Experiencing the best Los Angeles beaches is a huge reason many people come to the city. And who could blame them – LA has gorgeous beaches! Between the cliffside tide pools, wide expanses of soft sand, and crashing surf, there are seaside activities for every interest.
As a local Los Angeleno, my love for the sea runs deep, and I’m here to spill on the best beach spots I return to time and time again. This guide will cover how you can visit 22 of the best beaches in Los Angeles county, listed from south to north.
And while you’re here, bookmark my guide to the 55 best things to do in Los Angeles. It’s a great resource to round out your beach trip with other LA attractions!
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- 23 Best Beaches In Los Angeles (& Nearby)
- Abalone Cove Shoreline Park
- Rat Beach
- Redondo Beach
- Hermosa Beach
- Manhattan Beach
- El Porto Beach
- Dockweiler Beach
- Playa del Rey Beach
- Mother’s Beach
- Venice Beach
- Santa Monica State Beach
- Will Rogers State Beach
- Topanga Beach
- Las Tunas Beach
- Carbon Beach
- Malibu Lagoon State Beach (aka Surfrider)
- Dan Blocker Beach
- Paradise Cove Beach
- Point Dume State Beach
- Zuma Beach
- El Matador Beach
- Nicholas Canyon County Beach
- Leo Carrillo State Park
- FAQs about Beaches in Los Angeles
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23 Best Beaches In Los Angeles (& Nearby)
Abalone Cove Shoreline Park
A secluded haven in Rancho Palos Verdes
📍 Google Maps | Website | 🅿️ Parking: 30 min – Free, 30 min to 2 hours – $6, 2+ hours – $12, Lot entrance closes at 4 pm | 🐕 Dogs: On hiking trails only, leash required | 🛎️ Best Nearby Hotel: Terranea Resort
Located on the Palos Verdes peninsula, Abalone Cove Shoreline Park is a secluded haven of coastal nature with hiking trails and thriving tide pools. Waves are calm enough for swimming and wading, but be careful of rocks.
I will caution that, when heading here, be prepared for a trek. The beach area and shoreline activities are accessed via steep trails.
The amenities here are restrooms, picnic tables, and benches. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours in summer & weekends.
🐙 Pro Tip: To see creatures in the tide pools, you’ll need to be there at low tide. Check this surf forecast for detailed information.
A surfing hotspot in Torrance
Fear not, the name of this sandy beach has nothing to do with rodents. Officially titled Torrance Beach, rat stands for “right after Torrance” or “Redondo and Torrance.”
One of the best beaches in Los Angeles for scuba and skin diving, Torrance is also great for swimming, fishing, and surfing.
The amenities here include restrooms, a concession stand, showers, a bike path, an access mat, beach wheelchairs, and volleyball courts. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
*Service dogs are exempt from the prohibition on dogs, emotional support animals are not. Find detailed information on service classifications here. This rule applies throughout California.
A great option for groups or families in Redondo Beach
Redondo County Beach is a big crowd-pleaser. Over a mile of south bay beach, ample parking, and plentiful options for food & entertainment make this an ideal option for families or groups.
The horseshoe-shaped pier hosts a large collection of cute shops and tantalizing seafood restaurants. Marvin Braude Bike Trail is a 22-mile stretch of paved path for walking and biking. Commonly known as ‘the strand,’ this path starts in Redondo and runs to Will Rogers State Beach in Santa Monica.
North of the pier, Redondo Breakwater is one of LA’s few big-wave surf spots. It’s great for experienced surfers, but beginners are better off going north of Herondo Street, towards Hermosa city beach. Waves south of the pier are also great for surfing, swimming, and windsurfing.
Amenities here include restrooms, showers, beach wheelchairs, and beach volleyball. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
🌊 Pro Tip: Redondo Beach is near a large storm drain, which can affect water quality. Current advisories for all Los Angeles county beaches can be found here.
Experience classic California surf culture at Hermosa Beach
A local favorite among the beach cities, Hermosa Beach is the LA embodiment of California surf culture. It features excellent waves and great swimming areas.
The pier is quiet and picturesque, lovely for a scenic stroll, and stunning at sunset. At the base, Pier Avenue is lined with unpretentious restaurants and boisterous bars that feature live music. Charmingly kitsch shops offer beach and surf-themed souvenirs.
Hermosa gets crowded in summertime and most weekends. Arriving early is key.
Amenities here include restrooms, showers, a concession stand, beach wheelchairs, a playground, volleyball nets, and a bike path. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
🍹 Pro Tip: Several cafes on Pier Avenue offer brunch menus featuring bottomless mimosas or bloody marys.
Soak up the warm water and peaceful vibe at Manhattan Beach
Another popular beach among locals, Manhattan has the warmest water and is the least touristy beach close to central LA. Popular activities include swimming, surfing, and windsurfing. The annual beach volleyball tournament draws quite a crowd.
Beachfront homes line the boardwalk while a quaint, free aquarium is the only structure on the 900-foot pier. Restaurants and boutiques, about two blocks away, are mostly geared toward up-market local tastes.
Bruce’s Beach is a small section of Manhattan Beach with a big part in African-American history. Visitors can learn a bit about the area from a monument in the park.
Amenities here include restrooms, showers, a concession stand, an access mat & ramp, beach wheelchairs, volleyball courts, and a bike path. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
📚 Related Reading: Proximity to LAX makes Manhattan Beach excellent for a long layover. Check out my guide to staying in Los Angeles for more on where to stay in LA and other great tips.
El Porto Beach
One of the best surfing spots in the Manhattan Beach area
Few beaches are more popular than El Porto for surfing. When the waves are tame elsewhere, El Porto is your best bet.
Just keep in mind that the surf is too rough for swimming and gets crowded when waves are high. The beach, however, tends to be very quiet, largely due to an enormous oil refinery immediately to the north.
Amenities here include restrooms and volleyball. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
An enormous beach with firepits in El Segundo
📍 Google Maps | Website | 🅿️ Parking: Self-pay public lot with 1,200 spaces | 🐕 Dogs: Leashed dogs allowed on the walkway and in RV park only | 🛎️ Best Nearby Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites LAX El Segundo
An enormous beach with plenty of parking and amenities, Dockweiler is excellent for a classic beach day. There’s lots of space to enjoy beach sports such as frisbee or volleyball, which can be more difficult on smaller or more crowded beaches.
Dockweiler is the only beach in LA that allows hang gliding. Other activities include swimming, diving, and surfing. Shore fishing is popular, but the best fishing here is on jetties at the north end of the beach.
For locals, the most popular feature here is the fire pits. These are first-come, first-served, so stake your claim before sunset. Convenience and grocery stores in the area commonly stock firewood and other necessities.
Amenities here include a beach access mat, beach wheelchairs, a bike path, fire pits, a concession stand, restrooms, picnic tables, an RV park, showers, volleyball nets, and a youth center (temporarily closed.) Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
🚐 Living the van life? There are two seaside RV parks in the Los Angeles area, Dockweiler and Malibu RV Park.
Playa del Rey Beach
A budget-friendly beach in Playa del Rey
📍 Google Maps | Website | 🅿️ Parking: Limited parking on street, paid lots 2-3 blocks from beach | 🐕 Dogs: Leashed dogs on walkway only, no dogs on beach or pier | 🛎️ Best Nearby Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites LAX El Segundo
Playa del Rey beach specializes in small-town charm. Being close to Loyola Marymount University makes it popular with students. This area tends to be less expensive than its neighbors.
It is important to know that Playa del Rey, Marina del Rey, and Dockweiler are below the LAX flight path. For some, the noise of planes overhead can be bothersome.
Amenities here include a playground, restrooms, showers, volleyball & basketball courts, and a bike path. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
🚘 Parking Hack: Spare yourself the parking hassle by grabbing a bite before beach time and using the restaurant’s valet.
A great beach in Marina del Rey if you have kids in tow
Also known as Marina Beach, Mother’s Beach is a small, man-made beach in Marina del Rey. Families with young children appreciate the somewhat enclosed area and large playground.
The water here is calm with no waves. It’s good for less confident swimmers, but as it directly borders the marina, the water isn’t super clean.
Amenities here include an ADA ramp to the water, barbecue grills, restrooms, showers, beach access mat & ramp, beach wheelchairs, volleyball nets, and a bike path. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
There’s no concession stand, but it’s just a 2-minute walk to the Cheesecake Factory.
🚗 Looking to take a road trip? Check out this great list of the best things to do in Carlsbad – it’s only an hour and a half drive away!
A bohemian beach with a lively boardwalk in the Venice Beach neighborhood
📍 Google Maps | Website | 🅿️ Parking: Self-pay public lots, $1-2 p/hr or $5-15 p/day; private paid lots, $20 & up | 🐕 Dogs: Leashed dogs on the boardwalk only, no dogs allowed on weekends or holidays between Memorial Day – Labor Day | 🛎️ Best Nearby Hotel: Venice V Hotel
Venice Beach is a fan favorite among the best beaches in Los Angeles, which also makes it one of the most popular neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Most famous for the lively boardwalk, the area is no slouch in terms of sand and sea. Bohemian vibes enhance the joyful atmosphere.
Just about anything you want can be found within walking distance of Venice city beach. There are shops, restaurants, and equipment rentals aplenty. Workout gear, a skatepark, basketball, tennis, and handball courts offer a range of sports.
Fishing is permitted on Venice pier.
Amenities here include a playground, restrooms, showers, volleyball/basketball/tennis/handball courts, and bike paths. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
👉 Pro Tip: Venice Beach is markedly less crowded on weekdays.
Santa Monica State Beach
A super popular beach and pier in Santa Monica
Santa Monica beach is the most popular beach in LA, and with 3.5 miles of shoreline, it’s the largest beach on Santa Monica Bay. Whether you want to splash in light waves, mellow out sunbathing, or enjoy an action-filled amusement park, there are many fun things to do in Santa Monica.
Santa Monica Pier is a fun, family-friendly attraction with shops and restaurants galore. Pacific Park is where you’ll find the famous Ferris wheel, as well as other rides and carnival games.
There are a bunch of great hotels on either side of the pier. Check out my where to stay in Los Angeles post for specific recommendations.
Stretching from Will Rogers State Beach to Venice Beach, Santa Monica State Beach encompasses the main oceanfront. The northernmost areas are quiet, unspoiled expanses of white sand. Areas near Santa Monica pier get very crowded, especially in summer.
Amenities here include Beach wheelchairs, a bike path, concession stands, restrooms, picnic tables, showers, and volleyball. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
🏋 Love fitness? Touted as the original muscle beach, Santa Monica beach offers athletic equipment such as rings, parallel bars, and balance bars, just south of the pier.
Will Rogers State Beach
A peaceful beach in Santa Monica
North of Santa Monica on Pacific Coast Highway (commonly referred to as PCH) you’ll find Will Rogers State Beach. Located between cities rather than bordering them, the area is peaceful and uncomplicated.
Like most California state beaches, Will Rogers is divided into smaller areas. The three beaches here are Pacific Palisades, Sunset, and Castle Rock.
Between Sunset and Castle Rock you’ll find Gladstones, an upscale seafood restaurant with great cocktails, and a Pacific Ocean view.
Amenities here include beach wheelchairs, bike path access, restrooms, picnic tables, and showers. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
🚗 How to Get There: Rideshares get pricey and are less frequently available anywhere north of Santa Monica. From this point forward, the beaches in this guide are best visited by car. Try Discover Cars for great deals on LA rentals.
A small cove beach with big waves in Topanga
As a general rule, anything in LA that starts with ‘Topanga’ will be cool, vibey, and fun. Topanga Beach is no exception! A mile of sandy beach surrounded by palms, this small cove features big waves.
However, those waves break over cobblestones and a reef, so this is not an ideal location for swimming. Surfers love it here and it’s also good for scuba diving.
My favorite thing to pair with Topanga beach is a visit to the Getty Villa, just one mile south on Pacific Coast Highway. Check out my things to do in Los Angeles guide for more on the villa and lots of other great LA attractions.
Amenities here include beach wheelchairs, an access mat, restrooms, and showers. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: Shade! Skip the rental fees and pick up a Neso 1 Sunshade – big enough to provide shade for 4, small enough to fit in your carry-on.
Las Tunas Beach
A popular fishing and scuba diving spot in Malibu
The southernmost beach in Malibu, Las Tunas is easier to access than other beaches in this area. Bordered by Pacific Coast Highway, this narrow strip of sand and rocks is most frequented for fishing and scuba diving.
The picturesque scenery is lovely for beach walking.
Amenities here include porta-potties. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
🎣 Love to fish? Guppies Fishing Adventures offers a range of classes and charters near California beaches.
A quiet beach in an affluent Malibu neighborhood
Carbon and La Costa are slightly less popular beaches – they’re both gorgeous, but tricky to access. You’ll need to find a coastal access sign like the one pictured above.
Known as “Billionaire’s Beach,” homes here are highly sought after. Residents know the entire waterfront is public access, but they do own the beach area in front of their home. Many are fenced, but it’s best to lounge right up against the water or at the end of the beach not bordered by homes.
There are no amenities here.
👉 Pro Tip: Guests who want a taste of Carbon Beach luxury will love the Carbon Beach Club at Malibu Beach Inn. Their terrace extends directly over the Pacific ocean. Fireside dining is also offered, with a complimentary blanket to wrap up with on chilly evenings.
Malibu Lagoon State Beach (aka Surfrider)
A Malibu beach with environmental and historical significance
Located where Malibu Creek meets the sea, Malibu Lagoon State Beach is rich with historical and environmental significance. Signs along the wooden walking trails educate visitors on the unique species that call this lagoon home.
Surfrider beach extends from the Malibu pier to the tip of the lagoon. The big waves and chilly waters are most popular with, you guessed it, surfers.
The Adamson House is a California Historical Landmark overlooking the lagoon and Malibu Surfrider Beach. Next door, the Malibu Lagoon Museum tours visitors through area history.
Amenities here include porta-potties. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
👉 Pro Tip: March through July, grunion flop onto Malibu Lagoon State Beach by the thousands to spawn. The events occur twice each month for four consecutive nights, beginning on the nights of a full moon or new moon.
Dan Blocker Beach
A great spot in Malibu to watch the sunset
Right next to Corral State Beach, this California beach is spectacular at sunset. Points further north lose the light early, but here you’ll get a fabulous vantage point for watching the sun backlight Point Dume as it dips into the horizon.
Less rocky than other parts of Malibu, these sandy beaches are good for swimmers. Be careful when surfing – it was here Patrick Swayze broke four ribs while filming Point Break.
To get the full scope of Malibu luxury, check out Calamigos Guest Ranch & Beach Club. This posh accommodation hosts guests at a ranch in the Malibu Hills and features a private beach club at the north end of Dan Blocker beach.
Amenities here include restrooms, picnic tables, and a viewing area with benches.
👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: A beach blanket. There’s no better view for snuggling with your special someone.
Paradise Cove Beach
The perfect spot to relax and grab a beachside drink in Malibu
For me, few indulgences are quite so satisfying as a day spent lounging on umbrella-shaded beach beds with a frosty tropical drink. If that sounds like heaven to you, too, head straight to Paradise Cove beach.
The family-owned Paradise Cove Beach Café serves bountiful helpings of delicious food at tables right on the sand. Beach chairs & sunbeds can be rented at the club right next door, owned by the same family. The club serves a smaller menu of food and all the same yummy drinks.
Beyond the club and restaurant, visitors can wade in some of Malibu’s warmer waters and explore tide pools.
Amenities here include public restrooms and showers provided by the café. Lifeguard on duty during the cafe’s open hours.
👉 Pro Tip: You can visit this beautiful beach without the hefty cost. Just park up on PCH and walk down through the parking lot.
Point Dume State Beach
A cliffside beach in Malibu
Soaring cliffs and rugged coastline are prime features of Point Dume. The furthest point west in LA county, this spot offers incredible panoramic views of our world-famous ocean. On a clear day, you can even spot Catalina Island.
Westward is the main beach, bordering Zuma beach to the north. Adept hikers can venture to secluded Pirates’ Cove, around the point. This tiny beach is famously featured in the Planet of the Apes (1968) as the location where the Statue of Liberty lies half-buried by sand.
Big Dume beach and associated tide pools are accessed by a staircase that is currently closed. The access point is expected to open by summer 2022.
Amenities here include picnic areas, restrooms, and showers. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours on Westward Beach only.
🐋 Pro Tip: Grey whales are often spotted from Point Dume during their spring migration, roughly December through March.
A great beach for swimming in Malibu
Although it’s a distance from the city, Zuma beach county park remains a local favorite among LA beaches. With miles of sandy beach and plentiful parking right next to the sand, it’s a perfect choice for families or groups.
In summer, Zuma warms up enough to swim comfortably. It’s one of the best beaches to enjoy windsurfing.
Amenities here include beach wheelchairs, an access mat (Apr-Oct,) a concession stand, picnic tables, restrooms, showers, and volleyball courts. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
El Matador Beach
A beach with archways and sea caves in Malibu
Of the three beaches in Meyer Memorial State Beach, El Matador is the main beach. Millennia of erosion have created archways and sea caves that make for amazing pictures. This dramatic backdrop is a favorite of swimsuit models and influencers.
La Pierda and El Pescador are lovely spots for a romantic stroll. Each has a small parking area.
Amenities here include porta-potties.
👉 Pro Tip: At low tide, you can walk west of El Pescador to El Sol Beach, which is not accessible from the road. Those who brave the rocks are rewarded with zen-level solitude.
Nicholas Canyon County Beach
One of the best surfing spots in Malibu
Known by surfers as ‘Zeros,’ Nicholas Canyon County Beach is best known for having a perfect point break. Sandwiched between cliffs, this stair-accessed strip is clean and uncrowded.
Long before it was Malibu, this area of California was a homeland of great importance to the Chumash tribe. Wishtoyo Foundation’s Chumash Village offers a window into this integral cultural heritage.
Amenities here include picnic tables, restrooms, and showers. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: A kite! The wind picks up around here, perfect for high-flying fun.
Leo Carrillo State Park
A beach perfect for windsurfing in Malibu
📍 Google Maps | Website | 🅿️ Parking: Paid lot, $3 p/hr, $12 p/day | 🐕 Dogs: Allowed! Everywhere but backcountry trails and South beach | 🛎️ Best Nearby Accommodation: Stunning Malibu Beach Front Home
North of all other LA beaches, Leo Carrillo is an idyllic setting packed with wildlife. There are tide pools, caves, and reefs suitable for diving and snorkeling.
The water here is great for windsurfing, good for surfing, and ok for swimming if you’re down to brave the chill and some rocks. The North Beach shore is more rock than sand.
On the east side of Pacific Coast Highway, there’s a sycamore-shaded campground, wonderful for those who prefer a tent to a hotel room. Campers who fancy fresh fish for dinner can try their hand at surf fishing for perch and corbina.
Amenities here include picnic tables, restrooms, and showers. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: A picnic. There are no restaurants nearby, so fill this packable cooler with munchies from a local market.
FAQs about Beaches in Los Angeles
Are any LA beaches open?
Yes, all Los Angeles Beaches are open, though check each beach’s website before visiting to know whether or not a lifeguard is on duty.
What is the prettiest beach in Los Angeles?
The prettiest beach in Los Angeles is Santa Monica State Beach.
What is the popular beach in Los Angeles?
The most popular beach in Los Angeles is Santa Monica State Beach.
What beaches can you swim in Los Angeles?
You can swim at almost all beaches in Los Angeles. Santa Monica Beach, Mother’s Beach, Rat Beach, and Abalone Cove Shoreline Park are especially popular.
What is the safest beach in Los Angeles?
The safest beach in Los Angeles is Will Rogers State Beach.
⛱️ Read Next: 23 Best Beaches in San Diego
Thanks for reading my list of the best beaches in Los Angeles! With so much to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect spot for your trip.
For more great beaches in the area, check out this epic list of the best beaches in Southern California!
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