The best California dating sites uphold the values and spirit of the West by allowing a single person to explore new frontiers in the social scene.

Online dating is what you make of it, and California singles have tons of options at their fingertips to make something great happen. An online dating site can foster long-distance conversations between a person in Los Angeles and a person in San Francisco. Or an online dating app can provide instant matches between locals on the prowl.

Whether you’re looking for a new friend, a hot date, or a long-term relationship, you can use the following top-rated dating sites and apps to meet California singles who share similar interests, goals, and ideals.

Best Overall California Dating Sites

The right dating site can help California singles find a compatible match in their area, and it doesn’t cost anything to start searching. The following top 10 best dating sites and apps are free to join and have millions of American dating profiles available for the swiping.

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★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • Match is the world's longest running dating site
  • The Discover section has search filters by interests, looks, lifestyle, and more
  • Match is available in 50 countries and 15 languages

Match has our vote for the overall best dating site for Californians because there is simply no platform that can rival its success. Match.com has the distinction of being the longest running dating site in the history of online dating, and it also has more success stories than any other dating service or matchmaker.

Since 1995, this online dating pioneer has been breaking records, creating matches, and inspiring love stories around the world.

Match users can complete a free dating profile in less than five minutes and start browsing the network immediately. Free members can send messages to people in their Top Picks, so nothing stands between genuine singles and a meaningful connection.

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★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • Over 2 million monthly users
  • Premium members receive 20 wildcard matches a day
  • Search features include age, height, education, ethnicity, and lifestyle habits

Elite Singles is a premier dating website for educated singles in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe. The American members of this international database are particularly impressive — over 85% of them say they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The vast majority of Elite Singles users are over 30 and have stable careers. These quality singles have a lot of good things going for them, and they’re looking for a long-term partner to share in their success.

Elite Singles has a good reputation as a dating service for busy professionals. It offers a free trial membership, but only allows paid members to view photos and send messages to members of this upper-class crowd.

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★★★★★ 4.7/5.0
  • Send messages to premium members for free
  • Over 3 million messages sent a day
  • Premium perks include photo verification and sending virtual gifts

Zoosk has been in the online dating industry since 2007, and its smart technology has only gotten better with time. The online dating site and app has over 40 million members, and it sees over 3 million messages exchanged per day.

The Zoosk company has its headquarters in California (in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, to be exact), and a good chunk of its users live on the West Coast. Although the Zoosk network now stretches to 80 countries, California will always be its home.

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★★★★★ 4.7/5.0
  • Over 2 million people have found love here
  • Users can filter their match recommendations by age or city
  • Compatibility Quiz identifies common interests, lifestyles, and goals

The eharmony dating website has used psychology to master the art of matchmaking. The website’s Compatibility Quiz has over 80 questions and generates potential match ratings based on similarities in communication, attachment, relationship goals, and other important factors.

Since 2000, eharmony has introduced well over 2 million couples in the U.S. and has become one of the most trustworthy names in the online dating market.

Our full review gives eharmony top marks as a quality-driven alternative to free swiping apps. The eharmony platform offers time-tested matching tools that get to the heart of who a person is and what he or she needs in a romantic partner.

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★★★★ 4.3/5.0

ChristianMingle is widely known as one of the most popular dating sites for Christian singles. It has over 15 million members worldwide, and its largest following is in the United States.

This Christian dating site gives people of faith the opportunity to meet compatible singles who have similar values and aspirations. A person does not have to be Christian or even devoutly religious to join the Christian Mingle network. The website is open to any single adult who is genuinely looking for a life partner and willing to date a Christian.

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★★★★ 4.2/5.0

BlackPeopleMeet lives up to its name by maintaining the largest network of African American singles in North America. The niche dating site is open to single people of all races, ethnicities, and cultures, and the vast majority of its users identify themselves as people of color.

Since its launch in 2002, BlackPeopleMeet has proven that Black dating sites matter and can make a huge difference in a person’s dating life. The website and app can give singles access to more diverse date opportunities, and it can inspire Black relationships and interracial relationships.

“I just want to say, I have found true love,” said a man from Sacramento in an online success story. “I am terminating my membership on BlackPeopleMeet since I found the woman I am to share the rest of my life with.”

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★★★★ 4.1/5.0
  • Free, unlimited communication for everyone
  • Singles can swipe or search for a compatible date
  • Over 91 million connections every year

OkCupid is a free dating app and website established in 2004 by a group of Harvard math majors trying to calculate a foolproof formula for love. The result is a personality-driven matchmaking process that satisfies both casual and serious daters.

Each year, OkCupid is responsible for creating over 91 million matches and inspiring over 2.5 million first dates.

OkCupid supports an open-ended and inclusive dating environment that is perfect for California singles. The dating service allows users to share their pronouns in their dating profile and choose their identifiers from a list of 22 genders and 12 orientations.

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★★★★ 4.1/5.0

Plenty of Fish started as a Canadian dating site in 2003, and now it has expanded to reach 150 million members in 20 countries. Millions of Californians have joined this diverse community looking for social and romantic connections, and they haven’t been disappointed.

POF has made waves as a free local dating app where singles don’t have to put on airs or jump through hoops to find a compatible match. The dating website and app provide free chat features that allow everyone to join a flirtatious conversation immediately upon signup.

The only limitation is that POF users can only send 55 first messages per day. So don’t spend all your charm at once!

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★★★★ 4.0/5.0
  • Supports active daters in 190+ countries
  • The swiping system creates over 12 million matches per day
  • Tinder Plus members have unlimited likes and 5 Super Likes

Simply put, Tinder is an online dating behemoth that is a worthy wingman to daters of all stripes. Over half of Tinder users are under 25, and most of them are open to anything from new friends to casual hookups. Some couples even found love by swiping on Tinder. No, really, Tinder love stories are a thing.

Tinder has been downloaded over 400 million times since its launch in 2012. The free dating app is available in about 190 countries, but its user-friendly swiping tools ease local singles into this massive dating pool.

The Tinder dating app automatically keeps its match lists local to facilitate real-life connections. A local single will automatically see nearby date prospects in the Discover section unless he or she upgrades to get a Tinder Passport, which allows users to swipe outside their hometowns.

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★★★★ 4.0/5.0
  • A feminist dating app puts singles on equal footing
  • 60% of Bumble matches turn into dates
  • Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF spark non-romantic connections

Bumble has been called “the feminist dating app” because it puts women first. Literally, a single woman has first message privileges in all opposite-sex matches, and that has proven to be a game changer in the online dating world.

Here’s how Bumble messaging works: A single woman has a 24-hour window to respond to a match with a single man. He cannot send her a message until she messages first, and the conversation window will disappear if no message has been sent in the allotted time. Men can choose to extend the deadline another 24 hours to show interest and prompt a woman to say hi.

LGBTQ+ singles also have a 24-hour time limit on their mutual matches, but either person can send the first message in a same-sex match.

Best Senior California Dating Sites

Seniors often report feeling out of place on mainstream dating sites and apps where young people are in the majority. That’s why senior dating sites have cropped up to help more mature singles find their comfort zone. We have tested and ranked the most popular dating sites for seniors that encourage people to spark new relationships no matter their age.

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★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

SilverSingles is a time-tested dating service geared toward singles over 50. Its senior network stretches to 24 countries, including the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

As a senior dating site, SilverSingles puts safety first and protects the privacy of its members. The free registration process is backed by a sophisticated Fraud Detection System that automatically removes fake profiles and scam accounts before they can make trouble.

SilverSingles members cannot send messages or view photos unless they pay for a monthly subscription. You can find out more about how much SilverSingles costs in our full review.

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★★★★ 4.4/5.0
  • Open to straight, gay, and lesbian singles over 50
  • Free match recommendations and conversation starters
  • Use Tokens to promote your profile and send virtual gifts

As a People Media site, OurTime can bring a lot of value to senior singles seeking romance. Its dating network has connected more than 1 million singles over the age of 50, and it welcomes 20,000 new members each week.

The OurTime dating platform offers daily match recommendations and search filters that identify commonalities in personality traits and lifestyle. Members can give a thumbs up to a dating profile or send an introductory message to see if the attraction is mutual. OurTime offers limited free communication, but it’s enough to get the ball rolling with the most active members in your area.

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★★★★ 3.7/5.0

When it launched in 2003, SeniorMatch distinguished itself as a respectable dating site for singles over 50, and it has seen over 36,600 success stories since then. Its international reputation is a testament to the good work it has done in the senior dating scene.

The SeniorMatch motto is “You don’t have to be alone,” and its networking tools have built a community like no other. The senior chat room has united over 1 million singles of a certain age, and it sees nearly 2 million messages exchanged per month.

Any single adult can download the SeniorMatch app or join the website for free and start their search for an age-appropriate date in California and beyond.

Best LGBT California Dating Sites

During the coronavirus pandemic, the gay dating scene has changed dramatically. Many gay bars and clubs have been forced to shut down or limit capacity, but gay dating sites have remained open for business, so singles have taken advantage of virtual matchmaking tools.

Millions of LGBTQ+ individuals have jumped into the virtual dating pool to meet queer singles of all types. Gay men, lesbian women, and non-binary folks can use the following LGBTQ+ dating services as their wingman in a fast-changing dating world.

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★★★★ 3.8/5.0
  • One of the largest gay hookup sites in the world
  • Search filters for age, location, physical attributes, and more
  • Available in 12 languages and counting

MenNation tops our list as a steamy place to meet gay, bisexual, and queer dudes in your neighborhood. This gay hookup site has been around since the mid-1990s, and it has attracted millions of male users around the world.

When a man signs up to MenNation, he enters a sex-driven space full of naked pictures, strip-tease videos, erotic blogs, and kinky messages. The adult sex site allows men to follow their fetishes without restraint. Whether they’re sexting a stranger or arranging a low-key date, gay men can be upfront about their sexual preferences and intentions.

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★★★★ 3.5/5.0

LesbianPersonals is a female-friendly sex site that specializes in helping lesbian, bisexual, and queer women explore their sexuality. The website is free to join, but only paid subscribers get full access to all the site’s perks and premium features.

Women must be over 18 to become a member of LesbianPersonals, and anyone caught lying about their age or identity will be removed from the database. The lesbian dating service is open to singles, couples, and groups seeking a hot sexual encounter, and it promotes X-rated chat rooms and video messaging to satisfy a variety of sexual appetites.

16. HER

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★★★★ 3.5/5.0
  • A quirky and unapologetic womxn-only dating community
  • Queer events get users connecting IRL
  • The constantly updated Feed facilitates social networking

A lesbian entrepreneur created HER (formerly known as Dattch) in the fall of 2013 to help queer women create meaningful relationships. The HER community currently reaches 55 countries, and it is still growing.

Over 5 million women have joined HER in hopes of meeting someone special. The dating app verifies that its users are authentic (and that they identify as female) and only allows members with photos to mingle online.

HER is an altogether respectable and fun place to build a rainbow of friends and relationships. If you want proof that it works, you can always read through #WeMetOnHER stories posted by current and former members of the lesbian dating app.

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★★★ 3.4/5.0
  • Social networking for gay, bi, trans, and queer men
  • Location-based matches spark instant chemistry
  • Grindr Equality advocates for LGBTQ+ interests on the global stage

Grindr is the single most popular gay dating app in the world, and it didn’t get its reputation by accident. Since 2009, Grindr has brought revolutionary technology to the gay dating scene and empowered single men to explore local date options and build same-sex relationships.

Grindr offers free matching and chatting to all its male users. The dating app has over 27 million profiles in its database, and it sees nearly 4 million active users.

Men who are serious about meeting a hot guy may want to upgrade to Grindr Xtra to get additional browsing and communication features. Paid subscribers can view dating profiles outside their city limits using the Explore Mode, and they can use premium search filters based on relationship status, body type, online now, photos only, and other important factors.

Best California Hookup Sites

Seeking casual hookups in California? Adult-friendly dating platforms can satisfy such desires with virtually endless match lists and photo galleries. The following sex sites have large membership bases stretching from Orange County to Sacramento.

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★★★★ 4.2/5.0

Ashley Madison has made headlines as a dating site for affairs, and it’s a steamy place to pick up a date regardless of your relationship status. To date, the website has over 65 million users and creates more than 1.4 million matches per month.

Our Ashley Madison review goes into more detail about the site’s biggest pros and cons. One of the platform’s biggest pros is that a majority of users are open to no-strings-attached sex.

The Ashley Madison signup process allows singles to maintain their anonymity by masking their photos and operating under a username. Plus, the married dating site has a discreet payment system that ensures users won’t be outed by billing statements for a paid dating membership.

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★★★★ 4.1/5.0

BeNaughty is a hookup site geared toward sexy singles in the U.S. and abroad. It’s free to join the network and conduct a local search for single women or men. The site offers free icebreakers and virtual winks to get the ball rolling with a potential match.

Female users enjoy unlimited free messaging on BeNaughty, but male users have to get a paid membership to send messages here. This gendered payment system works well because it ensures single men are serious about meeting someone new, and it ensures single women have the ability to respond to their chat requests.

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★★★★ 4.0/5.0

Adult Friend Finder launched in the 1990s as an X-rated chat room, and now it is among the largest sex and swinger communities in the world. With over 104 million users, this hookup app can offer a world of sexting opportunities to horny individuals.

The AFF community is open to singles, couples, and groups of all races, fetishes, and sexual orientations. The site offers ethnicity search filters to help users find Latino, Asian, or Black dates, and it also has a photos-only button to facilitate physical attraction between anonymous daters.

From the live video streams to kinky blog posts, AFF has got something for everybody, and it allows adults to explore their sexuality from the privacy of home.

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★★★★ 3.9/5.0

FriendFinder-X operates under the motto “where good girls do bad things.” The local sex site appeals to single and not-so-single folks who aren’t afraid to walk on the wild side and let go of their sexual inhibitions.

Anyone over 18 can join FriendFinder-X for free. The hookup site offers a zero-judgment space where a single parent, college student, or retiree can find sex on the down low. Couples seeking threesomes (aka unicorn hunters) have also been known to prowl the FriendFinder-X website and use its matchmaking tools to arrange a ménage à trois.

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★★★★ 4.0/5.0
  • Over 70 million registered users
  • Naked photos, videos, and private messaging available
  • Send a Flirtcast to get in touch with all potential matches

Flirt.com is a free dating site where anything goes and sex is always part of the conversation. The platform’s efficient search, chat, and match tools can facilitate real-time sexting and instant hookups between locals in California.

Free members can find a lot of value on Flirt.com, which is among the top adult chat rooms. Not only does it have an array of search filters, but it also has a swiping section where users can generate matches on the fly. Flirt.com has over 70 million users, so California singles should have no shortage of date options here.

If you’re in a hurry to meet someone new, you can send a FlirtCast to all members who meet your dating standards and live within your area. Some communication tools are available for free on Flirt.com, but a paid membership provides more immediate gratification for casual daters.

Is It Really Safe to Use California Dating Sites?

Yes, online dating is safe because it gives single people the chance to meet new people without leaving home. It’s a virtual forum where online daters can go at their own pace and set high standards for their dating life. For one thing, you can vet your date prospects more thoroughly online than you could at a local bar or nightclub because you have the benefit of a dating profile, photo galleries, and even social media behind you.

All it takes is a quick search on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter to gain insight into who you’re dealing with and see if they’re hiding something. You can also arrange a video date or phone call to screen potential matches.

Online dating can get a bad rap because it’s so easy to lie on a dating profile, but legit dating platforms have implemented verification processes to keep unsavory characters, Nigerian princes, and fake profiles to a minimum.

How Do California Dating Sites Actually Work?

The best California dating sites and apps have similar tools and features to support the needs of modern daters. It’ll start with a free registration process where singles supply basic information about themselves (age, gender, location, height, etc.) and verify their identity by submitting a valid email address, phone number, or social media login.

Plenty of dating sites work without Facebook, but having a dating profile connected to a FB account can be a good thing because it speeds up the signup process and lends more authenticity to the dating profile. A lot of people’s best photos are on Facebook anyway, so it’s just convenient to pull dating profile pictures directly from those albums.

Photo of a dating app

A dating application can connect single people across vast distances.

After you’ve completed your dating profile, you can start searching for compatible singles. Dating sites typically rely on search filters and match recommendations to stimulate interest between users, while dating apps tend to rely more on swiping on one dating profile at a time to create mutual matches that lead to conversations.

Sometimes a dating site will have a keyword search to add more fun and personality to the matchmaking process. That way, online daters can type in “military” or “cowboy” to find dating profiles that fit their type.

Online dating sites and apps vary widely when it comes to free and paid features. Free dating services like OkCupid and Plenty of Fish take pride in supporting totally free communication between all users. But premium dating services like EliteSingles and eharmony often require singles to invest in the dating platform if they want to have a conversation and make a meaningful connection.

Don’t let the cost of online dating deter you — even paid dating sites will usually offer a free trial or free matching to help budget-conscious singles get started.

How Do I Choose the Best California Dating Site?

That depends on what you’re looking for. We’ve reviewed a bunch of reputable dating sites and apps that work for California singles seeking local dates, but singles who want to explore international love interests may feel more at home on a Russian dating site or an Asian dating site.

It’s important to look at the makeup of the membership base when determining if an online dating service is right for you. Whether you’re looking for Asian singles or Los Angeles singles, you should choose a site or app where singles who are your type are in the majority, and don’t be shy about creating multiple dating profiles at once. Proactive online daters use about three apps at once to up the odds of meeting a potential partner.

Can You Search By Location on California Dating Sites?

Yes, typically a dating site or app will have some sort of location-based preferences that allow a single person to search for compatible matches within a certain city, ZIP code, or state. Sometimes the dating service will ask singles to provide a maximum mile radius for potential matches or indicate how far they’re willing to travel to meet a date.

California is a big place, and it has many diverse neighborhoods, so it’s a good idea to cast a wide net to get a feel for what dating options are out there. After all, the larger your mile radius, the more match recommendations will come your way. Disclaimer: If you’re not open to dating across city lines, you should be honest about that and identify location as a dealbreaker in your profile settings. Local dating sites will have your back and strive to meet your dating standards.

Is Coffee Meets Bagel a Good Dating App for Californians?

Coffee Meets Bagel is a popular dating app that has largely positive reviews among American singles. However, it just missed the cut in our top 10 rankings because the app has a relatively small user base (about 21 million users) and no search filters.

The CMB app recommends compatible date prospects based on the user’s profile, and it limits the number of matches and conversations a person can start per day. Coffee Meets Bagel focuses on quality over quantity in hopes of fostering more real relationships. In theory, that sounds great. In practice, it leaves singles with a lot of ghosted conversations and unfulfilled expectations.

Screenshot of Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee Meets Bagel is in business to inspire real-life romantic relationships.

That being said, if you prefer to slow down the matchmaking process and wade into a smaller dating pool, then Coffee Meets Bagel may be a good solution for you. It has created over 55 million matches over the last 10 years, so it is a valid way to meet someone new and spark a promising relationship.

Coffee Meets Bagel is particularly popular in Northern California because that is where it was originally launched. CMB is the passion project of three Asian women in San Francisco, so it has naturally attracted many California singles in search of true love.

California Dating Sites & Apps Offer a Romantic Gold Mine

From Hollywood to Silicon Valley, California has many exciting, youthful, and diverse cities where you can meet single people of all ages, orientations, and backgrounds. A popular dating site or app can connect a single person to large singles networks and increase their likelihood of finding a romantic relationship that can go the distance.

Our list of the best California dating sites and apps is a good starting point for a person hoping to cover a lot of dating ground in the largest state in the U.S. All it takes is a free dating profile to gain access to potential matches and conversations that wouldn’t normally happen in real life. Eureka!

This review is a helpful guide to dating sites for all singles living in California, with a particular focus on the online dating scene in these popular cities: Los Angeles (CA), San Diego (CA), San Jose (CA), San Francisco (CA), Fresno (CA), Sacramento (CA), Long Beach (CA), Oakland (CA), Bakersfield (CA), Anaheim (CA, Santa Ana (CA), Riverside (CA), Stockton (CA), Modesto (CA), and Irvine (CA).

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