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Bianca
Miami

Los Angeles

What are the top 3 beaches in Los Angeles?

What are some beautiful beaches that I should check out while I'm in LA?  My friends and I were thinking we'd stay around Santa Monica'ish and we're down to drive!


20 Answers

top answer by
JR from Manhattan Beach

Any trip to LA should include some time near the water and Malibu is a great option and one of my favorite places in Malibu is Point Dume State Beach. It's one of the most beautiful beaches in LA. Although surrounded by Malibu homes, it still provides the feeling of what LA must have been like 100 years ago. It's a beautiful place to hike/walk and enjoy the views. However, it's a bear to get to. Parking is very limited. There are only a few parking spots on the street nearest the path to the beach so be prepared to walk a lot just to get to the bluff, but on a nice day it's worth it. They now have walking paths, vista points, and a stairway that leads down to the beach making it easier to get up and down the bluff.

Take some water and food, because there is nothing down there except for a few surfers and beachgoers. The beach was previously a well-known nude beach because it is so secluded. But now the easier access has made it less desirable to the exhibitionists, so now there is no nudity to fear. From the bluff above are some of the best views in LA, IMO. 

Another route to the beach, which is even a little more adventurous, you can walk in from Paradise Cove Cafe Note that this walk/hike can only be made at low tide because otherwise the beach is under water. So check the tide charts if you want to try to pull this off. Don't let the tide come in and cut you off. Even if you don't want to do the full walk, the cafe is great place to just have a drink in the sand (only place in LA where you can drink on the beach) and stroll out the small pier. It's very civilized and bloody marys are noteworthy. Valet parking at Cafe is pricey but makes things VERY easy and I recommend it. 

Manhattan Beach Pier is another good one. On a big surf day, the pier provides such a cool perspective to watch the waves and the surfers. It's a great way to see Manhattan Beach from this California historical landmark. It was completed in 1920 and it's the longest concrete pier on the west coast. At the end they have a small aquarium with a shark tank and a couple tidal pools for kids to touch the sea stars. Worth taking a peek in there for sure. Don't forget to leave a little donation since it funded by donations and volunteers.

Laguna Beach is also worth adding to the list.  It's the perfect road trip from Santa Monica to see some more of the coast.  A stop by Montage Laguna Beach is mandatory, even if you don't stay there.  Any photos that you see on the web of this place just doesn't do this place justice. It's amazing and it could be one of the nicest hotels in the world IMO. When i travel, I like views... i like to get some perspective so I love the Montage in Laguna Beach. Leave your car with the valet, have a drink or lunch or just walk the grounds down to the beach (which is 100% allowed/encouraged). If you're there for sunset, enjoy the music in the lobby and view. If you're thinking of spending the night in the area, just a FYI that the rooms are really pricey, so unless you want to break the bank you might want to stay elsewhere, but still have a peek inside this place. A cheaper option I would recommend close by is Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa or Laguna Beach House.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Point Dume State Beach (attraction)
  2. Paradise Cove Cafe (restaurant)
  3. Manhattan Beach Pier (attraction)
  4. Laguna Beach (city)
  5. Montage Laguna Beach (hotel)
  6. Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa (restaurant)
  7. Laguna Beach House (hotel)
15 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Vicky from Los Angeles

Crystal Cove State Park is one of Southern California's best kept secrets. The beach is pristine, the rocks and the tidal pools are gorgeous - it feels like a world away (reminds me of Santa Catarina beaches in Brazil, actually!). It's worth the drive to Orange County :-)  Park on Los Trancos on the other side of PCH and grab a mojito or two at The Beachcomber Cafe right on the beach - they'll validate your parking. 



Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Crystal Cove State Park (attraction)
  2. The Beachcomber Cafe (restaurant)
12 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Andrew from Manhattan Beach

It's a bit of a drive from Santa Monica, but the cliffs at Rancho Palos Verdes are beautiful.  If you time it right, you can hike the trails near Trump National Golf Club in the afternoon, and then catch the sunset while you have dinner at Nelson's.  These beaches are rocky, so you wouldn't go to swim or lay out on the sand, but it's really easy to walk for some great views (and potentially whale and dolphin watching).


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rancho Palos Verdes (city)
  2. Trump National Golf Club (attraction)
  3. Nelson's (restaurant)
11 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Melanie from Los Angeles

Bianca, you're in luck -- some of the nicest beaches in L.A. are right in Santa Monica! The beachfront in front of  Hotel Casa Del Mar and  Shutters On the Beach is especially pretty, with a view of the  Santa Monica Pier and a popular swath of the 22-mile  Marvin Braude Bike Trail (also known as the Santa Monica Bike Path).

About a half-mile north is the streamlined  Annenberg Community Beach House, where parking costs about $8, bathrooms are clean, and right next door you'll find some great tacos at  Back on the Beach Cafe. The pool here is public, but it's a good idea to arrive early to beat the crowds; or, advance reservations can be made online. About a mile north of the Annenberg is  Will Rogers Beach State Park, which is often less-crowded than these other two, both on the bike path and the sand. 

I'd also suggest driving up PCH about 20-30 minutes to Malibu to explore the private cove and beach bar/restaurant at  Paradise Cove Cafe, the surfer scene at  Zuma Beach, and the unique rock formations at El Matador State Beach.

El Matador State Beach is my favorite beach in the area; it requires a few bucks for parking, braving a porta-pottie or hitting the restroom at Starbucks a half-mile away (also set beside a small grocery store), and a long, steep flight of stairs to access the sand, but this cove will make you feel like you're a world away from the rest of Los Angeles. Keep an eye out for sea lions, dolphins and pelicans. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hotel Casa Del Mar (hotel)
  2. Shutters On the Beach (hotel)
  3. Santa Monica Pier (attraction)
  4. Marvin Braude Bike Trail (attraction)
  5. Annenberg Community Beach House (attraction)
  6. Back on the Beach Cafe (restaurant)
  7. Will Rogers Beach State Park (attraction)
  8. Paradise Cove Cafe (restaurant)
  9. Zuma Beach (attraction)
  10. El Matador State Beach (attraction)
  11. Malibu (city)
8 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Val from Los Angeles

If you want to avoid the crowded beach scene...  I would say, hop in the car and drive north on the PCH to Malibu!  Check out the smaller beaches like  El Pescador State Beach or  El Matador State Beach they have smaller pay lots there or you can park up along PCH for free.

Combine this with a visit to Malibu Seafood for AMAZING fish & chips!  Delish!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Malibu (city)
  2. El Pescador State Beach (attraction)
  3. El Matador State Beach (attraction)
  4. Malibu Seafood (restaurant)
5 thankscomments (1)


answered first by
Peter from Los Angeles

Santa Monica is great choice. If you're looking for other beaches in the area, there's always the south bay,  Manhattan BeachHermosa Beach and  Redondo Beach. Each of them have a pier to check out!

You could also take a walk, run or bike ride along  The Strand. Great views alongside the ocean and it's great for people & dog watching.

The scenery isn't really pretty but  Dockweiler State Beach isn't too bad. The cool thing is they're the only beach in L.A. that allows bonfires. Great for hanging out and making smores. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Manhattan Beach (city)
  2. Redondo Beach (city)
  3. Dockweiler State Beach (attraction)
  4. The Strand (attraction)
  5. Hermosa Beach (city)
5 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Breanna from Los Angeles

El Matador State Beach is definitely one of those beaches that locals like to keep secret for themselves! (Shh, don't tell them I told you:)

Don't forget your camera, this spot was made for pictures/impromptu photo shoots.



Mentioned in this answer:

  1. El Matador State Beach (attraction)
4 thanks


answered by
Courtney from San Diego

You're down to drive, but I'm willing to bet once you get to the beach you're going to want accessibility to restaurants, shopping, local events, etc. That's why I'm going to add to the already mentioned - Laguna Beach You'll have so many choices within walking distance and the long length of pristine beach can be enjoyed on the sand or from the view of the cliffs. 

With a group of girls check out The The Beach House or The Inn at Laguna Beach. They're unbelievably affordable for their location. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Laguna Beach (city)
  2. The Beach House (attraction)
  3. The Inn at Laguna Beach (hotel)
3 thanks


answered by
Courtney from Los Angeles

I'd suggest checking out the Annenberg Community Beach House which is in Santa Monica. It's basically an art space/beach house/pool that you can use for free. You can even see where movie star and Hearst mistress, Marion Davies lived (the house he built for her is part of the property). 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Annenberg Community Beach House (attraction)
  2. Santa Monica (city)
3 thanks


answered by
Eric from Moscow

My absolute favorite which will require you to drive would be  Newport Beach with a great beach area (also see nearby Balboa Beach ), great little shops, and there's even a small amusement park area.  If you want to see tide pools, check out  Dana Point.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Newport Beach (city)
  2. Dana Point (city)
  3. Balboa Beach (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Manuri from Los Angeles

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Venice Beach (city)
  2. Santa Monica (city)
  3. Hermosa Beach (city)
2 thanks


answered by
Kelly from Santa Monica

Definitely Zuma Beach is a pretty and easy to swim beach. If you want to stay more local to Santa Monica I usually swim and hang out at Tower 26 Ocean Swim Short Term Parking Lot in other words lifeguard tower 26 on Ocean Park Blvd It's where all the triathletes and swimmers start their swim. Some days the water is clear and beautiful.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Zuma Beach (attraction)
  2. Santa Monica (city)
  3. Tower 26 Ocean Swim Short Term Parking Lot (attraction)
  4. Ocean Park Blvd (attraction)
2 thanks


answered by
Kevin from Hermosa Beach

The South Bay – Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach & Redondo Beach. Mostly locals beach that's everything you think about when it comes to the Southern California lifestyle – surfing, beach volleyball and the laid-back people. Good restaurants and fantastic and lively bars, particularly at the Hermosa Beach Pier.

Wide beaches, never too crowded and, depending on the time of year, fun events like Fiesta Hermosa (Labor Day, Memorial Day), Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks (Dec. 13) and a costume beach volleyball tournament called Smackfest (mid July).

Rent a bike and take a guided tour from Beach Cities Bike Tours! Here is some more information from my site:
https://www.pubclub.com/destinations/united-states/california/los-angeles/south-bay/los-angeles-bicycle-tours-south-bay-beaches-with-beach-cities-bike-tours/


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hermosa Beach (city)
  2. Manhattan Beach (city)
  3. Redondo Beach (city)
  4. Hermosa Beach Pier (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
Gail from Madison

Venice Beach!! If time allows--go north to Ventura.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Venice Beach (city)
  2. Ventura (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Jack from San Diego, California

Malibu Beach and the pier there are great

Fun place to see the real surfers and cool people

Manhattan Beach south of Santa Monica is very fun lots of bars ,food and fun.


1 thanks


answered by
Andrea from Los Angeles

I love Manhattan Beach.  The pier is cute, the sand is nice, there's volleyball & bicycles available, and there are nice shops and restaurants all around.  It depends on what you want, but we have some of everything down here.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Manhattan Beach (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Randy from Scottsdale

Here are mine: 

 

El Matador State Beach

Manhattan Beach

Muscle Beach Venice!👉🏼🏄🏊🏖🌅


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. El Matador State Beach (attraction)
  2. Manhattan Beach (city)
  3. Muscle Beach Venice (attraction)


answered by
Janelle from Charleston

Beaches in the L.A. area have plenty of sand but are often crowded and dirty (budget cuts mean the beaches aren't cleaned nearly as often as they should) and aren't really described by anyone as "beautiful."  To have a less crowded and cleaner experience you have to drive a bit out of the way.  Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu (about 30-40 minutes up PCH Highway from Santa Monica) is a great beach.  Zuma Beach isn't bad either but gets very crowded when the weather gets hot.  The beaches in Santa Monica and Venice Beach have many miles of sand but are very dirty with litter and you'll come across the occasional used syringe in the sand.  Manhattan Beach is the best beach south of Santa Monica. The water at Hermosa Beach and Dockweiler State Beach is polluted.

One thing to remember: L.A. is not Miami and the Pacific is much colder than the Atlantic.  Even in summer, the water isn't warm enough to swim in for more than 5 or so minutes at a time without a wetsuit. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Leo Carrillo State Beach (attraction)
  2. Zuma Beach (attraction)
  3. Santa Monica (city)
  4. Venice Beach (city)
  5. Manhattan Beach (city)
  6. Hermosa Beach (city)
  7. Dockweiler State Beach (attraction)


answered by
Heather from Carlsbad (California)

I would definitely head to Redondo Beach. It's all the beauty of Santa Monica without the crazy hassle. For beauty, while you're in Redondo, head a little further South and go to Rancho Palos Verdes as well. Their beaches are more rocky cliffs, but the views are absolutely incredible. You can spend a day at the Terranea Resort  which is a nice place to hang out and grab lunch while looking at gorgeous rugged coastline.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Redondo Beach (city)
  2. Santa Monica (city)
  3. Rancho Palos Verdes (city)
  4. Terranea Resort (hotel)


answered by
Alica from Australia

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Zuma Beach (attraction)
  2. Surfrider Beach (attraction)
  3. Cabrillo Beach (attraction)




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