The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement  | Jenn Whalen

January 4, 2023

Location Guides, Resources

The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement 

As California is a coastal state it is famed for its beaches, especially in Southern California. While some are more famous than others there are beaches of all shapes, sizes, and styles that will suit your wants for your Southern California elopement experience! From rugged seaside beaches to quiet sandy beaches. To help you get started with planning your beach elopement here are my top 5 favorite beaches for your Southern California elopement! 

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Stella-and-Jason_0019 The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement 
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Stella-and-Jason_0019 The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement 

5 Beaches for your Southern California Elopement 

El Matador Beach  

El Matador Beach may be one of my favorite beaches here in Southern California, I can’t even count how many times I’ve captured elopements here. El Matador beach is one out of three beaches within Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach. It’s very popular due to it being so close to Malibu, it’s actually one of Malibu’s best-kept secrets! Although it’s popular it is also a great beach for privacy! Beaches in Southern California can get pretty busy during the summer with a lot of tourists and crowds but El Matador beach surprisingly doesn’t get like that! It not only has an extensive beach that goes for miles it also has stunning rock formations and sea caves! 

Just imagine having your Southern California Elopement surrounded by the sounds of the crashing waves while digging your toes into the sand and smelling the fresh ocean air. It’s one of the most majestic beaches to have an intimate elopement! 

Check out my most recent El Matador Beach elopement session to see what it looks like to elope here! 

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Stella-and-Jason_0019 The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement 
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Stella-and-Jason_0019 The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement 
Stella-and-Jason_0019 The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement 
Stella-and-Jason_0019 The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement 

Zuma Beach

Zuma beach is considered the ultimate Southern California beach with its 1.8 miles of beach frontage and 105 acres of property which offers a lot of room for everyone to spread out! It’s perfect for intimate beach elopements for just the couple or the couple and some family and friends! What’s so great about Zuma beach is that it’s easily accessible too so you won’t have to worry about climbing down a big cliff to get to where you want to elope! 

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Stella-and-Jason_0019 The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement 
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Stella-and-Jason_0019 The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement 

I like to take my couples to a favorite little area of mine, where you can have your elopement ceremony and creative portraits overlooking the beach with views at the top, or on the beach itself! There are plenty of options for a ceremony location here at Zuma beach due to how big it is.

Check out my most recent Zuma Beach elopement session to see what it looks like to elope here! 

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Stella-and-Jason_0019 The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement 
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Stella-and-Jason_0019 The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement 

Santa Monica Beach

Located near Downtown Los Angeles you can find Santa Monica beach. Santa Monica beach is another famous beach here in Southern California and is a neighbor to Venice Beach, so if you wish you can choose to have your Southern California Elopement in both areas! There is a lot to do at both beaches so after you have your beach elopement and run around on the sand you can hang out on the pier and boardwalk or walk to nearby shops and restaurants. Santa Monica beach offers a plethora of things to do and is perfect to elope at especially during the winter months as there are fewer crowds! 

Check out my most recent Santa Monica beach elopement session to see what it looks like to elope here! 

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Stella-and-Jason_0019 The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement 

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Leo Carrillo Beach 

Leo Carrillo Beach is one of many hidden gems in Malibu! It’s located 28 miles northwest of Santa Monica and the Pacific Coast Highway. Leo Carrillo Beach has 1.5 miles of beachfront as well as tidepools, coastal caves, and reefs for exploring! It’s an excellent beach elopement location for any adventure couple looking for a unique hidden gem. It’s also a state park so if you decide to you can camp out and spend the night exploring even more of Leo Carrillo state park, from hiking it’s trails to sitting by the fire enjoying married life!

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Stella-and-Jason_0019 The Best Beaches for a Southern California Elopement 
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Catalina Island Beaches 

Did someone say Hawaiian vibes without taking a flight out to Hawaii? Having a Catalina Island elopement in my opinion is very similar to eloping in Hawaii with its breathtaking views, charming scenery, and unique island experience. It’s truly a hidden gem when it comes to eloping couples, and rest assured, you’ll likely be the only wedding couple on the whole island during your elopement! With beautiful beaches, incredible hiking trails and so many spots to explore — Catalina Island is really the perfect place for an adventure elopement and is only one hour ferry ride away from Long Beach!

If you choose to have your Southern California Elopement at a Catalina Island beach keep in mind that there are two islands that have very different vibes! Avalon and Two Harbors. They quite a few different beaches on Catalina Island, but most of them are rock beaches. The sandy beaches are unfortunately not as desirable and are small, like sandbars. Here are a few of the beaches I’d recommend eloping at on Catalina Island;

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Descanso Beach

Descanso Beach is a private beach with stunning views! It’s famous for its swimming activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and standup paddleboarding, so after you elope you can plan to have the rest of your day filled with adventurous water activities! 

Ben Weston Beach

Ben Weston Beach is another gorgeous beach on Catalina Island but does require some hiking or biking to reach. Although the route can be challenging it is worth it! There is plenty of space and very few crowds or visitors around, it’s possible you could have the whole entire beach to yourselves! 

Little Harbor & Shark Harbor

One of the many amazing things about Catalina Island is the plethora of locations and activities it has to offer for adventure elopements including camping options. Little Harbor is one of those! Shark Harbor is a small beach on the southwest side of Catalina Island and is adjacent to the Little Habor campground. This location is very popular for the rock called “whale tail” which looks like a whale’s tail from above. 

Check out my blog on how to elope on Catalina Island for more! 

Secret locations

The best thing about booking an elopement photographer who is also an elopement guide we know the best and secret locations for your elopement! I know secluded hidden beach spots that only locals know about all around Southern California and love to bring my couples to! There are several beaches that you can hike to, kayak to, and arrive by helicopter!

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Now that you know all the best beaches for a Southern California elopement, check out my blog on how to plan a Malibu Elopement to help you get started on your elopement planning! And when you’re ready to book a Southern California elopement photographer reach out to me through my contact page!

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From hiking up mountains to running into the ocean, I’m ready to capture your big day just as you imagine it. Let me help you create an experience free of stress and full of what matters most to you. 

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