The sprawling city of Los Angeles is renowned for its dramatic coastline, uncrowded stretches of sand and glossy lifestyle. But California’s biggest city is also home to a number of great public beaches within easy reach of Downtown LA.Less
Surfing enthusiasts and nature lovers will love Malibu Lagoon State Beach between the Pacific Ocean and Malibu Creek. Here, bird lovers can spot and learn about more than 200 species in their natural wetland habitat. Nearby, you’ll also find Malibu’s Surfrider Beach, an area that has become a premier location for surfing after being featured in movies in the 1950s and 1960s like Gidget (1959) and Beach Party (1963).
Perhaps one of the most famous beaches in Los Angeles, Venice Beach is located in Venice, a beachfront neighborhood known for its bohemian vibe. Located 13 miles (21km) from Downtown Los Angeles, Venice Beach has been featured in numerous films and TV shows, including American History X and Baywatch. Due to its popularity, the beach and its surrounding areas are constantly buzzing with activity, as vendors and street performers dominate the boardwalk.
An iconic beach and another popular hang-out spot is Santa Monica State Beach. Along its 3.5 miles (5.6km), the beach offers an array of things to do, whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on the sandy beach or enjoy a fun day or evening on the Santa Monica Pier – a historical landmark that dates back to 1909. Bring your roller skates or bike along the 22-mile (35km) paved trail next to the beach, jump in the water with your surfboard or visit Pacific, the on-site amusement park on the Pier.
Part of a state park situated on Malibu’s coast, Leo Carrillo State Beach is 1.5 miles (2.4km) long and stretches into the Santa Monica Mountains – one of the most visited natural areas in California. Situated about an hour drive from Los Angeles, this beach might feel a bit far from the city, but it’s worth the journey. The family and dog-friendly beach is less crowded than some of Los Angeles’ most popular beaches and is a great spot for swimming, surfing, windsurfing and surf fishing.
Head to the pristine Zuma Beach, one of the largest and most popular beaches in Los Angeles. Located west of Point Dume – a promontory in Malibu – you’ll find a 1.8-mile-long (2.9km) beach that is perfect for surfing, swimming and diving. You may find the water to be colder than at many of the city’s beaches as off-shore winds cause colder water to replace surface water that has been warmed by the sun, but the area attracts big crowds all time of the year.
This is the main beach in Manhattan Beach, a neighborhood known for its laid-back vibe. The two-mile-long (3.2km) sandy beach is great for swimming, surfing and volleyball – Manhattan Beach has hosted the Manhattan Beach Open for over 50 years. Take a stroll along the Strand or visit the Roundhouse Aquarium to learn about marine life. However, be aware that this beach is often very busy, especially on the weekend as large crowds gather around the Manhattan Beach Pier.