Beach vacation guide

From all-to-yourself islands to hidden beach towns to iconic coastal experiences, the West has the beach vacation of a lifetime in store for you

Top 14 unsung beach towns

Enjoy a heaping dose of sand and surf in these quintessential beach towns--but better keep these underrated spots (relatively) secret!

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Cambria, CA
Photo by Chris Leschinsky; written by Matthew Jaffe

Cambria, CA

Rising from a rocky shoreline into hills covered by Monterey pines, Cambria has a spirit shaped equally by ocean and forest. Midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this Central Coast town boasts several miles of coastline and is bordered by rolling hills green enough to evoke the Welsh origins of its name. The village itself sits deep in a knoll between wooded slopes. Quaint but not cloyingly so, it has 19th-century cottages set in lush gardens while a lawn-bowling green commands a prominent place on a main street named Main Street. Don't miss Moonstone Beach, the kind of beach that makes even seasoned coastal wanderers stop and whisper, Wow.

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