The Top Ranked West Coast Beach To Visit This Fall

While temperatures across the country start to dip as we get further into fall, the sunshine on the West Coast still beckons beachgoers to its sandy shores. With fewer crowds, warm weather, and plenty of things to do, fall is an ideal time to visit California. One California beach, in particular, offers ocean water temperatures at a lovely 70 degrees Fahrenheit and a gorgeous fall climate to match.

Descanso Beach is nestled on Catalina Island, less than a mile from the popular seaside town of Avalon. It's a private beach, and yes, there is a small entrance fee ($2), but it's worth the nominal amount. While many of Catalina Island's beaches are rocky, Descanso Beach offers plenty of sand, perfect for relaxing on a warm day. Throw down a beach towel and soak up the sun or spend the afternoon in the shade from the comfort of a rented cabana. The cabanas come with a personalized beach butler! And since Descanso Beach is set in front of a restaurant and bar, the Descanso Beach Club, there's plenty of fresh fish, salads, burgers, and signature cocktails to enjoy beachside.

How to get to Descanso Beach, Catalina Island

Getting to Descanso Beach on Catalina Island is easy. There are three ports in Los Angeles (Long Beach, San Pedro, and Dana Point) where travelers can catch the Catalina Express Ferry to the island. Catalina is 22 miles from the coast, and the picturesque boat ride takes a little less than an hour. Prices vary depending on the departure port, but the average fees for one adult roundtrip ferry ride to Avalon range from $84 to $88. Travelers can also bring along bikes or surfboards for an added cost ($7).

After arriving in Avalon, it's a short walk to Descanso Beach. Find the walkway along the waterfront and follow it north past the Catalina Casino, which, funnily enough, does not offer gambling. It's a historic gathering place in a big, beautiful, white building showcasing Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival architecture. Keep walking along the walkway, and before you know it, you'll arrive at one of the best beaches to visit this fall — Descanso Beach.

Things to do at Descanso Beach, Catalina Island

Beachgoers at Descanso Beach can choose relaxation, adventure, or both! The soft sand is perfect for soaking up the sun while reading a good book. If it gets too hot, a quick dip in the ocean is just the trick. Although Descanso Beach has plenty of sand, the area between the soft sand and the cove is quite rocky. Reef shoes are a good idea.

Since the water at Descanso Beach doesn't see many boats, it's also one of the best places on the island to kayak and paddleboard. Both are available to rent nearby at Descanso Beach Ocean Sport, Inc., and the gorgeous coastline is just waiting to be explored. The waters are clear enough to spot wildlife, like saltwater fish and sting rays. But if visitors want to get a little closer to the underwater world, Descanso Beach is a beautiful beach for snorkeling and a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. The best place to spot marine creatures is out by the buoy, where snorkelers will find an underwater canyon with incredible rock formations.