Heading further south down California's Highway 1, two of my favorite spots were San Clemente + Encinitas.
San Clemente is a "Spanish Village by the Sea" founded by a land developer named Hanson who envisioned a Mediterranean style coastal resort town and wanted it to serve as a haven for Californians tired of the big city. I'd say he succeeded. We surfed Trestles, bought fruits and veggies at the farmers market, fell hard for Acai Bowls and were able to wake up, roll out of our van and land right on the beach.
About 40 minutes south of San Clemente, is Encinitas. It's a little grittier but it has big cliffs, beautiful views, is home to the famous surf break "Swami's" AND it's accompanying cafe that has, in my opinion, iced mochas that should be equally as famous.
It was long days at the beach in both little communities, slathering on sunscreen as soon as we woke up and falling asleep in the back of the van as soon as the sun went down, still salty from the water.