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10 of the Top Beaches in Los Angeles

Clandestine coves, rolling surf, and busy boardwalks—here are the most beautiful and iconic spots for enjoying the sun and sand in Los Angeles.

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Hi, I'm Andrea!

Andrea is a California-based writer and editor with a passion for traveling, interior design, and coming-of-age art. She has visited six continents thus far and is looking forward to continuing her worldwide adventures.

Los Angeles may be known for many things—from its celebrity residents to its street style and nightlife—but its beaches are by far its best attraction. With over 75 miles (120 km) of shoreline, the city’s metro area is home to some of the most popular beaches in the world. From the bustling Santa Monica State Beach to secluded Paradise Cove, there’s something for everyone in the sunny City of Angels. Here are 10 beaches in Los Angeles to visit this summer.

1. Malibu Surfrider Beach

Surfer riding the waves at Malibu Surfrider Beach.
Malibu Surfrider Beach is popular among surfers.Foto: Lux Blue / Shutterstock

For impressive waves.

Located in Malibu, Surfrider Beach is a favorite among—you guessed it—surfers. It’s best known for its dramatic waves, but it’s also a great spot for sunbathers. If you’re not planning to jump in the water yourself, you can still enjoy beautiful views of the Malibu coastline and catch a glimpse of surfers in the water. Many local surfers (and other residents of this upscale beach town) like to swing by SunLife Organics, located in the Malibu Country Mart shopping center, for a nutritious smoothie after a day spent at the beach.

2. Santa Monica State Beach

Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier.
Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier is full of fair rides.Foto: RAW-films / Shutterstock

For games and rollercoasters.

Santa Monica Beach—a wide swath of sand that is home to the Santa Monica Pier—offers a wide range of activities. Once you’re done soaking up the sun, take a stroll on the pier and enjoy a birds-eye view of the Pacific Ocean. You can also take a ride on the famous Ferris wheel, visit the arcade, or grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants near the beach. The Third Street Promenade, an outdoor shopping mall, is also within walking distance.

3. Venice Beach

Skateboarder at Venice Beach Skate Park.
Venice Beach is a great option for skateboarders.Foto: Tony Prince / Shutterstock

For street performers and skaters.

One of the most iconic beaches in Los Angeles, Venice Beach is known for its exciting boardwalk and eclectic street performers. It’s also well-liked among bodybuilders, dog walkers, and skaters. There’s plenty to keep you busy here: You can browse the crystal shops, jewelry kiosks, and tattoo parlors lining the boardwalk; rent a bike and pedal along the beachside path; try skateboarding at the famous skate park; eat at one of the many restaurants lining the boardwalk; or visit the nearby Venice Canals.

4. Paradise Cove Beach

People holding cocktails on the beach.
Freely drink your alcoholic beverages on Paradise Cove Beach.Foto: IrinaMonte / Shutterstock

For cocktails on the sand.

Paradise Cove in Malibu is a true hidden gem. Featured on a Beach Boys album cover, this beach is extremely photogenic. And it’s not just a pretty spot; this beach is also famous for permitting the consumption of beer, wine, and champagne. You can sunbathe and sip in peace or go for a dip. When you find yourself getting peckish, head to the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe, situated nearby.

5. Manhattan Beach

Surfers in the ocean at Manhattan Beach.
Manhattan Beach is relatively large compaired to its counterparts.Foto: GTG0812 / Tripadvisor

For relaxing and recharging.

Manhattan Beach is a favorite among LA locals. It’s a big beach (along the coast of the city of the same name) and offers plenty of room to spread out. It’s as good for jogging as it is for meditating or enjoying a quick getaway from the city. Famous for its wide sandy shoreline and long pier, it’s also an ideal spot to go biking or playing a game of beach volleyball. After your day of sand and sun, consider heading to the nearby town of Hermosa Beach to experience some lively nightlife. Popular with locals and tourists alike, it’s the perfect spot to do some barhopping.

6. El Matador State Beach

Cliff at El Matador State Beach.
El Matador State Beach looks straight out of a movie.Foto: Adam Mustafa / Shutterstock

For a romantic rendezvous.

If you're looking for a quiet, romantic beach getaway, El Matador Beach is the perfect spot. Located in Malibu, it features picturesque cliffs, hidden caves, and natural rock formations. It’s the perfect spot for special photo shoots and fancy picnics. Enjoy a serene day surrounded by nature, then catch the sunset at nearby Point Dume, where you can also enjoy hiking and epic views.

7. Leo Carrillo State Park Beach

Surfers and beach go-ers at Leo Carrillo State Park Beach.
Leo Carrillo State Park Beach is more secluded than other beaches in Malibu.Foto: David M. Schrader / Shutterstock

For tide pools, cliffs, and coves.

Located along the Pacific Coast Highway, about ten minutes west of Malibu, Leo Carrillo State Park Beach is a great option for anyone who wants to get away from the crowds. With its sequestered coves, striking cliffs, and large rock formations, this beach is a favorite among nature lovers and adventure seekers. Whether you're hiking the trails, exploring the tide pools, or simply soaking up the sun, this spot has something for everyone.

8. Redondo Beach

Families at Redondo Beach.
Redondo Beach is a favorite among families.Foto: travelview / Shutterstock

For a family fun day.

Redondo Beach (located in the city of the same name) is known for its lively atmosphere and is an ideal spot for watersports like paddleboarding, jet skiing, and kayaking. Those looking for a more laid-back experience can walk the pier or head to the nearby harbor for a bite or a drink at one of the local restaurants and bars. Redondo Beach is also home to the Seaside Lagoon, an enclosed saltwater pool that is a great option for families with children too young to play in large waves.

9. Newport Beach

Whale in the ocean outside Newport Beach.
Many whale-watching tours depart from Newport Beach.Foto: Donald Gaydon / Shutterstock

For whale-watching.

Gray whales, blue whales, and humpbacks all migrate along the Pacific Coast every year, and Newport Beach is one of the best places in the state to see them up close. The city itself (also called Newport Beach) is a quintessential Southern California beach town, with upscale dining options, high-end boutiques, and plenty of marinas and yacht clubs. Additionally, the surrounding Balboa Peninsula includes several different attractions, including the Balboa Fun Zone, home to rides and games that offer fun for all ages.

10. Alamitos Beach

Two bikers on a bike path in Long Beach.
Alamitos Beach is walking distance from downtown Long Beach.Foto: Idealphotographer / Shutterstock

For bike riding.

As one of the world's busiest seaports, Long Beach boasts a thriving maritime industry. As a result, the town also has plenty of waterfront restaurants, shops, and beaches. One of the most popular is Alamitos Beach, which sits within walking distance of the downtown area. Lined with condos, apartments, and high-rise buildings, this spot can get busy during the summer months, but it’s still the ideal choice for those who enjoy a beachside bike ride. Alamitos has an impressive 6-mile bike path that runs from the Shoreline Village shopping center to Alamitos Bay. When you’re done with your ride, you can also visit nearby attractions such as the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Queen Mary.

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