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Five top beach resorts in Southern California

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Southern California has no shortage of coastline. With the coastline comes hotels and other lodging facilities to host travelers while they enjoy the sun, surf and sand. From Santa Barbara in the north, to San Diego in the south, Southern California has hundreds of beach resorts or hotels where sandals and swimsuits are the dress code and the catch of the day is pulled from nearby waters.

Some of the most luxurious coastal resorts in Southern California don't have easy beach access. Not to be missed among them are Santa Barbara's Four Seasons Biltmore, L.A.'s Terranea, Newport's Pelican Hill and San Diego's Grand Del Mar. While these resorts have unparalleled views of the Pacific, as well as stunning resort grounds with sparkling pools and sun decks, many travelers want a hotel set on the beach, or at least have an easy stroll to the sand.

The following hotels and resorts are situated either on the sand, or close enough to meander across a street or over a boardwalk.

Ritz-Carlton Resort Laguna Niguel
Ritz-Carlton Resort Laguna Niguel Ritz-Carlton web image

Ritz-Carlton Resort Laguna Niguel

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel has become legendary among discerning travelers wanting proximity to Orange County shopping, dining and ocean activities. Resting atop a 150-foot bluff along the coastline, guests have easy access to the beach below from a winding path down the cliff side. Travelers seeking a personal journey can rejuvenate in the ocean-inspired spa, tee off on nearby greens, or explore the Eco-Adventure Center. The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel offers year-around indoor and outdoor recreation, is family and pet friendly, and offers luxury with a capital L.

Fess Parker Doubletree Resort
Fess Parker Doubletree Resort Fess Parker Doubletree web image

Fess Parker Doubletree Resort

A dramatic mission-style hotel, the Fess Parker Doubletree sits on 24 beachfront acres in the heart of Santa Barbara. Rich with amenities and an extensive array of activities—like the spa and wine tasting—the Fess Parker has activities on the beach and off. Lounge by the pool, walk along the soft sand beach, dine at one of the resort’s five restaurants, or browse through the nearby Santa Barbara boutiques and gift stores. 

Hotel del Coronado
Hotel del Coronado Hotel del Coronado web image

Hotel del Coronado

Built on the sands of San Diego Bay’s Coronado Island more than 120 years ago, the Hotel del Coronado was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977. A beacon of grandeur and refinement among vacation destinations in Southern California and the world, the resort is a living legend visited by celebrities, dignitaries, U.S. presidents and ordinary people wanting to experience history. The Del maintains its vintage style, while also offering contemporary conveniences such as digital electronics and wi-fi, beachfront dining, an award-winning spa, upscale shopping, a variety of recreational activities and the luxurious cottages and villas at Beach Village.

Shutters on the Beach
Shutters on the Beach Shutters on the Beach web image

Shutters on the Beach

Just steps from the sand of Southern California’s legendary Santa Monica, Shutters on the Beach brings high-style warmth and urban sophistication to this coastal resort. Rooms are decked out with Tibetan rugs over hardwood floors, bookcases stocked with a popular reading material and keepsakes, plush linens and bedding. Marble bathrooms have built-in TVs, whirlpool tubs, complimentary candles, and fully loaded “Bath and Beach Chests.” Shutters on the Beach is where celebrities book their friends for L.A. beach fun. Guests can dine at two upscale restaurants or enjoy drinks in the resort’s welcoming “living room.”

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Hyatt Regency Hunting Beach web image

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa sits across iconic California Highway 1 (also known as Pacific Coast Highway) and is connected to the warm sands of Surf City by a walking bridge over the highway. When not relaxing on the sand, guests enjoy pillow-top beds with luxurious down comforters, plush bathrobes, 42-inch flat-panel TVs, and media dock. Guests can take nourishment from two full-service restaurants, or dine poolside when not on the beach. Activities can be arranged for guest of all ages, ranging from surf instruction, to arcade gaming, to a full-service spa, to roasting marshmallows in the fire pits.

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