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Los Angeles Beaches

Top Beaches in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a city with an abundant number of beaches, each of which has its positives and negatives. Various beaches are famous for different reasons and attract crowds with specific interests. With the array of types of beaches to be found and the various activities that are enjoyed at each location, the best beaches actually fall into several different categories, largely determined by common use.

The Best Beaches for Sand and Water Sports

Manhattan Beach – A historic hangout for the Beach Boys in their early years, this urban beach is attracts a range of visitors with unique interests. It is a great place to spend a quiet afternoon and people watch.

It is also purported to be the birthplace of beach volleyball and the location of one of the world’s most cut-throat competitions in the sport, the Manhattan Beach Open Volleyball Championships held each August.

Many visitors and Los Angeles residents consider Manhattan Beach to be among the best surfing locations within the city limits as well. It is the site of an annual Surf Festival held each August.

There are many other activities to keep you busy at Manhattan Beach, including swimming, fishing from the pier, and walking or biking along developed paths. There is an aquarium on the pier and the beach is also home to a sandcastle building contest each August.

Zuma Beach – Located 20 miles south of Los Angeles, this beach is a huge spot for surfers and one that real enthusiasts find well worth the drive. The beach is also considered one of the best spots for body-surfing and boogie-boarding.

Fishing and swimming are common activities for visitors and Zuma Beach also has several beach volleyball courts and walking paths. The site is also a prime location for whale watching in the winter months.

The Best Beaches for Kids

Redondo Beach – With a variety of activities to keep the youngsters entertained, Redondo Beach is considered one of the best in the Los Angeles area for kids. This urban beach is the site of a seaside community by the same name and one of the many State Beaches in California. It is bustling with activity on the weekend due to is convenient location and especially busy in the summer months.

Even with the high number of visitors, Redondo Beach has a great deal to offer for families looking for fun in the sun. Poor surfing conditions make this an excellent beach for swimmers.

There are paved paths along the beach for roller skating, skateboarding and bike riding. The pier is full of various activities and vendors, and a weekly farmers’ market is held each Thursday in Veterans Park just above the beach.

Santa Monica Beach – One of the most famous beaches in the Los Angeles area. Just a short drive from L.A., it’s a perfect place to spend the entire day with the family. The beach runs north of the Santa Monica Pier which is home to the Pacific Park Amusement Park.

The beach itself includes bike baths, walking paths and seven volleyball courts. Swimming and surfing are also popular, as is fishing from the pier.

The Best Getaway Beaches

Paradise Cove – A smaller, more secluded beach a short drive south of L.A., Paradise Cove offers an old-time beach experience. While this traditional beach is privately owned and a small admittance fee is required, it’s a perfect place to spend a day away from the touristy crowds.

Swimming, tide pooling, bodysurfing and beach volleyball are available. The beach is home to a restaurant as well.

Dockweiler Beach – Rarely crowded in spite of its convenient location, Dockweiler Beach is a three-mile stretch of L.A. coastline not surrounded by houses or other buildings.

The beach is the only place in Los Angeles County where you can still have a bonfire. It offers bike and walking paths, bicycle and skate rental, surfing, swimming, beach volleyball and hand gliding lessons.

The Best Social Beach

Venice Beach – Both an oceanfront community and a beach, Venice is among the most famous of the area’s beaches and a quirky hot spot for local residents and tourists alike. This sandy beach offers all the usually trappings, including bike and walking paths, surfing, swimming and beach volleyball.

The beachfront is a bustling center for all sorts of activities. Artists, vendors, restaurants and musicians line the walkways and streets along the beachfront every day, with weekends being even busier, especially in the summer. It’s a great spot for people watching in addition to a fun afternoon in the sun.