A day of fun in the sun doesn't have to end when the orange solar globe drops into a lavender ocean. Watching moonlight reflect on the sea, gazing out at ocean traffic or just sitting and listening to the waves roll in can make a relaxing antidote to a sleepless night. But all isn't necessarily quiet along the Pacific Ocean at night. Some late night beaches serve up nightlife into the morning hours at beach bars along the way.
Where to Hit the Beach in the Wee Hours
Although many beaches close between sunset and 10 p.m., there are some can't-miss beaches along the Pacific Coast without set closing hours.
Santa Monica Beach (Santa Monica): There isn't an official closing time for Santa Monica Beach; however, Santa Monica State Beach parking lots close at sunset. Park your car at a lot that stays open later if you plan to visit after dark. Lot 1N stays open until 2 a.m. and the upper Santa Monica Pier deck lot is open 24-7. Although being on the beach between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. is fine, it's illegal to make a loud noise such as playing music or a musical instrument.
Redondo Beach (Redondo Beach): With 24-hour multi-level parking convenient to the beach, boardwalk and pier, Redondo Beach is a natural for a late-night walk along the ocean. It's also a nightlife hotspot. Check out Old Tony's on Redondo Pier, a dive bar with great views and cheap drinks with amazing ocean views or pub-crawl around the harbor, marina and pier to discover a bevy of other options.
Ocean Beach (San Diego): Bring a furry companion for a late night game of fetch at the north end of Ocean Beach. Dogs can run off leash 24-7 but make sure to clean up your pet's droppings. The south end of the beach is home to Ocean Beach Municipal Pier to fish round-the-clock.
Coronado Beach (Coronado): Home to the famous Victorian landmark, Hotel del Coronado, Coronado Beach's wide strip of sand has a dog beach on its north end open 24-hours a day. Park at a metered parking space or check out free spaces along Ocean Boulevard and Central Beach.
Check Local Restrictions
To discover whether the beach near your hotel or vacation rental is open around the clock, check the city's website for beach rules. A trip to the beach during the day to scout out any signs with beach hours is also a good idea. Keep in mind that California beaches come with restrictions – some restrict alcohol, glass containers or dogs, for example. Boisterous parties and loud music will attract the attention of local residents, triggering a call to the local police for disturbing the peace.