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13 Best Beaches in Los Angeles

The warm weather and ocean breeze make for a perfect day at LA's best beaches. But which ones keep attracting visitors year after year? Keep reading to discover the most popular beaches in LA, each with stellar reviews on Google, Tripadvisor, and more.

Los Angeles is a beachgoer’s dream. When summer is in full swing, the Pacific Coast comes alive with music, sports, and more. Surfers hang ten on their longboards. Fitness enthusiasts glide down the boardwalk on rollerblades. And relaxed beachgoers soak up the sun on the sand.

The warm weather and ocean breeze make for a perfect day at LA's best beaches. But which ones keep attracting visitors year after year?

To answer this question, we've compiled a list of some of the most popular beaches in LA, each with stellar reviews on Google, Tripadvisor, and more. So, without further ado, below are 13 of the best beaches in or near Los Angeles.

1) Cabrillo Beach

cabrillo beach panorama sand and shore

Cabrillo Beach, in the San Pedro neighborhood, offers natural beauty and family-friendly activities. It has stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Port of Los Angeles, which serves as a gateway for cruises. The gentle waves make it perfect for swimming, and there are picnic areas, a fishing pier, and a boat launch. You can also try kitesurfing or stand-up paddleboarding. Lastly, take advantage of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium if you enjoy viewing different sea creatures. The aquarium offers an educational experience about diverse marine life and a touch tank for close encounters with starfish and more.

2) Manhattan Beach

manhattan beach pier and tall palm trees

Manhattan Beach is a laid-back yet vibrant beach community just west of Route 1 in southwest LA. Famous for its volleyball scene and ideal swell for surfing, it offers two miles of shoreline and 115 acres of soft sand, perfect for beach activities or relaxation. The Marvin Braude Bike Trail is a must-visit for fitness enthusiasts, stretching along the beautiful coastline and offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. The Manhattan Beach Pier is another popular attraction, home to the Roundhouse Aquarium and the annual Christmas Lights.

3) Hermosa Beach

hermosa beach gold sand cloudy blue skies

Hermosa Beach is a relaxed coastal community in Los Angeles. The beach is popular among surfers and beach volleyball players, with an annual International Surf Festival and 71 approved volleyball courts. Visitors can enjoy a variety of beach activities, including sunbathing, biking, and jogging on the beachfront Strand. The downtown district also offers an array of restaurants, bars, and shops, making it an ideal destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.

4) Santa Monica Beach

santa monica pier and amusement park at sunset

Santa Monica Beach, located near the iconic Santa Monica Pier, stretches for three miles and offers myriad activities such as biking and volleyball. It's a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike. The beach's bike path is part of the 22-mile-long South Bay Bicycle Trail, a hub of activity for cyclists, rollerbladers, and joggers. The Pier is the final point of Route 66, featuring an amusement park, aquarium, food stalls, and scenic coast views.

5) Venice Beach

venice beach skateboarder skatepark palm trees

Venice Beach is an eclectic destination that spans over three miles of soft sandy beachfront. It is famously known for Muscle Beach, where weightlifters can show off their biceps and pecs. The beach is also home to buskers, artists, and vendors selling unique crafts and souvenirs. Many activities are available, including sunbathing, swimming, surfing, biking, and roller skating. Additionally, the Venice neighborhood offers an excellent selection of restaurants, cafes, and bars, making it the perfect spot for foodies.

6) Leo Carrillo State Beach

leo carillo state beach rock peephole sunset

Leo Carrillo State Beach, located in picturesque Malibu, is an ideal destination for swimming, surfing, and diving. It's also a wonderful spot for observing marine life, including gray whales, dolphins, harbor seals, and sea lions. If you're interested in wildlife, remember to watch for sea birds like pelicans, grebes, and cormorants. The beach is part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which offers additional outdoor activities.

7) El Matador State Beach

el matador beach sea stacks pink sunset

Photo by Pacheco via Flickr

El Matador State Beach, also in Malibu, offers clear waters, rocky shores, and dramatic sea stacks. The rock formations create tide pools where you can explore marine life up close. Although reaching the beach requires some physical effort, the stunning landscape and unique erosion formations make it worth it. Don’t forget to bring your camera; the beach is considered one of the most Instaworthy spots in Los Angeles, with its stunning sunsets and interesting perspectives from the sea stacks.

8) Dockweiler Beach

dockweiler beach seafoam sand up close

Dockweiler Beach is a popular attraction known for its 3.7-mile stretch of sand, clean facilities, volleyball nets, and bonfire rings. Those who seek more adventurous activities like hang gliding are drawn to this beach. However, it is also a popular destination for sunbathing, enjoying the sand, and gathering around a beach bonfire at night. One caveat: The beach’s proximity to LAX means visitors may experience airplane noise. Still, it hasn't prevented thousands of beachgoers from laying down their towels at Dockweiler Beach and having fun in the sun.

9) Huntington Dog Beach

huntington dog beach akita behind sign

Attention, dog lovers: Huntington Dog Beach is a leash-free paradise! But humans can also play in the sand and chase after waves with their four-legged friends 🙂. Equipped with doggie waste bags, trash cans, restrooms, showers, and plenty of parking, this beach is a must-visit for dog owners in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Enjoy a friendly and welcoming atmosphere while your furry friend has a blast. Add Huntington Dog Beach to your list of LA’s best beaches and make new friends along the way!

10) Will Rogers State Beach

will rogers state beach white sand beachfront homes

Will Rogers State Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand located in the Pacific Palisades-adjacent area of Los Angeles. It boasts stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains. The public beach is famous for swimming, sunbathing, and biking. It also offers plenty of amenities and services, including restrooms, showers, and lifeguards. Visitors can enjoy various activities, such as volleyball, fishing, and cycling, or simply stroll along the scenic shoreline.

11) Zuma Beach

zuma beach baby blue lifeguard post waves and mountains

With nearly two miles of beach frontage, Zuma Beach is Malibu’s longest stretch of sand. The wide and long beach offers excellent surfing conditions, clean water, and amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. The beach has ample affordable parking (around $8 per day) and facilities, including showers, restrooms, and food stands. Visitors can enjoy beach volleyball, surfing, swimming, sunbathing, or simply walking along the coastline. The beach is also a popular spot for watching dolphins and whales, especially during their migration season. Just beware of the seagulls if you plan on snacking on the beach during your visit!

12) Paradise Cove Beach

paradise cove beach gold sand beachfront homes

Photo by Kent Kanouse via Flickr

Paradise Cove Beach in Malibu offers a secluded and romantic atmosphere for beachgoers who want equal parts sunbathing and dining. The beach has a parking fee and the cafe isn’t the cheapest of seafood spots, but it's worth the cost for an unforgettable experience. Awe-inspiring cliffs surround the beach, and the water is crystal clear. Visitors can rent beach chairs and umbrellas or enjoy a meal at the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe, renowned for its calamari fritters and clam chowder in a bread bowl. The beach is also a popular spot for celebrity sightings.

13) Malibu Surfrider Beach

waves and surfer holding longboard malibu surfrider beach

Malibu Surfrider Beach, located near the iconic Malibu Pier, is a world-renowned surfing destination. It's home to the Malibu Lagoon State Beach, which offers excellent birdwatching and shell-hunting opportunities. The beach also has facilities such as showers, restrooms, and picnic areas. Visitors can enjoy surfing, sunbathing, or walking along the pier. The beach has a relaxed and laid-back vibe, making it an ideal spot for a day out with friends or family.

Planning Your LA Beach Day

Now that you know some of the best beaches in LA, it's time to plan for the optimal beach day. Remember to pack your sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and beach towel. Bringing cash is always a good idea, too, as some beach vendors and parking facilities may not accept card payments. To find the best and most affordable parking near the beach, try using apps like SpotHero, ParkWhiz, and BestParking. Additionally, consider bringing a reusable water bottle to refill at water stations, stay hydrated, and reduce waste.

Happy beach day! 🏖️☀️😎🌊🏄🤸🏊‍♀️✨

Looking for more travel and lifestyle content? Check out the rest of the Gravel Travels blog.

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