The 15 Cheapest California Beach Towns: Affordable Locations

Are you dreaming of a summer spent soaking up the California sunshine, splashing in sparkling blue waters, and exploring charming coastlines on the cheapest California beach towns? 

Then you’ll be happy to know that not all CA beaches are expensive. Many of the state’s most picturesque beaches are affordable for anyone to enjoy year-round. 

You can find affordable CA beach towns, from small fishing communities to hidden gems away from big city crowds, regardless of location or price preference. 

These coastal havens offer everything you need for a relaxing vacation without breaking the bank.

If you’re looking for an affordable beach getaway this summer, check out our list of the cheapest California beach towns. 

1. Ventura

Ventura
Source: visitventuraca.com

Top beaches: Solimar beach, San Buenaventura state beach, Emma Wood state beach, Hollywood beach, Harbor Cove beach, Oxnard Beach Park, Rincon point, Mondos beach, and Mandalay beach

Population: 109, 925

If you’re a Southern California native, Ventura might be your go-to beach town. This coastal city is a great place to spend a few days exploring the beach, visiting historical attractions, and enjoying the many dining and shopping options. 

Located just one hour from the coast of Los Angeles, Ventura is the perfect place for a day trip or weekend getaway. Plus, it’s one of the cheapest California beach towns, so you can enjoy your time there on a budget. 

2. Long Beach

Long Beach
Source: planetware.com

Top beaches: Alamitos bay beach, Marine stadium beach, Belmont shore beach, Peninsula beach, Rosie’s dog beach, Mothers beach, Shoreline Aquatic Park, and Alamitos park beach. 

Population: 456,062

Long Beach is a relatively busy town considering its population. It’s one of the most affordable California beach towns, with a unique family-friendly atmosphere. 

This thriving port city offers great attractions for travelers of all ages, including the aquarium of the pacific, Catalina Express, Long beach waterfront, and the Shoreline village. 

Beachgoers can also visit an old Queen Mary ship and walk through El Dorado Nature Center. 

Visiting Long Beach is a great way to experience California’s coastal attractions without a hefty price tag. 

3. San Pedro

San Pedro
Source: sanpedrosun.com

Top beaches: White point beach, Point Fermin beach, Cabrillo harbor beach, Royal palm beach, and Rancho Palos Verde Beach.

Population: 86,000

San Pedro is an isolated city located in the southern part of Los Angeles. It’s squeezed between Long Beach and Los Angeles. This port town is a great place to visit if you’re a history buff who loves the beach. 

San Pedro’s attractions include the famous Battleship USS Iowa Museum, Peck Park, Point of Firmin park, Los Angeles Maritime Museum, and Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. 

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly California beach town near Los Angeles, San Pedro is a great option. 

4. Crescent City

Crescent City
Source: en.wikipedia.org

Top beaches: South beach, Kellogg beach, Pebble beach, and Crescent beach. 

Population: 6,676

Crescent City is located just 25 miles from Oregon. This coastal city is a great destination for those who want to get off the beaten path but still enjoy the sights of the California coast. 

You can visit the Trees of Mystery Park south of Klamath, one of the area’s major tourist attractions. 

It features trails through massive Redwoods where you’ll see many unusual tree formations and 50 chainsaw sculptures & carvings telling stories of a legendary logger Paul Bunyan. 

The town is also home to many fun games and activities, including casinos, bowling at the tsunami lane, and California organic cheese tastings. 

Crescent City is a great place to explore if you are on a budget and looking for a place to relax and unwind. 

5. Grover Beach

Grover Beach
Source: keyt.com

Top beach: Pismo State Beach. 

Population: 12, 711

Grover beach is a 6 km 2   small, hidden town with gorgeous beaches and an inviting small-town vibe. 

The beach town is known for its dunes and seaside playground filled with family-friendly activities making it great for couples or families. 

Fun fact about Grover beach; It’s where transpacific submarine cables interface with the North American telecom network.

While in town, visit Monarch Grove winery tasting room, ocean dune natural preserve, and Harry’s night club & beach bar. 

You also can’t afford to miss Sixteenth Street Park if you have kids. Grover Beach is a great place to go if you’re looking for a relaxing, low-key beach getaway. 

6. Eureka

Eureka
Source: visiteureka.com

Top beaches: Maureen beach, King Salmon beach, Black sand beach

Population: 26,489

Location:

Eureka is one of the unique California beach towns, and it’s also one of the cheapest. This Northern California coastal city is home to many small, locally-owned businesses and great attractions like Sequoia park zoo. 

Thanks to its mild weather, Eureka is a great place to visit year-round. You can enjoy a hearty breakfast at Eureka Inn and spend a day exploring the Sequoia park garden, Humboldt botanical garden, and Sue Meg state park.

7. Oceanside

Oceanside
Source: britannica.com

Top beaches: Harbor beach, Cassidy beach, Buccaneer beach, Breakwater beach, Oceanside Boulevard, Tyson street beach, and Wisconsin beach. 

Population: 172, 982

Oceanside is the 3rd largest city in San Diego County and sits right next to the Camp Pendleton military base. 

This coastal city features great shopping and dining options and plenty of attractions to keep you and your little ones busy. 

Be sure to go for whale-watching adventures. You’ll get many full-fledged harbors filled with boats that offer charters and daily tours for a closeup experience deep in the sea. 

You can also check out the ‘King of Mission’ for some California history. 

8. San Simeon 

San Simeon 
Source: realestate.com.au

Top beaches: Pico Creek beach, Arroyo Laguna beach, William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach, Moonstone beach, and San Carpoforo Creek beach. 

Population: 550

San Simeon is often overlooked as a CA beach town, but the beautiful shoreline and proximity to Big Sur make it an affordable beach getaway worth exploring. 

The scenic drive to the beach town is half the fun; when you get there, the view of Elephant Seal Vista Point and a walk through Hearst San Simeon State Park are breathtaking. Be sure to check out the Piedras Blancas lighthouse and San Simeon Point. 

If you love hiking, you are also going to love this place. There are trails you can walk through while you view the beautiful scenery San Simeon has to offer. 

9. Oxnard

Oxnard
Source: visittheusa.com

Top beaches: Oxnard state beach and park, Mandalay state beach, and McGrath state beach.

Population: 201,879

Oxnard is a charming coastal town in the south part of California with a good year-round climate and a laid-back lifestyle that attracts locals and tourists. 

There are endless working opportunities and recreational activities in this beach town, which makes it a great spot if you want to relocate to some new place and start over. 

This area is home to the Mullin Automotive Museum, where you can learn a little about car history. Car lovers will appreciate the car tour of old classic models in the museum with some narration.

Oxnard Beach Park is a great option for families, with its shallow water, playground, and nearby nature trail. For those wanting a more low-key beach experience, explore the sand dunes.

10. Arcata 

Arcata 
Source: westerncity.com

Top beaches: Mad river beach, Humboldt beach, Clam Beach County Park, and Luffenholtz beach.

Population: 19,114

If you’re looking for an affordable beach town near the redwood forests of Northern California, Arcata is a great place to visit – it offers a quieter, more affordable alternative to the bustling city. 

This beach town is located in Humboldt County, and the city is also known for its expansive forest cover, great eateries, historic architecture, and vibrant flower beds along the streets. 

Thanks to the Humboldt State University Natural History Museum, you get to have a fun educational experience. 

This is especially beneficial if you have kids going to school, as they’ll learn about the region’s redwood forest, extinct mammals that once roamed North America, and plants & animals that live in the area now.

Also, check out the Arcata Community Forest,  Arcata theater lounge, Finnish country sauna & Tubs, and Arcata playhouse.

11. Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara
Source: flickr.com

Top beaches: Leadbetter beach, , Goleta beach park, Mesa lane beach, 1000 Steps beach, East beach, west beach, Arroyo burro beach county park, Santa Barbara beach, and Hendrys beach.

Population: 88, 255

Santa Barbara is a scenic coastal town between the Pacific Ocean and the hills of Santa Ynez Mountains. It’s known for its year-round sunshine, charming Spanish architecture, and beaches. 

The city has seen massive development in recent years to accommodate the large population density coming. 

One of the sectors that have been improved includes the education sector. And this makes Santa Barbara a nice spot to relocate and still have your kids go to school without much of a hustle.

The city’s main beach, East Beach, is open year-round and free for all visitors. Explore the downtown area for a more urban beach experience. 

The area is also home to several shops, restaurants, and live music venues where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the live performances. 

12. Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach
Source: visitcalifornia.com

Top beaches:  Bluebird beach, Thousands steps beach, Treasure Island beach, Main beach, Victoria beach, Aliso beach, Heisler park beach, Crescent beach Woods cove beach, Crystal cove state park beach, and Shaw’s. 

Population: 22,795

Laguna Beach, just a short drive from Santa Margarita, is another stunning Southern California beach town worth exploring. 

The city is famous for its beautiful beaches, unique architecture, and artistic vibe, making it a great spot for adventurers of all ages. 

Families can participate in whale-watching cruises from Newport Beach, back roads, electric bike tours, and kayak tours with sea lion viewing. 

Adventure seekers can explore nearby Heisler Park, which is home to tide pools and sandy coves. 

Those interested in the city’s art and culture scene can explore the nearby galleries or attend a local art show. 

13. Samoa CA

Samoa CA
Source: etsy.com

Top beaches: Samoa beach, Samoa power pole beach, Vaiala beach, Aganoa beach, Lalomanu beach, Tafa Tafa beach, Lefaga beach, and Salamumu beach.

Population: 211

Samoa Beach is a tiny secluded town with just over 200 people and sits between Arcata and the Pacific Ocean. 

And yes! Fewer people mean that the town is relatively quiet, making it a nice place to unwind and rejuvenate before returning to bustling city life. 

This beach town is absolutely stunning, with its sparkling blue waters and beautiful white sand beaches. It’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. 

There’s also plenty to do in Samoa Beach town, from swimming and surfing to exploring the many shops and restaurants. 

And if you’re looking for a place to stay, there are plenty of options, from hotels and resorts to vacation rentals. Pack your bags and head to Samoa Beach Town for a vacation you’ll never forget!

14. Imperial Beach

Imperial Beach
Source: en.wikipedia.org

Top beaches: Imperial Beach pier, Border field state park beach, Imperial Beach beach, south Imperial Beach, and Silver strand state beach. 

Population: 26,059

Imperial Beach town is located just south of the city of San Diego, and it’s just 10 minutes from the Mexican border. 

The town attracts visitors and residents with its laid-back attitude and natural beauty. The best part about Imperial Beach is that it still has that California beach town feel but without the high price tag. 

You can find affordable hotels and Airbnbs, and there are plenty of cheap restaurants to choose from. 

Plus, there’s no shortage of things to do. You can enjoy the beach, hike, and explore the town. 

Check out the Tijuana slough national wildlife refuge, Bay Shore bikeway, Veterans Park, and art wheel studio.  

15. Oceano 

Oceano 
Source: roadtrippingcalifornia.com

Top beaches: Pismo state beach.

Population: 7, 173

Oceano is a beach town right next to Pismo beach and Grover beach. It is the safest beach town in California, making it a great destination for those who love traveling solo. 

If you are planning a vacation getaway on a tight budget, Oceano is a town you should visit, and here is why. Everything here is 7% cheaper compared to the outside. 

There is a perfect blend between the old and the modern culture; therefore, visitors of all ages can relate to the environment and appreciate it. 

Something interesting about this small beach town is that it is the only beach in California where driving is allowed. Be sure to visit the Great American Melodrama while in the area.

Here Are Some Reasons Why You Should Visit California

Thinking about taking a trip this year? Perhaps you should consider visiting California, a state filled with natural wonders. 

This state is also home to some of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S., including Kings Canyon National Park, and Yosemite National Park. 

These stunning natural wonders offer visitors an escape from the stresses of everyday life and provide a relaxing environment perfect for rejuvenation and exploration. Here are some excellent reasons why you should visit California!

Thrilling theme parks

These theme parks provide a fun family experience for those visiting the state and are a great way to spend quality time with loved ones. 

California’s most popular theme parks include Disney California Adventure Park, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Six Flags Magic Mountain. 

You can enjoy thrilling roller coasters, delicious theme park food, and much more at these top-notch California theme parks.

Amazing weather

Another thing that makes California a fantastic place to visit is the weather. California’s warm, sunny weather is perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, biking, and exploring. 

Additionally, the weather in California is generally mild, with very few extreme temperatures. 

Beautiful scenery

California has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Additionally, California’s landscapes vary from area to area, so you can experience many different landscapes during your trip to the state. 

Some of the most beautiful landscapes in California include the Redwood Forests. 

Beautiful beaches

Some of the most beautiful beaches are found in California. From the sun-drenched shores of Santa Monica to the rugged coast of Big Sur, there’s a beach for everyone in California. 

And with so many great beaches to choose from, it’s no wonder that California is a popular vacation destination. And if you’re looking for adventure, you can find that, too.

So if you’re looking for a place to relax, have fun, and enjoy the incredible scenery, California is the place for you.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a guide to the cheapest California beach towns, this is it. California is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but these sandy gems don’t come cheap. 

Fortunately, there are a few budget-friendly places to visit along the coast, including Grover Beach, Eureka, and Oceanside. 

If you’re looking for an affordable California beach town, you’re sure to find one on our list. From San Pedro to Eureka, there are plenty of options for a relaxing beach getaway.

Francis Stein
Francis Stein
Francis Stein is a writer and traveler who has already traveled most of the states of America. He loves to explore new places and meet new people, and he hopes to continue traveling the world in search of adventure. Francis enjoys writing about his experiences as a way of sharing his love for exploration with others.

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