Beach-bound? Head to these best beaches on the west coast

Hanging 10 in Hawaii? Settling along the California coast? If the West is your destination this summer, don’t miss a day at one of these fabulous west coast beaches. Not only are they free, they offer plenty to do if a day in the sand gets dull (although, we can’t imagine it would)!

Kaanapali Beach – Maui – West Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach is undoubtedly is easily accessible by a concrete path. Here you’ll find Black Rock, along with some of the best snorkeling on the island. Entering right from the wide stretch of golden sand, you will be transported into an underwater world teeming with tropical fishes, a turtle or two, and if you are lucky you’ll spot a few eagle rays. At sunset, you are treated to a free torch lighting and cliff diving ceremony right off Black Rock.

Makena Beach (Big Beach) – Maui – South Maui‘s Makena Beach is a State Park, meaning there is no man-made development. Visitors concentrate on body surfing, snorkeling, or enjoying a picnic with the views of islet, Molokini, in the distance. There are no resorts nearby so there is often ample parking.

Poipu Beach – Kauai – Unlike most beaches in Maui which can get quite rough for timid swimmers, Poipu Beach’s protected area is a great option for beginner swimmers and snorkelers. With lifeguards on duty everyday and a relatively calm environment, it is considered one of the safest beaches in Hawaii.

Lanikai Beach – Oahu – Bypass the more famous Waikiki Beach for the more secluded and postcard-perfect Lanikai Beach. Divers and snorkelers alike will find delight in the reefs. As the sun sets, you could almost swear that Don Ho is strumming his ukulele in the distance. Carmel Beach – Monterey Coast, California – Anyone who has ever been to quaint Carmel-By-The–Sea along the Monterey Coast would have experienced firsthand the beauty of Carmel Beach. The best part? This beach is perfectly pet friendly! Owners and their canine companions can frolic freely on the white sandy beach, play in the water, or throw around a Frisbee.

Huntington Beach, California – Located in sunny Southern California, Huntington Beach has some of the best and most consistent surf in the U.S., making it the ideal site of the annual world surfing championships. Those hesitant to try the surfs firsthand can channel their Karch Kiraly and practice their beach volleyball skills at one of the famous stops on the renowned AVP Beach Volleyball tour.

Coronado Beach, California – Fronting the famed Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado Beach has something for everyone. With the widest stretch of sand in San Diego County, it offers plenty of space to fly a kite, fish, or explore the tide pools. It is an excellent location to swim or body board or bike along the path south of Hotel Coronado.

Pismo Beach, California – Located in California’s Central Coast, visitors can walk down the 1,200-foot Pismo Pier to try their hand at catching their dinner or just catch a beautiful sunset. Beach wheelchairs from Wheel Fun Rentals are even available free of charge to visitors.

Half Moon Bay, California – Northern California’s Half Moon Bay offers dozens of beaches along the Pacific Ocean. With its spectacular sea cliffs and beautiful shoreline, Half Moon Bay has some of the best vista points for spotting the annual gray whale migration and elephant seals, and its sandy shores are perfect for horseback riding right on the beach.

Joyce Zee is a writer.