California is a beautiful state with so many things to see and do. From the mountains of Yosemite National Park, to the coastlines on the Pacific Ocean, there are plenty of ways for tourists and locals alike to enjoy their time out on vacation. But if you’re looking for some fun attractions that will keep your family entertained all summer long – head down to one of these piers or boardwalks near San Francisco Bay Area or Central Coast. With everything from shopping opportunities, restaurants galore, parks and historical sites – these spots will have something for everyone!
So grab your sunblock and sunglasses because we’ve got our list of top 15 Piers and Boardwalks that you’ll want to check out!
1. Santa Cruz Boardwalk – Santa Cruz
The Santa Cruz boardwalk is one of the most popular places in California for visitors from all over the world (over 300,000 people visit every year) and for good reason! The park has plenty to do including the world’s oldest (and best) carousel, 11 thrill rides, 16 family rides, an arcade/pizza parlor, and much more. The boardwalk overlooks the beautiful coast of Santa Cruz, CA and if you want to get an up-close glimpse of the ocean, there are plenty of great spots for watching surfers. If you’re hungry while visiting – there are more than 50 different food shops/stands located all throughout the park! The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is located at 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz.
2. Ventura Pier – Ventura
The Ventura pier is the longest on the West Coast and has been providing a haven for fisherman and visitors since 1872! The best part? It’s stroller friendly which means it’s great for visiting with kids in tow! The views from the pier are amazing – you can see everything from huge ships in the distance to dolphins playing in their natural habitat. You can also enjoy watching surfers in action, fishermen bringing home their day’s catch, or even visit one of many restaurants including Duke’s Chowder House (popular with locals). The shops around the pier offer souvenirs and gifts, surf clothing and accessories, books, and magazines if you want to pick up a memento of your trip. There’s also a great art gallery on the pier that has rotating exhibits every month. The Ventura Pier is located at 1050 Anacapa Street, Ventura.
3. Santa Monica Pier – Santa Monica
If you want to visit one of the most iconic piers in California – make sure to stop by Santa Monica pier! It’s been around since 1909 and features plenty of things for everyone including two historical ships (the Balclutha and the Berkeley), an amusement park with rides and games for kids and adults alike, restaurants galore (including Bubba Gumprimp Co.), shopping opportunities, and the Pacific Park amusement park. The pier also offers a great view of the surrounding mountains, Malibu Pier, and Catalina Island! The Santa Monica Pier is located at 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica.
4. Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier – Long Beach
If you’re looking for an excellent spot for fishing, then look no further than the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in Long Beach. Two different fishing piers sit next to each other – one caters more to families while the other offers a quieter experience if you want to get away from it all. Both spots have fantastic views – especially during sunset, as you can see everything from downtown LA to Catalina Island on a clear day. They also offer a fantastic view of the Queen Mary, which is docked nearby. The Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier is located at 406 West Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach.
5. Balboa Fun Zone – Newport Beach
Take a trip down memory lane and head over to the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach (just one hour south of Los Angeles) for some fabulous family-friendly fun! The best part? It’s completely free with many different rides, including the Ferris wheel, carousel, bumper cars, swan paddle boats, wave rider (a surf simulator), and more! There are also many restaurants throughout the park if you get hungry, along with gift shops that offer souvenirs of your trip. In addition to all these fun attractions – you can also visit the historic Balboa Pavilion built in 1905 and even go fishing! The Balboa Fun Zone is located at 1310 West Ocean Front Walk, Newport Beach.
6. Redondo Beach Pier – Redondo Beach
The pier is an excellent spot for fishing and viewing the beautiful coastline of Southern California! In addition to enjoying the sights, there are other fabulous things to do, including shopping and dining at the pier plaza, which features plenty of restaurants and shops to choose from. You can also go down under the pier, where you’ll find a skate park, a dog park, a playground with an amusement area for kids, a carousel, and more! Live music also plays on the weekends (only during the summer months), making it even more fun for all ages. The Redondo Beach Pier is located at 400 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach.
7. Santa Cruz Wharf – Santa Cruz
The wharf is a great place to visit if you want an up-close look at sea lions! It’s also an excellent spot for fishing and enjoying the beautiful California coastline. The pier was first built in 1859 and has been repaired and expanded over time, so there’s plenty of different things to see and do here. If you get hungry, there are many restaurants and shops, and street performers throughout the pier. There’s even a small amusement park here that includes rides for children, including a carousel, Ferris wheel, train ride, merry-go-round, etc. In addition – they have live music that plays on weekends during summer months that makes it fun for all ages! The Santa Cruz Wharf is located at 401 Front Street, Santa Cruz.
8. Oceanside Pier – Oceanside
The pier in Oceanside has been around since 1916 and is home to the longest wooden pier on the West Coast, which stretches 1,942 feet into the ocean! It’s also an excellent place for fishing and enjoying beautiful views of the coastline, including some offshore islands just offshore called Tijuana Sloughs! You can even enjoy watching dolphins while you’re hanging out on the pier. In addition,n – there’s shopping and dining at the pier plaza, which includes many restaurants, shops, and street performers throughout the summer months (during weekends only). There’s also an amusement park here called the Fun Zone, which includes a roller coaster, carousel, and more! The Oceanside Pier is located at 310 N. Pacific Street, Oceanside.
9. Ventura Point Breakwater Light
The Ventura Point Breakwater Light was built in 1906 to help ships navigate safely into the harbor. It’s free and open to the public! There’s even a small beach area next to the light where you can go for a swim, surf, or scuba dive during low tide. That? Along with enjoying views of the coastline – you might even get to see dolphins frequently seen offshore at this location! The Ventura Point Breakwater Lighthouse is located at 60 Harbor Boulevard, Ventura.
10. San Clemente Pier – San Clemente
This pier is one of my personal favorites because it’s home to great views and some good fishing opportunities. You can fish off both sides of the pier, which means you can catch fish in one spot, and then when you’re tired of that, just go to the other side. There’s also shopping at the pier plaza, which includes restaurants where you can refuel after all that fishing! You can even take a charter fishing trip out into the open sea to catch large fish like marlin or tuna. The best part? It’s free here, so it won’t cost much to spend the day at this pier! The San Clemente Pier is located at Avenida Victoria, San Clemente.
11. Newport Beach Pier – Newport Beach
The Newport Beach Pier stands 1,971 feet long, making it one of the longest piers on the west coast! This location has excellent views of the coastline, and you can even see Catalina Island from here during certain times of the day. There’s a lot to do at the pier, including dining, which features restaurants like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Back Bay Caffe, and Mustard’s Last Stand, where you can refuel after swimming or playing on one of their many amusement rides. There’s also shopping at the pier plaza, where you’ll find stores like Pacific Sunwear, Sperry Top-Sider, Petco Surf Shop, and more! The Newport Beach Pier is located at 401 West Oceanfront, Newport Beach.
12. Balboa Pier – Newport Beach
The Balboa Pier is one of the oldest piers in California, and it has been open to the public since 1906! It’s mostly known for fishing, but you can also enjoy watching street performers throughout the summer months and feeding some sea lions that live here year-round. The pier’s large amusement park includes a 100ft Ferris wheel, carousel, roller coaster, and more cute rides for kids! There’s also shopping at the pier plaza, which has stores like Johnny Sun Visor Factory Store, Island Outfitters, and M&M Surfing USA. You can even rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Kayak Jake right on the pier. The Balboa Pier is located at 600 East Bay Avenue, Newport Beach.
13. Abbot Kinney Pier – Venice
This pier has been around since 1905, when it was built to bring water to Venice and Santa Monica. You can still see remnants of this original pier, although it’s not the main attraction here today. This is an excellent place for you to fish, whale watch or just enjoy the views along with playing on their many amusement rides like the bumper cars and roller coaster! The Abbot Kinney Pier is located at 1600 Ocean Front Walk (east end), Venice.
California is a beautiful place with plenty of natural beauty to explore. If you’re looking for some new places to visit that offer great views, check out the list below! -Balboa Pier in Newport Beach was built back in 1906 and features amusement rides and street performers throughout the summer months. -The Ventura Point Breakwater Lighthouse offers spectacular views of Catalina Island during certain times of day or night. It’s located at 60 Harbor Boulevard, Ventura. San Clemente Pier is one of my personal favorites because it has fishing opportunities and shopping on-site, including restaurants where you can refuel after all that fishing! The pier is located at Avenida Victoria, San Clemente.