and — at 504 acres — is easily the largest-spanning resort on our list!
The rare, circular coliseum pool is a unique feature against the oceanview backdrop, as is the full 36-hole golf course towering over the seas. Above all, Pelican Hill values privacy — a reason many celebrities opt for the bungalows and villas on this unbelievable property.
The Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
This Ritz Carlton, located far enough from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco to be deemed a retreat, has unobstructed views of the gorgeous rocky Northern California coast worthy of a movie set!
“Romantic” is the perfect word to describe this resort, providing all the amenities and experiences you’d expect of such an esteemed brand — and recognitions like Architectural Digest’s “Most Beautiful Hotel” in California to prove it!
Heritage House Resort & Spa
Surrounded by redwoods on Mendocino’s coast is boutique hotel Heritage House Resort & Spa — a nature-lover’s paradise!
Enjoy walking 37 acres of forested oceanfront trails, Sunday morning yoga, a custom spa treatment or cozy up to your private fireplace. The ocean-facing deck is perfect for sipping local wines, and spa-like bathrooms ensure you’re more than comfortable throughout your stay!
Malibu Beach Inn
Malibu Beach Inn is exactly what you’d expect from quintessential Malibu — light, airy atmosphere, direct access to the beach, views of the pier and a casual, chic aesthetic.
An on-site spa and oceanfront dining are a given, but unique to the property is a high-end, curated art collection tastefully showcased throughout, supplemented by the natural beauty of Malibu’s coastline.
The Lodge at Torrey Pines
Torrey Pines, known for its celeb-status golf course and ultra-luxe La Jolla beach setting, is home to the charming Lodge at Torrey Pines. Decorated in granite, marble and refined wood, the Lodge embraces a timeless look and beautifully marries comfort with class.
With ocean, golf course and/or botanical garden views from every room, there’s no question why this hotel is the San Diego choice for major events like celeb chef events and golfing tournaments, and an obvious choice for intimate occasions like weddings and honeymoons!
Read more: Things to Do in San Diego for Couples
Coastal California Packing Essentials
Heavy Sweater: Everyone thinks of sunny California being warm all year long, so foggy summer mornings and cool, breezy sunsets can catch newcomers off guard! Be sure to bring a warm fleece or sweater to cut the chill.
SPF: Even when cloudy, the UV index on the California coast is almost always high. Don’t think that a little cloud cover dismisses the need for major UV protection in high-quality sunscreen — the higher the SPF, the better!
Drybag: Consider bringing a small drybag pouch on beach outings, even if you don’t plan on getting in the water. Drybag pouches not only protect your personal items like phone, keys and wallet from moisture, but they can also be buried in the sand near your beach spot to be hidden away and prevent theft.
Versatile Sandals: California coastal cities and towns are largely casual, so a comfortable pair of versatile sandals that can be worn to the beach, dinner and around town are a necessity!
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