Best Free California Dating Sites

Men's Dating

25 Best Free California Dating Sites (2020)

Amber Brooks
Amber Brooks Updated:

California is home to Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Disneyland, Yosemite, and Napa (aka one of the most romantic cities in North America), so it’s a pretty dynamic place to live and date — especially if you’ve got a free California dating site in your pocket.

Many of today’s most popular dating sites actually got started in California, and they remain fixtures in the local dating scene because they’re fast, fun, and efficient.

We’ve ranked and reviewed some of our favorite dating platforms for singles on the West Coast to help you fill your California nights with romance and fun. These sites and apps are top of the line, and they don’t cost a thing to join.

★★★★★
4.9/5.0

Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships

Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more

Our Experts Say: “Match has facilitated the most dates and relationships of any dating site, and its large audience and high success rate make it our top review...” Full Review »

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California is the most populous state in the U.S., and Match supports the most populous dating network in the online dating industry, so it’s a perfect fit for men and women in the Golden State.

Since 1995, Match has arranged countless first dates, and it is responsible for more relationships and marriages than any of its competitors.

Match is our top-rated dating site for Californians because it has powerful matchmaking tools, in-depth search filters, and a proven track record in the dating scene. If you’re serious about meeting someone, you couldn’t ask for a better wingman.

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Serious Relationships

Match System: Search, Receive Partner Suggestions

Our Experts Say: “EliteSingles is a leading dating site just for busy, single professionals. More than 80% of members have earned a college degree, and most are looking for a serious commitment...” Full Review »

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As a top-tier dating site, EliteSingles offers single professionals the opportunity to elevate their online dating experience and meet people on their same level.

Over 90% of EliteSingles members are over 30 years old, over 80% have earned a college degree, and 100% are single. That makes it more fertile dating ground than the average California locale. In Cali, the average age is 36, only 33% of Californians have graduated college, and only 55% are single.

EliteSingles allows members to customize dating preferences regarding age, height, income, education, ethnicity, and other factors. Singles can also indicate the distance they’re willing to travel (50-300 miles) for a date and how important it is to them to meet someone who lives close by.

3. Zoosk

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Fun Dates, Serious Relationships

Match System: Search and get match recommendations

Our Experts Say: “Zoosk is integrated with social media sites, like Facebook and Google+, so it's very popular with singles on the go...” Full Review »

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Zoosk began as a Silicon Valley startup in 2007, and it has grown into a global dating brand with over 40 million followers in 80 countries.

Zoosk uses behavioral matchmaking to spark connections and drive compatible couples together. The more you browse profiles and engage with people on the site or app, the more accurate your match suggestions will become because the algorithm looks for profiles that are similar to the ones you’ve liked in the past.

Whether you live in Anaheim or Sacramento, you’ll encounter tons of local date options on Zoosk, and you can send a like, message, or virtual gift to get someone’s attention online.

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Casual Dates, Deep Relationships

Match System: Personality test suggests matches

Our Experts Say: “Accounting for 2% of U.S. marriages, eharmony's compatibility-based system and commitment-minded user base are ideal for those seeking a serious relationship...” Full Review »

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Since 2000, eharmony has distinguished itself as the dating site for relationship-minded singles. This isn’t a space for superficial swiping or halfhearted dating — no, eharmony members are all in, and they’re looking for a partner for life.

Over 2 million couples have already found love on eharmony, which boasts being the most trusted dating site in the U.S.

Ana Maria and Tim got married in June 2012 after meeting for the first time on eharmony. “When Tim moved to California, his family built their home in the same neighborhood where I grew up,” said Ana Maria. “There were just so many ways we should’ve met, but we weren’t ready for each other.”

★★★★★
4.5/5.0

Relationships: Friendship, Casual Dates, Serious Relationships

Match System: Search by age, location, height, education, ethnicity, and religion

Our Experts Say: “SilverSingles is a fast-growing, easy-to-use niche dating site exclusively for active daters over the age of 50...” Full Review »

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SilverSingles is the ideal online dating companion for seniors who are looking for a date in California. This high-end dating site and app connects over-50 singles without a lot of hassle or drama.

It’s free to create a SilverSingles profile and describe yourself and your interests through a series of fun prompts, quizzes, and photo galleries. The site’s matchmaking system will take your dating preferences into account when recommending matches, and it also has a swiping-based Have You Met section where you can meet singles who share similar backgrounds and personality quirks.

★★★★
4.4/5.0

Relationships: Dates and Relationships

Match System: Search by profiles by zip and more

Our Experts Say: “OurTime is well-known in the over-50 dating crowd, particularly because it has a ton of helpful search features and an easy layout...” Full Review »

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OurTime is another senior-friendly dating site (and app) where advanced age is an attractive quality.

Free members can send likes, favorite profiles, and browse matches and connections on OurTime; however, only paid members have full access to the communication features on the site. You can also pay extra to rank higher in search results and get more eyes on your dating profile.

“I just want to thank you so very much,” said an OurTime user from California. “Over two years ago, I met my love here, and he has made all of the difference in my life.”

★★★★
4.4/5.0

Relationships: Dates and Serious Relationships

Match System: Search by gender, age, education, more

Our Experts Say: “ChristianMingle is among the largest dating sites in the industry that only caters to single Christian men and women, and the site has some of the best search filters and safety features...” Full Review »

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California is among the 15 least religious states in the U.S. — only 47% of Californians say religion is very important to them — and that makes it rather poor dating ground for anyone seeking Christian dates here. Fortunately, ChristianMingle can offer romantic salvation for Californians who want to date within their faith.

ChristianMingle supports a community of 15 million Christians and takes pride in having the highest concentration of Christians on any dating network. If you’re looking for a faith-centric dating scene, then this site could be the answer to your prayers.

★★★★
4.0/5.0

Relationships: Deep Relationships or Just Casual Dates

Match System: Search by location, age, more

Our Experts Say: “BlackPeopleMeet.com is the one of the largest and most popular dating sites for black and biracial singles, and the site is used by more than 5 million people a month...” Full Review »

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BlackPeopleMeet is the go-to dating site for black and biracial singles in the U.S., and it has a sizable membership base in Oakland, Palmdale, and other major cities in California.

BlackPeopleMeet members take pride in their diversity and heritage, and they’re looking for dates who can understand where they’re coming from. You don’t have to be particularly dark-skinned to join BlackPeopleMeet, but a majority of members identify as people of color and want to date in the black community.

“I have found my true love…thanks to this site,” said a BPM member from Sacramento. “I want to wish everyone the best of luck in finding theirs.”

★★★★
3.5/5.0

Relationships: Hookups, Chats

Match System: Search by encounter, location, and more

Our Experts Say: “BeNaughty is a premier hookup app where you can feel comfortable expressing your desires. Plus, it's free to join, browse, and flirt...” Full Review »

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Looking for a hookup? Then BeNaughty could be the California dating site for you. This discreet platform encourages singles to engage in sexually charged chats and form an intimate connection that goes beyond the online scene.

Singles who are hunting for a date in Huntington Beach or looking for free love in Fremont can come into their own thanks to BeNaughty.

It’s free to create a profile, browse personal ads, like photos, and send messages on BeNaughty, so nothing will stand between you and a hot date here.

★★★★
3.5/5.0

Relationships: Hookups Only

Match System: Search by location, interest, more

Our Experts Say: “Make no mistake: this site isn't about making friends, it's about short-term "hookups" and affairs only. Note that a basic account costs $14.95/month, but it's well worth it if casual sex is your goal...”

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Adult Friend Finder can offer a sex-positive dating environment for Californians in the mood to hook up with somebody. Over 99 million singles and swingers have joined the AFF community over the last two decades, and all members have been verified as legit.

One of our favorite things about Adult Friend Finder is the kinky search tools. You can actually search for sexual partners by fetish — bondage, role playing, group sex, etc. — and you can also create filters by body type — including male endowment and breast size — to make sure you identify the most attractive folks in your area.

★★★
3.4/5.0

Relationships: Hookups Only

Match System: Search by location, interest, more

Our Experts Say: “A hookup site specializing in casual encounters, secret affairs, live chats, and member videos, FriendFinder-X skips the awkward "dating" stage of a relationship and fast-forwards straight to the sex...”

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As a local hookup site, FriendFinder-X connects horny singles who live in the same neighborhood, city, or metro area. The site gives singles, couples, and groups of all sexual orientations the chance to get to know each other online and then get to know each other better offline.

Many hotties in Long Beach mingle on FriendFinder-X on a regular basis, and it’s easy to build chemistry and create a steamy connection in private chats or video broadcasts.

FriendFinder-X boasts being a site “where good girls do bad things,” so don’t be shy about pursuing your desires and asking people out here.

12. MenNation

★★★
3.4/5.0

Relationships: Daters & Hookups

Match System: Search by age, zip code, more

Our Experts Say: “MenNation is a well-established gay dating and hookup brand, having been founded in 1996. It's totally free to join, view profiles, receive matches, and flirt...”

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MenNation is a gay hookup site with a massive user base in California and beyond. Singles and couples from all over the world have joined the MenNation network in hopes of finding a hot guy to take to bed, and they haven’t been disappointed by this stimulating atmosphere.

MenNation sees over 61,000 daily active users, and it is particularly busy in places like San Francisco where the gay community is in force.

Thanks to MenNation, gay and bisexual men can find romance whenever they’re in the mood to chat and flirt, and they don’t have to go out to the bars and clubs to pick up hot dates.

★★★
3.4/5.0

Relationships: Hookups Only

Match System: Search by location, interest, more

Our Experts Say: “LesbianPersonals provides a fun, quick, and easy experience for gay and bisexual women looking for sex online. Join for free, and you'll be able to search and communicate immediately...”

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LesbianPersonals empowers women to let down their hair and solicit sex on their terms. The hookup site appeals primarily to lesbian women, bisexual women, and couples seeking threesomes.

LesbianPersonals promises to protect the privacy of its users. Members don’t have to disclose their names or exact locations when creating a personals ad, and they can hold off on uploading a profile picture until they feel comfortable putting themselves out there.

14. Tinder

We couldn’t create a list of the best California dating sites and apps without mentioning Tinder — the original swipe-right dating app. Since 2012, Tinder has captured many singles’ hearts and helped them sort through the local dating scene in a way that made sense. Today, it is the most popular dating app in California.

Some may criticize Tinder for being superficial or turning dating into a game, but it has been downloaded over 340 million times and has over 5.9 million paid subscribers. The people have spoken, and they’ve swiped right on Tinder.

Screenshot from Tinder's website

Tinder inspires over 1.5 million dates every week.

The majority of Tinder users are under 30, and that plays a major role in the app’s overall vibe. Tinder encourages folks to explore the dating scene and chat with multiple date prospects in a low-pressure environment. Many Tinder singles are content with the #SwipeLife and are looking for a distraction and an ego boost — not a serious commitment.

Tinder has created over 43 billion matches in less than a decade, and we can’t wait to see where it’ll go from here.

15. OkCupid

OkCupid is a free dating site and app where personality drives romantic connections. Since 2004, OkCupid has differentiated itself from other apps and sites by promoting lengthy profiles, in-depth compatibility questions, and highly accurate compatibility ratings.

Every year, OkCupid inspires more than 91 million online connections and 2.6 million first dates.

Screenshot of OkCupid

OkCupid can help California singles date someone who meets their standards.

OkCupid’s motto is “Dating deserves better,” and the team has had to be flexible to continually meet the needs of an ever-shifting dating scene.

In 2014, OkCupid became the first dating platform to cater to nonbinary daters and people all across the spectrum. The site expanded its gender and orientation options to include 34 identities, including agender, genderqueer, pansexual, and queer. Thanks to this innovative move, straight and LGBTQ+ singles in California can feel free to date on their terms.

16. Plenty of Fish

Many Californians enjoy surfing on Plenty of Fish because it’s a completely free dating site and app with a global following. This dating pool includes over 150 million singles in 20 countries, and it adds over 65,000 new users each day.

Plenty of Fish can assist singles looking for casual dating, serious relationships, new friends, or anything in between. Its success stories highlight couples who have gotten engaged or married after meeting in the POF community, and the site is responsible for creating 57 million love connections a week.

Screenshot of POF

POF can help Californians navigate their way to a hot date without paying to chat with anybody.

Since 2003, Plenty of Fish has endeavored to get out of the way and give singles the opportunity to meet without jumping through hoops or paying any fees. The dating platform doesn’t have paywalls, match requirements, or character limits on its chat features. The only real restriction is that you can only send 55 unsolicited messages to users per day.

17. Bumble

In 2014, the Bumble dating app launched as a female-friendly alternative to Tinder, and it has proven to be a progressive and feminist force to be reckoned with. Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd got into the dating industry by co-founding Tinder in 2012, but she became concerned, alarmed, and disgusted by the male chauvinism in the space. She left Tinder, slapping the company with a sexual harassment lawsuit, and set out to create something better for women.

Bumble puts women first — only women can send the first message when they match with a man — and it has welcomed over 55 million members to the Hive.

Screenshot of Bumble

Bumble made headlines in 2014 as the world’s first feminist dating app.

Bumble has taken a high-integrity approach to dating, and it encourages singles to put their best foot forward in every match and conversation. The community rules have banned underwear selfies, graphic hunting photos, pictures of people in swimwear, and pornographic material. Bumble also offers photo verification tools to build trust among singles online.

18. Hinge

Hinge has upgraded the typical swiping experience. This dating app has earned its reputation as “the relationship app” by highlighting quality profiles and sparking interest-based conversations.

Every Hinge profile includes six photos, three punchy prompts, and basic demographic information, including the person’s age, location, education, political views, smoking habits, drinking habits, and other attributes. If you want to create a match, you have to comment on or like a photo or prompt on the profile.

Screenshot of Hinge's homepage

Hinge is a quality-driven app where users can get to know one another on a deeper level online.

The Hinge app gives singles enough information and context to build connections based on shared interests, goals, and sense of humor. As a result, Hinge boasts having the best first-date success rate in the online dating scene. The app collected feedback from users who had exchanged contact information and found that 90% said they enjoyed their dates and 72% said they would go out again.

19. Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee Meets Bagel is based in San Francisco and run by three women on a mission to improve the online dating landscape. The CMB app encourages singles to slow down and put more consideration into every dating profile because they only get a certain number of likes and matches per day.

The objective of Coffee Meets Bagel isn’t to overwhelm singles with too many options — it’s to whittle those options down to the most desirable few.

Screenshot of CoffeeMeetsBagel

The Coffee Meets Bagel app began as a passion project of three California women.

Coffee Meets Bagel has made over 50 million matches since its launch in 2012, and it has countless love stories to its name. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, then this could be a great way to explore the California dating scene and cultivate strong connections.

20. Grindr

Grindr is one of the largest and most popular gay dating apps in the history of online dating, and it’s become a staple in California’s LGBTQ+scene. Over 27 million men have joined Grindr in search of same-sex relationships and hookups, and they haven’t been disappointed by its flirtatious tools.

As a fast-paced social app, Grindr uses location-based matching to find date prospects who are just around the corner from you and willing to meet up right away.

Screenshot of Grindr's homepage

Grindr has over 3.8 million active users in 234 countries and territories.

Since its launch in 2009, Grindr has empowered gay, bisexual, and bi-curious men to date on their terms. Many gay singles say it’s their go-to wingman when they’re looking for hot dates.

“It has been an emotional roller coaster for me, but overall I’d say it’s been exciting,” said a Grindr user on Reddit. “The app is not so much for dating but rather hooking up.”

21. Badoo

If you’re looking for a reason to join a dating site, Badoo can give you 464 million reasons to take a chance on its network. This dating app has 464 million registered users, and over 60 million monthly active users (which is almost double California’s population).

In our Badoo review, we gave it four stars and highlighted the straightforward swiping and engaging chat and video features that bring people together on the app.

The Badoo logo

Badoo is available in 47 languages and connects singles across 190 countries.

Badoo may have a silly name, but it has had a very serious impact in the dating world. In the average day, Badoo members send over 350 million messages, swipe on over 12 billion profiles, and add over 10 million photos to their dating profiles.

22. Happn

About 53% of Californians are single, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to meet attractive and available people around town. Sometimes it takes a little extra help to find singles in your area. That’s where Happn comes in for the save.

This ingenious dating app uses a smartphone’s location data to make something happen between singles who frequently cross paths in the real world but may never have met before.

Screenshot of Happn

You never know who you’ll meet when you create a Happn profile.

Happn gives singles the opportunity to find date prospects that are within walking distance. It creates serendipitous matches and shows you the places you have in common. Perhaps you visit the same coffee shop in Fresno or the same park in San Diego.

As a California dater, you’re likely surrounded by people wherever you go, and Happn can make all those potential love interests available at your fingertips.

23. HER

HER offers a diverse and trendy community of lesbian, bisexual, and queer womxn seeking love and friendship. This ladies-only dating app has set high standards in the online dating scene and encouraged its members to feel safe and comfortable reaching out to one another.

As a free HER member, you can comment on photos, send private messages, and RSVP to queer events in your area, and you can browse a rainbow of profiles and potential matches online.

Screenshot of HER's website

HER is a social dating app where lesbian, queer, and bisexual womxn can find their person.

HER has over 4 million members, all of whom have been vetted and verified by the team, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for California girls to find one another here.

“I can’t even begin to explain how much happiness these last three years have given me,” said Alex in an anniversary message to the partner she met on HER. “I love you with all my heart!”

24. The League

As an elite dating app, The League celebrates high standards and encourages singles to be choosy in the search for love. Its network includes executives, entrepreneurs, engineers, and other highly successful and desirable individuals. The League does a great job of screening new users and removing profiles that don’t measure up.

Since its launch in 2015, The League has exceeded expectations with its premier matchmaking tools and selective membership base. Whether you’re a model in Los Angeles or a tech whiz in San Jose, you should feel in your element on The League.

Screenshot from The League's website

The League caters to well-educated professionals who never settle for anything less than the best.

One of the most intriguing things about The League is its quality-driven algorithm. The app rewards daters for pursuing top-tier relationships and punishes those who seem flaky or undesirable. The app deprioritizes users who swipe right on everyone, users who swipe without sending messages, and users who fail to attract likes and matches.

25. Mingle2

Mingle2 is an online dating service where local personals and discussion forums lead to romance. The site (and its companion app) provide tons of opportunities to make a quick match and engage in a real-time chat.

The Mingle2 database includes over 39 million members of all ages and backgrounds. Plus, over 639,000 people sign up each month.

Screenshot of Mingle2

Mingle2 is a flirtatious and safe place to mingle with dates who live and work nearby.

Mingle2 is free for all California daters, and it can help you explore the local singles community and pick up dates within a certain mile radius.

“I’m now in a wonderful relationship — thank you, Mingle2,” said Jeff, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona. “The site is so easy to use, and there are tons of people who want to chat.”

Which Dating Site is Completely Free?

OkCupid is a completely free dating site where singles can match and chat without a paid subscription. It’s free to create a profile, answer personal questions, and view compatible dating profiles. You can also send a like or an initial greeting to anyone on the site or app; however, only mutual matches can engage in a conversation.

Screenshot of OkCupid

OkCupid facilitates over 91 million love connections every year.

OkCupid does have an A-List subscription, but it is totally optional, and you don’t need to upgrade to meet people on the site or app. An A-List subscription gives users access to unlimited likes and advanced search filters, and A-Listers also appear higher in search results and receive message-read receipts.

Are There Any Legitimate Free Hookup Sites?

BeNaughty is a free hookup site that helps singles explore their sexuality and find sexual partners without paying anything. This legit space offers a lot of flirtatious tools, including a photo-based Like Gallery. The BeNaughty website can help you find hookups in your city or state, and it officially costs $0 to join.

Which Dating Site is Best for Serious Relationships?

Our dating experts consider eharmony to be the best dating site for serious relationships for many reasons. First off, it uses psychology-based matching to inspire long-term relationships. Secondly, it attracts serious daters who are willing to invest in online dating. And, finally, this dating site has many heartwarming success stories to prove it works.

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Casual Dates, Deep Relationships

Match System: Personality test suggests matches

Our Experts Say: “Accounting for 2% of U.S. marriages, eharmony's compatibility-based system and commitment-minded user base are ideal for those seeking a serious relationship...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

If you want to meet The One, eharmony will be there to support you every step of the way. From the Compatibility Quiz to the premium messaging, the eharmony site makes an effort to build lasting connections between quality singles.

How Can I Meet Local Singles for Free?

If you want to meet local singles without paying anything, then a free dating site can help you out, but so can community events, bars, chat rooms, and volunteer days. There are a lot of ways to meet people in the area, and many of them don’t cost a thing.

Meetup groups can unite people around a common interest, passion, or hobby, and you often don’t need to pay a membership fee or cover charge to take part.

We’ve actually created city-by-city dating guides for Californians looking to meet singles in their area. These guides offer a lot of resources, including online dating recommendations, to help singles come out of their shell.

California Dreamin’ of a Free Dating Site or App

California is a huge and populous state, and it is full of romantic opportunities, but locals need to know where to go to meet the right people. If you’re running low on date options in the real world, then it makes sense to look for a dating site with good reviews to help you pick up the slack and bring some excitement to your date nights.

The free dating sites and apps on this list all have what it takes to create loving relationships or steamy hookups, depending on where you go and what you want. And you never know who you’ll meet when browsing profiles and matches on a popular platform.

Whether you’re looking for a brunch date, a party buddy, or a life partner, the best California dating sites will have you flirting, matching, and saying “Eureka!” in no time.

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