Welcome to Los Angeles, the biggest city on the western seaboard. Birthplace of Hollywood, west-coast rap, bodybuilding, and the California surfer lifestyle that birthed not only a fashion trend, but a culture to define it. Los Angeles is the Mecca for all those interested in seeing just what Southern California is about. Though there’s so much to do and see here, some of its draw is undoubtedly its proximity to that sparkling Pacific. If it’s beach you’re after, LA can deliver, but with almost two dozen at your disposal, the question remains: where to?
There are many great beaches in Los Angeles, each with its own highlights. Which you choose comes down to what you hope to get out of a trip there. So here’s a quick rundown of LA’s top beaches.
1. Point Dume State Beach: Known for its small crowds, its isolation, and for being the location for the final shot of the original Planet of the Apes movie, Point Dume is a beach that is best for those who want a quiet spot, some sunshine, and hope to go point out dolphins or scuba dive in the surf.
2. Leo Carrillo State Beach: Known as being the most scenic, this beach is a photographer’s delight and also makes for good tide-pooling and sunset picnics. A short 25 minute drive north from Santa Monica, this beach lies off Highway 1 in Malibu.
3. Venice Beach: Venice Beach’s boardwalk is as iconic as the long stretch of golden sand that earned its name. It’s here that you’ll see all facets of Venice Beach’s eclectic and alternative lifestyles, including myriad street performers and artistic vendors peddling their wares along the boardwalk. Expect a skate park, indescribable people watching, street vendors, and even the random television commercial filming. It’s not quiet, it’s not isolated, but it’s a facet of Los Angeles at its iconic best.
4. Malibu Lagoon: Malibu Lagoon lies just south of Pepperdine University and is home to surfers, tide pool walkers, sunset beach goers and volleyball players. This beach is a good bet to get some of everything beaches in Los Angeles are known for without going too far outside of the city.
5. Manhattan Beach: Just south of El Segundo and just north of Hermosa, Manhattan Beach is a pleasurable urban beach known for its lively beach feel, its beautiful pier which is accessible to the public, and the beautiful beachfront homes lining the walkway. Perhaps the easiest to access from other attractions in Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach offers all the lifestyle of other, further away beach towns, but snug along Los Angeles’ borders.