Los Angeles Beaches
With temperatures usually in the 1970s through 1990s and over 100 miles of recreational coastline and 18 million people in the metro area, Greater LA was destined to have popular beaches. From Malibu to Redondo Beach, find one or more beaches that agree with you.
Beaches of Malibu
DESCRIPTION: With 21 miles along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), Malibu has many beautiful beaches, some of which are secluded:
Topanga State Beach – Located along PCH at Topanga Canyon Blvd
Malibu Lagoon State Beach – Located where Malibu Creek meets the ocean
Malibu Surfrider Beach – Located along the 23000 block of PCH. Surfrider is the first World Surfing Reserve and the location of Malibu Pier.
Big Dume State Beach – Another state beach, but this one accessed from Cliffside Drive
Zuma Beach – the largest beach in Malibu, its entrance is located just west of Heathercliff Drive; plenty of fee-based parking is available
Nicholas Canyon Beach – A Los Angeles County beach located at 33850 PCH
El Pescador Beach – another popular state beach with limited parking
Santa Monica Beach
DESCRIPTION: This beach is distinguished by its peer enabling more distant ocean views; a historic carousel, roller coaster, arcade, restaurants, knick-knack shops and coin-operated telescopes will occupy the kids for hours; you can always find people fishing, beach volleyball on one side, and swimmers on the other side of the pier; but be careful with the waves if you have visions of getting in the water; very popular during warm months at the foot of Santa Monica Blvd
DESCRIPTION: What a collection of humanity; the guy who juggles chain saws can occasionally be spotted or is he keeping a low profile after an injury? Street artists, magicians, gift shops and outdoor diversions crowd every corner on weekends, making this a feast for the eyes. If you want to get active, buff out with weights on Muscle Beach, everyone is welcome for a small fee. lifeguards are on duty during warm weather. Test your playground basketball, tennis, rollerblading and biking skills; the Venice Boardwalk is also one of the safest public places in Los Angeles, despite the crazy street performer who juggles chain saws. Located nearby, Abbot Kinney Blvd is named after the Venice founder who hired African-Americans in his amusement company, which led to an early 20th century African-American community presence here. Park early or catch a beach shuttle on Venice Blvd up to the beach; best reached from Venice Blvd.
DESCRIPTION: This state beach has 4 mile shoreline is a hang gliding practice area. Part of the park is located directly under the flight path of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and adjacent to Hyperion Water Treatment Plant. When the wind blows from east to west, this beach stinks. Otherwise, people use it for bonfire beach parties. In August 2000 parkgoers witnessed smoke and flames shooting out of a Boeing 747’s engine and metal parts landing on the beach. The KLM flight bound for Amsterdam had just taken off from LAX and suffered a bird strike in one of its jet engines. The aircraft was able to circle and land again without injury to passengers.
DESCRIPTION: Based on the multi-million dollar homes elevated above the beach on an ocean-facing Strand, this beach offers scenic vistas of the surf and people relaxing under the sun. The real focus of this beach is volleyball. Pro and college volleyball players like to practice here and every summer features the pro volleyball tournament with bands, vendors and fun for all. A few children play stations are sprinkled along the Strand, along with one exercise station. Manhattan Beach Pier is great for viewing and fishing over the Pacific Ocean. The pier includes a small aquarium of dubious quality. A bike & skating path is separate from walking & jogging path along the Strand. From the edge of Dockweiler Beach, the beach extends 3 miles southward. Manhattan Beach Blvd and Manhattan Avenue are known for their trendy clothing shops, gift shops, wine shop, ice creamery, cup cake store, restaurants, cafes, coffeehouses, burger joints, and bars. For more goods, you can visit the supermarket atManhattan Beach Blvd & Valley Drive. Fee-based parking garages are located east Highland Avenue between 15th and 13th Streets, but fill up quickly during spring & summer festivals. Visitors often find themselves walking 4-9 blocks to Manhattan Beach Blvd, then to the smoke-free beach.
DESCRIPTION: Just south of Manhattan Beach, is another beach to good place to go waste deep in the water, relax, picnic, and play volleyball. Keep in mind however, that water is only moderately warm from July through Labor Day. In a nice touch, children play stations are strategically placed near the rebuilt restroom facilities. Bring Rover along to the small dog park along the Strand between 13th & 15th Street. Where Pier Avenue meets Hermosa Avenue, you’ll find a dozen trendy bars, busy restaurants, gift shops, banks and a bike rental venue, all leading to Hermosa Beach Pier for viewing and fishing over the Pacific Ocean. Biking, skating, walking & jogging combine in the same path along the Strand, so watch your left before make a sudden turn. This smoke-free beach makes a seamless transition to Redondo Beach, just to its south. The popular Comedy & Magic Club located at 10th & Hermosa Avenue features a bargain price for many comics on Thursday night. Parking lot is at 11th & Hermosa Avenue and a parking garage is at 13th & Hermosa Venue. Two-hour metered parking is limited along Hermosa Avenue and Herondo Street. Unless you like making donations to the city treasury, don’t let your meter run out.
Beaches of Long Beach
DESCRIPTION: Alamitos Bay Beach is a narrow stretch shouldering protected waters of Alamitos Bay along Bay Shore Avenue between East 2nd Street and Ocean Boulevard. Pedestrian-friendly Bay Shore Ave is closed during the summer to provide a jogging, walking, biking, and skating behind this beach. This area is known for having lots of bathing beauties. You’ll find street parking on side streets that parallel Bay Shore Ave and on Ocean Blvd. Long Beach City Beach is the city’s main beach. Locals call this beach “Junipero Beach” because the main parking lot in the center is at Junipero Avenue. Bluff Park is a grass park with a pedestrian walking path above that a couple miles to Belmont Pier. A wide paved path meanders along the beach make it popular with cyclists and skaters.
Catalina Island, CA
DESCRIPTION: Is this the island, Gilligan meant to arrive at? Relax on an island beach, wetsuit snorkeling and diving, kayak, volleyball, sightseeing, hiking, horseback riding, golfing, miniature golfing, tennis, and biking. Adults enjoy the harborside breakfast, seafood and steak restaurants and gift shops. Descanso Beach is a must visit for families. The Wrigley chewing gum magnate built an estate overlooking the harbor, a country club and a memorial worth seeing, but the best man-made structure is the Avalon Casino — casino means “gathering place” and that’s all it is here, not a gambling casino. The Casino hosts a large jazz festival here every October.
ADMISSION: Free to enter; if you plan to stay overnight, consider booking a ferry and hotel package
DAYS & HOURS: High speed ferries leave daily; 1 hour 40 minute boat ride from Marina Del Rey or 1 hour 20 minutes from the ports of San Pedro or Long Beach
ADDRESS: Catalina Island MAP