Growing up in California I have noticed that there is a distinct beach aesthetic that exists in the reign. Long white sandy beaches, and palm trees boardwalks, can identify the California beach aesthetic. People with blond hair, tanned fit bodies, open-top Range Rover cars, floral light-colored flowy short clothing, and bright pastel-colored bathing suits. California does have infamous beaches and a massive culture around surfing but the aesthetic represents more than just the sports involved. It represents this idyllic environment of an endless “summer” and constant vacation and fun.

The colonization of Hawaii during the 1900s, marginalized Hawaiian culture and exploited surfing as a means of attraction to tourists. The “Culture” and sport of surfing spread to southern California in the 1910s on beaches such as Venise, and Redondo and continued to grow in popularity. In the 1960s, surf and beach culture became popular throughout most of the coast of California solidifying the aesthetic. What increased popularity was the Surf Rock genre with bands such as The Beach Boys as well as popular films such as The Endless Summer.

What represents this aesthetic is the color palette, the ideology, as well as the people involved. The colors are indicative of sunsets, palm trees, and deep blue ocean. Blues, turquoise, and indigo give a calming feel and association to the ocean and water. Tan’s beiges and brown-green had associations with the sands and vegetation on the beaches. Florals, surfboards, and seashells promoted the pastel colors that are extremely prevalent in bathing suits and fashion associated with the culture and aesthetic.

With the culture being prevalent in the 60’s we find 60s design aesthetics merging with the beach aesthetic. You find colorful pastel prints and pattern designs. The line work is usually only a handful of colors, with simplistic designs. In beach aesthetics, we commonly see striped patterns most famously and commonly salmon and white and navy blue and white but generally some forms of corals and whites. Bathing suits, towels Sea shells, and floras in patterns with variations of corals and pastel colors.

Beach aesthetic today still lives in the beach towns of California through the sur culture, the designs and prints of swimsuits, and through 60’s vintage fashion and summer fashion. Through its long history, the beach aesthetic lives for all of us to bring summer and vacation to our lives no matter where we are. 


Contributors to Wikimedia projects. “Culture of California – Wikipedia.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 23 Nov. 2006,
—. “Surf Culture – Wikipedia.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 8 Sept. 2005,


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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Cole, I enjoyed reading your post about the California Beach Aesthetic. I am not from California however, I am from the Midwest and had a surfboard in my room growing up. I always loved the atmosphere and energy it introduced to the room since I love the beach and watersports. I never really knew the color palette that goes with the California Beach aesthetic but this post helped me get a much better understanding of the Aesthetic that I have always endured without knowing or even calling it the California Beach aesthetic. One question that I have is does the California Beach aesthetic varies at all with geography meaning the more North or South you go in California.

  • Alex Reynolds
    January 26, 2024 1:01 pm

    Hey Cole! I think the California Beach aesthetic is great to explore! As I am also from a Californian coastal community I can resonate with this aesthetic a lot! The long white beaches and blonde hair is a perfect descriptor for this aesthetic. In addition, the use of 60’s aesthetic is very common, almost in every store front you can see hanging posters displaying the 60’s coastal aesthetic. In addition, I think the idea of implementing hippies into this coastal aesthetic is almost compulsory. I also like the use of surfboards as furniture in the house, maybe even using a surfboard as a table could be a great idea!


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