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8 Famous Beaches in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is famous for more than its longstanding association with Hollywood. Read on, to know more about its fantastic beaches, which are a huge draw for tourists the world over.
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Santa Monica Pier - Famous Beach in Los Angeles
Did You Know?
There are about 30 miles of beaches in Los Angeles County's 72 miles of coastline.
Los Angeles is a popular travel destination for tourists from all over the world. What attracts visitors to this enchanting city is not just the beguiling cityscape and fascinating skyline, but the natural endowment of stunning beaches all around it. It has all sorts of beaches; wave-filled exciting beaches for the surfer, beaches for the (non-pervert) people watcher, and tranquil beaches for the whole family.

Here's a primer on having a beach vacation in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Beach Guide

California is the best known summer destination in the U.S., and Los Angeles, the second most populous city in the country, lies at the very heart of it. Due to its coastal location, LA experiences sunny, 80-degree weather all year round. From Malibu to Santa Monica, here is a list of the best of Los Angeles' seaside hotspots.

Bringing your pets along is generally not allowed on these beaches. Camping, having a barbecue on the beaches, and alcohol consumption is also not allowed. Parking on these beaches usually requires a payment of USD 5-10 (except for the privately owned Paradise Cove, which charges USD 25). The public beaches are open at all times, though the seaside facilities maintain variable and disparate schedule. Restrooms are available on all beaches except El Matador, which is not run by the state. For details about particular beaches, you can call the Los Angeles County Lifeguard at 310/457-9701.

NOTE: This article enlists beaches situated in the entire Greater Los Angeles Area, rather than just the city proper. A point to remember is that Malibu is a smoking-free area.


Manhattan Beach

Address: 400-500 The Strand, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Distance from Downtown LA: 20 miles

manhattan beach

One of the most famous beaches on America's western seaboard, Manhattan Beach is a versatile beach, catering to almost every demand. It has beach revelers in their hordes, it offers excellent surfing opportunities, with the pier and El Porto being among the popular spots, and there are volleyball courts strewn about. The nearby seafood restaurants are also famously good. It also houses the Roundhouse Aquarium on its pier. Apart from its beaches, the city of Manhattan Beach also has numerous public parks; the Polliwog Park is the most popular.


Santa Monica

Address: 380 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Distance from Downtown LA: 16 miles

santa monica pier

This two-mile long stretch of glorious sand is probably the most famous beach in LA. Its length allows for bike rides, volleyball games, or long, leisurely strolls on the soft sand. Its pier houses a small amusement park, and various activities are popular on the beach, including outdoor chess and beach gymnastics.


Surfrider Beach

Address: 23050 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Distance from Downtown LA: 26 miles

surfrider beach

This awesome beach in Malibu is famous―obviously―for the fascinating surfing opportunities it offers. When the surfing bug strikes, there is no better beach at scratching that itch than Surfrider. Even if you are not into surfing, the general ambiance and upbeat mood of the place is infectious, and warrants a visit.


Zuma Beach

Address: 30000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Distance from Downtown LA: 36 miles

zuma beach

Situated close to Surfrider Beach, Zuma is a complete mirror image of its bustling neighbor. It is renowned as a relaxing retreat. The waves here are not large enough to attract surfers. It also has a few volleyball courts, but its USP is undoubtedly the beautifully blue waters and the soft, inviting sands. Perfect for a family outing!


El Matador Beach

Address: 32100 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Distance from Downtown LA: 39 miles

el matador

Situated about 6 miles north of Malibu, this secluded beach is perfect for a personal or romantic getaway. Its isolation and relative lack of fame means that there are no lifeguards, so be careful if you want to go for a swim. It is the perfect place to catch your breath away from the hectic LA life, or to steal a sweet moment or two alone with your special someone.


Laguna Beach

Address (Victoria Beach): Victoria Dr & Sunset Ter, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Distance from Downtown LA: 50 miles

laguna beach

The city of Laguna Beach is well-known as a seaside resort. However, apart from its unarguably fantastic beaches, headed by Victoria Beach, it also offers something for the art lover, thanks to its Art Museum. It is also home to the Pageant of the Masters, a festival including recreations of famous works of art by live performers.


Paradise Cove

Address: 28128 PCH Malibu, CA 90263

Distance from Downtown LA: 34 miles

paradise-cove

This private beach can be crowded and is expensive, but there's a reason why it is so popular―it's fantastic! A definite must-visit for a dip in the ocean (surfboards are not allowed), followed by a lovely seafood lunch. Book a 'cabana' if you have large groups; these large gazebos can house up to 30 people, and can be rented at less than almost USD 400 per day. However, BBQs or pets are not allowed, but catering is available.


Venice Beach

Address: 3100-2700 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Distance from Downtown LA: 17 miles

venice beach

Complete with 'canals', this namesake of the hugely popular Italian city makes up for what it lacks in antique charm with a fantastic boardwalk at the banks of the Pacific. Bodybuilders, guitarists, jugglers, and various other street performers abound on this boardwalk, which is a scene that must be experienced in order to be understood. Even for someone who hates seas, just watching the sheer variety of performers and spectators can be a fun experience.

These were some of the best beaches in the Greater Los Angeles Area. The city may have gained repute due to its connection with Hollywood, but its natural beauty and scenic beaches hold a different cast altogether. Spare a lot of time in your Californian vacation for Los Angeles' beaches, and do not forget to pack beach wear!
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Published: March 31, 2014
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