Los Angeles, California, is famous for many things; it is the second-largest city in the United States, it is the center of the movie, television, and recording industries, and it has Pacific coast beaches where surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers can spend time away from the office and close to the natural beauty of their surroundings. The Santa Monica Mountains end at the Pacific coast and these beaches are beauty spots that are ideal for family outings and for fun in the waves.
1. El Matador State Beach
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El Matador State Beach in Malibu is one of the most picturesque locations in the Los Angeles area. A highly popular site for wedding and engagement photography, this dramatic beach has high bluffs, large rocks on the beach, and sea caves to explore. It is not accessible to those with mobility issues – from the parking lot on top of the bluffs there is a dirt trail which leads to stairs down the hill. There is an incredible view from the clifftop: Deep blue water with thick kelp forests and the sight of migrating whales. El Matador State Beach has hiking trails, restrooms, and drinking water.
32215 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90205
2. LA Beaches: Abalone Cove Ecological Preserve
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The Abalone Cove Ecological Preserve is first and foremost a protected area providing refuge for at-risk marine species such as starfish, urchins, lobsters, and anemones. With the exception of lobster, these species can be viewed in the tide pools at low tide. There are two black sand beaches that are safe for swimming, and rocky bluffs from which to take in the view of the beach and the water. There are designated hiking trails along the bluffs. Visitors may get the chance to view migratory whales that pass this way; blue, grey, and humpback whales have been seen close to shore at Abalone Cove. There is a parking lot and picnic tables for visitor use.
5970 Palos Verdes Drive South, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, Phone: 310-377-1222
3. El Porto Beach Near Los Angeles
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El Porto Beach sits in front of the El Porto neighborhood in Manhattan Beach, California. Its consistently huge waves make it a popular destination for surfers, body surfers, and stand-up paddleboarders, and its volleyball nets attract beach volleyball aficionados. The Marvin Braude Bike Path is paved and runs along El Porto Beach; it is open to cyclists, inline skaters, walkers, runners, and joggers. El Porto Beach is relatively quiet, as it is a lesser-known beach; because of that it is a haven for those wishing to avoid crowded beaches. El Port Beach has a laid-back atmosphere, lifeguards, restrooms, showers, and a restaurant.
440 The Strand, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
4. Beaches in Los Angeles: Cabrillo Beach
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Cabrillo Beach is a quiet, uncrowded beach that looks out onto Santa Catalina Island and the interesting sight of shipping vessels making their way down the coast. It is popular with families and windsurfers and has all the amenities necessary for a great day at the beach. There are volleyball nets, a children’s playground, a snack bar, picnic tables, restrooms, and shaded areas for visitors who don’t want a sunburn. Cabrillo Beach has a great fishing pier with fish identification charts and a sink for rinsing off your catch. Whale watching is a big draw to this beach. Cabrillo Beach has a paved boat ramp accessible from the parking lot.
3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, CA 90731
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5. Beaches Near Los Angeles: County Line Beach
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County Line Beach was made famous by the Beach Boys, who named it in their 1963 hit Surfin’ USA. It is a very popular beach for board surfing, and others come to bodysurf, stand-up paddleboard, and windsurf. The rugged coastline is actually at the end of a canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains, which stop at the coast, and both the half-mile beach and the water are clean with good visibility for scuba diving. Divers are attracted to County Line Beach by its underwater kelp forests and reefs, while beachgoers can sight dolphins, whales, seals, and seabirds close to shore. Spear-fishing is permitted at the beach; most of the catch is sea bass.
Pacific Coast Highway at Yerba Buena Road, Malibu, CA 90265
6. Hermosa Beach Near Los Angeles
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Hermosa Beach is a 2-mile stretch along Santa Monica Bay with clean sand and water, which makes it a great location for families, as do the waves, which are milder here than they are at other coastal beaches. Novice surfers and stand-up paddleboarders come here to learn the ropes of their sport. Numerous beach volleyball nets are set up along the shore and visitors can watch professional and semi-professional play. The beach has lifeguards during the day as well as showers and restrooms. Parking is trickier, but there is street parking nearby and parking lots a few blocks away. The pier at Hermosa Beach brings fishermen and next to the pier there is a palm-lined promenade with shopping, restaurants, and bars.
Pier Avenue and Hermosa Avenue, Hermosa, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
7. Leo Carrillo State Park and Beach
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Leo Carrillo State Park and Beach was named for a Hollywood movie actor who was an ardent conservationist and served on the California Beach and Parks Commission for 18 years. The park is part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and has 1.5 miles of beachfront suitable for swimming, surfing, windsurfing, and beachcombing. There are tide pools full of fascinating creatures, and sea caves to explore while the tide is out. Leo Carrillo Beach has been used in many movies, including Grease and The Usual Suspects. The state park has a campground shaded by giant sycamore trees, children’s programs, and nature walks. There is a small visitor center with interpretative displays.
35000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265, Phone: 818-880-0350
8. Malibu Lagoon State Beach
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Malibu Lagoon is an estuary caused by the meeting of Malibu Creek and the Pacific Ocean. This lagoon is a premier surfing destination and attracts surfers from all over the world. It is also a lovely beach for sunbathing, swimming, whale watching, and for looking at the fascinating creatures to be found in the tide pools left at low tide. From Malibu Lagoon State Beach, visitors can access the pier, where saltwater fishing is permitted, and there are trails around the coastal wetland that are ideal for birdwatching. The state park has picnic tables and a nature area with signage.
23200 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265, Phone: 310-457-8143
9. Manhattan Beach Near Los Angeles
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Manhattan Beach is in an upscale Los Angeles coastal neighborhood with fancy homes, trendy hotels, and excellent dining. It is also a beautiful beach, the sort seen on television shows and in movies, which has a surfing vibe to it as well as excellent waves for surfing. The beach is dog friendly and it is permissible to fish from the pier, on which there is a small but interesting aquarium. Manhattan Beach is a magnet for professional beach volleyball players and there are often pro matches to watch. On the beach there is a pedestrian-only boardwalk as well as the South Bay Bicycle Trail, which is open to inline skaters as well.
400-500 The Strand, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, Phone: 310-305-9503
10. Beaches in Los Angeles: Paradise Cove Beach
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Paradise Cove Beach is a white sand beach in a lagoon at the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. This lovely curve of beach has all the amenities for a lovely day at the shore: parking, clean public restrooms, showers, beach chairs, and a lifeguard on duty during the day. There is a restaurant, the Paradise Cove Beach Café, right on the beach. There is pier from which fishing is permissible, and the beach itself is perfect for sunbathing and sandcastle building, and this stretch of the Pacific Ocean is popular for swimming and surfing. No dogs are permitted on this beach.
28128 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
11. Point Dume State Beach and Preserve
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Point Dume State Beach and Preserve has a lot to offer its visitors. On the bluffs above the beach, there are hiking trails suitable for families and a boardwalk that leads to a viewing area. The views are spectacular; on a clear day you can see Catalina Island and the whole sweep of Santa Monica Bay. It is also an excellent location to watch migrating grey whales from December to April, and dolphins are commonly sighted in these waters. A staircase leads down to the beach, on which California sea lions are often found lounging, and there are interesting tide pools to explore. Swimming, surfing, and scuba diving are popular here, as is beachcombing.
Cliff Drive, Malibu 90264, Phone: 310-457-8143
12. Beaches Near Los Angeles: Santa Monica State Beach
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Santa Monica State Beach is 3.5 miles of soft, white beach with a large pleasure pier in its center. From the beach it is walking distance to excellent shops, restaurants, and hotels, in addition to rental facilities from which visitors may obtain umbrellas and beach chairs. Santa Monica Beach has gymnastics equipment for use by children and adults: Parallel bars, rings, swings, and ropes as well as a multitude of beach volleyball nets, which are on a first-come first-served basis. Popular for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing, the beach can be accessed by the Marvin Braude Beach Trail, which permits bicycles and inline skates. The Santa Monica Pier is world renowned and offers an amusement park, an arcade, and has an outdoor concert series in the summer season.
Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica, CA 90407, Phone: 310-458-8300
13. Venice Beach
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Venice Beach is an oceanfront community and beach renowned as a haven for the creative and artistic; it is a location heavily populated with Hollywood actors and musicians. It is famed for its “Muscle Beach,” an area of the shore where bodybuilders work out and where Arnold Schwarzenegger was discovered. The beach has lifeguards as well as a bike and rollerblade path and is popular for surfing at a site called the Venice Breakwater. Most visitors don’t come to Venice Beach to swim or sunbathe; they come for the boardwalk, along which there are literally hundreds of street performers and small stalls selling arts and crafts. The beach itself has courts for beach volleyball, tennis, handball, and basketball, and there are skateboard ramps where champion skateboarders have trained.
14. Beaches in Los Angeles: Zuma Beach
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Zuma Beach is part of the Santa Monica Mountains State Park in Malibu, California. It has been carefully preserved so that it is wide and clean, with dunes topped with sea oats and a lively population of seals and California sea lions. Over 350 species of migratory birds make their way to these shores, making it an important destination for birdwatchers. There is lots of parking at this beach, and it has several lifeguard stations, clean restrooms, and food stalls. It is popular with sunbathers, swimmers, and those who love to build sandcastles, and its mild waves bring novice surfers eager to learn in a safe environment. There are volleyball courts and swings for the kids.
Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
15. Beaches in Los Angeles: Carbon Beach, Malibu
Located directly in front of a row of beautiful beachfront homes in Malibu, Carbon Beach is a mile-long strip of sandy, south-facing beach which runs from Malibu Pier at Surfrider Beach to Carbon Canyon Road. The beach is sometimes called Billionaire’s Beach due to the lavish celebrity homes which have been built directly on the soft golden sand. One of these celebrities is David Geffen, who campaigned for years to deny public access to this strip of beach heaven; today the east access of the beach is right beside his home. The beach offers great walking and paddling but is completely under water at high tide.
Carbon Beach, 22126 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
16. Beaches Near Me: Huntington City Beach
This long stretch of sandy beach is a great asset to Huntington City and is the reason why the town is sometimes called Surf City USA. The beach runs all the way from Seapoint Street in the north to the Huntington State Beach at Beach Blvd. The Huntington Beach pier lies approximately in the middle of the beach and this is where much of the beach action takes place. If you are looking for a quieter area you can put some distance between yourself and the pier. Huntington City Beach is famous for offering great surf all along its 3.5 mile length and there is a paved cycling trail just behind the beach where you can ride, skate, walk or jog.
E. Pacific Coast Hwy and Main St, Huntington Beach, CA 92468
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17. Laguna Beach Near Los Angeles
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Simply known as Main Beach, the centrally-located city beach in Laguna Beach is a long crescent of sandy beach backed by a grassy park. Located in a cove, the beach offers great conditions for swimming and sun-bathing. There are life guards on the beach and surfing is not allowed in the summer months, so bathers can relax and enjoy the waters. There is a boardwalk, basketball and volleyball courts, a children’s playground, restrooms and showers. Activities include swimming, body boarding, scuba diving, beach walking and castle building. If you enjoy tide pooling you can walk north to Heisler Park where you can picnic and explore the tidal pools.
Laguna Main Beach, S. Coast Hwy and Broad Street, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
18. Beaches in Los Angeles: Dockweiler State Beach
Encompassing 3.7 miles of stunning ocean frontage and 288 acres of beach, the Dockweiler State Beach is a much-loved family fun destination which offers good amenities and room to spread out. Having said that, the beach does get quite busy in summer, particularly in the late afternoons when many groups gather around the beach fire rings. Amenities at the beach include an RV campground (with 118 full-hookup sites), restrooms, showers, fire rings and picnic shelters. Fun on-site activities include swimming, surfing, diving, biking, fishing, volleyball and hang-gliding. The Marvin Braude Bike Trail is a paved 22-mile cycling path which is easily accessed from Dockweiler State Beach.
12000 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey, CA 90203
19. Beaches in Los Angeles: Will Rogers State Beach
Will Rogers State Beach is found in Pacific Palisades District of Los Angeles, where it encompasses the entire waterfront area. The beach is operated by Los Angeles County and provides a 3-mile strip of beach which offers a variety of recreational facilities. At the southern end of the beach you will find a wide sandy area ideal for soaking up the sun and castle building. In the center section there is a mix of sandy spots and short rock jetties and the northern part is a narrow strip of sand known as Sunset Point Beach. The beach offers fun activities for everyone including swimming, body boarding, surfing, wind-surfing, fishing and volleyball, under the watchful eye of the lifeguards.
Temescal Canyon Rd and Pacific Coast Hwy, LA 90272
20. Beaches in Los Angeles: Bolsa Chica State Beach
Located south of Sunset Beach in Orange County, Bolsa Chica Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the region. This beach offers near-perfect conditions for surfing as well as swimming and other water sports. The beach stretches along the edge of the Pacific Coast Highway all the way from Warner Avenue to Seapoint Ave – a distance of around 3 miles. Besides soaking up the sun or catching the perfect wave, visitors enjoy walking along the beach or having a BBQ or picnic at one of the bookable picnic areas. If you would like to stay overnight you can bring your RV to 1 of 50 serviced campsites. No tent camping is allowed.
Bolsa Chica State Beach, 17851 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92468
What are the 20 Best Beaches in Los Angeles?
The 20 Best Beaches in Los Angeles according to local experts are:
What is the nicest beach in LA?
If you are looking for the nicest beach in Los Angeles, El Matador State Beach won't disappoint.
What is the most famous beach in Los Angeles?
Santa Monica State Beach is the most famous beach in LA.
What month is the best for enjoying the beach in Los Angeles?
Summer season runs from late May to September, and this is the best time to go to the beach in LA.
Are beaches in Los Angeles free?
Most of the famous beaches of LA like Venice Beach, are free (there may be a parking fee).
What is the cheapest month to visit Los Angeles?
You will find the best deals in Los Angeles from September to November. If you are on a budget and want to visit the beaches, September if the time to go because the weather is still quite warm.
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