Los Angeles is the best city for experiencing the quintessential endless summer in Southern California. We rounded up eight of the best beaches in LA, from Malibu to the South Bay.
The Getaway: Leo Carrillo State Beach
Located in Malibu 28 miles north of Santa Monica on Pacific Coast Highway, Leo Carrillo State Park offers a beach that stretches for more than a mile. This best beach is dotted with sea caves, tidepools, and other beach-combing delights. The park is named after the actor and preservationist who served on the California Beach and Parks Commission for 18 years. A small visitor center offers interpretive displays, as well as guided nature walks and campfire programs. Picnic areas, campsites, and RV facilities are also located in the park. So if you’re looking to set up shop for a while and enjoy the scene, this might be the best spot. More info here.
Website: Leo Carillo State Park
The Hopeless Romantic: El Matador Beach
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more romantic best beach than El Matador. Located about 10 miles northwest of Malibu, this secluded pocket beach has rocky shores, robust waves and some of the clearest water in L.A. Use the bathroom at the top before taking the steps on the bluff to the shore; the rock formations, caves and hidden coves are perfect for frolicking into the sunset. More info here.
Website: El Matador
The Surf Spot: Malibu Surfrider Beach
When it’s time to get out the surfboard, apply a new coat of wax and zip on the wetsuit, there’s no better place to be than Surfrider Beach in Malibu. Living up to its name, Surfrider is known for its super long right-hand break as much as being a place to play in the waves or watch surfers from the shore as the sun sets over their silhouettes. More info here.
The Classic Stretch of Sand: Santa Monica Beach
Located just north of the historic Santa Monica Pier, this is one of the most popular beaches in LA. The two miles of sand at Santa Monica Beach feels endless and offers plenty of space to stretch the legs, set up for a game of volleyball, or go for a bike ride. Bring the sunscreen, a little cash for parking and a beach towel or blanket. Let the sun, sand and surf do the rest. More info here.
Website: Santa Monica Beach
The People Watcher: Venice Beach
Venice Beach is a lively city beach where the action is as much about the people as it is about the surf, sand or skating. In fact, the world famous Ocean Front Walk often upstages the Pacific Ocean. Keep an eye out for Harry Perry, the turbaned guitar player often rollerblading down the boardwalk and seen in numerous films and TV shows. Bodybuilders, chainsaw jugglers, musicians, breakdancers, palm readers and all kinds of folk artists keep things entertaining. More info here.
Website: Venice Beach
At Manhattan Beach, it’s all beautiful people, shiny cars, big sunglasses and little lap dogs. But that’s in the trendy area of town next to the shore, where scenes from many television shows have been filmed. On the sand, you’ll find beach volleyball at courts that seem to go on for miles, and bodysurfing near the pier. Check out the aquarium at the end of the pier, with its interesting sea creatures and touch pool. When it comes to getting in the water, you should know that surfing is limited to the south side of the pier and boogie boarding is confined to the water north of the pier. Swimming is prohibited in the areas immediately adjacent to the pier. More info here.
Website: Manhattan Beach
There’s a certain stylish vibe at Hermosa Beach and its surrounding seaside community that you won’t find at other L.A. beaches. You’re just as likely to see people shopping and relaxing in outdoor cafes as you are the tanned and toned beach gods and goddesses that frequent the sandy shoreline. Pier Plaza is the place to hang out when you’d rather skip the sunscreen and beach towels. Once you’re on the shore, a pristine expanse of sand awaits, with volleyball nets, plenty of space for sunbathing and sandcastle building, and a paved walkway for strolling or biking. More info here.
Website: Hermosa Beach
Popular among travelers and locals hitting the beach with kids in tow, Cabrillo Beach is a tranquil setting near San Pedro, with everything you need for the perfect family outing. Located on a thin peninsula near Point Fermin Park, the beach actually has two sides — one outside the breakwater that’s open to the surf, and one that’s open to the harbor. Depending on the activity, you can select either side and enjoy some adventure or some well-deserved relaxation. After you’re finished with the beach, head to the nearby Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and enjoy the interactive exhibits, tidepool touch tanks and other unforgettable attractions. More info here.
Website: Cabrillo Beach
Originally published on discoverlosangeles.com