Funny thing, most advertising for beaches (and resorts, etc.) shows quiet, almost unpopulated areas where you can imagine a sense of total privacy. On arrival, you discover lots of people, beach umbrellas and noisy kids. Laguna Beach, for a week this May, actually looked like the pictures. Gorgeous, quiet and relaxing.
Can't quite figure out why, but short of some very exotic locales, it was the most private public beach we'd ever seen. (Yes, I wrote that as the most private public beach.) Easy parking, easy walk down quite a few stairs (or ramps) and a beautiful pristine beach at the bottom.
Whether or not you think the water cold probably depends on (the time of year and) where you were raised and where you went to the beach as a kid. New Englanders are fine. Californians get cold in their own native waters! ;-) ;-)