>Are there many restaurants, hotels, groceries, shops, entertaining
>businesses,... directly accessible by the beach, with no car traffic to
>cross? If so that would make another possibility for a carfree vacation
Near a few piers and short boardwalks, yes. Most of the Southern
California coast, however, is lined with parking lots and private
residences. Cyclists routinely use the Pacific Coast Highway, which runs
most of the length of the state, and a good bike path runs from roughly
Santa Monica down to Long Beach, perhaps further south, in LA County.
There are hotels and bike rental outfits in Ventura, as well as a coastal
bike path that connects to a bike/equestrian path that leads 16 miles
inland to neighboring Ojai.