1. Nicholas Canyon Beach

prac_info 33900 block of Pacific Coast Hwy, near Ventura County Line

Google Map

This lovely 2-mile (3-km) beach is quieter than most in Malibu because of its isolation and distance from the city. It hugs the base of a bluff and is a great place for those seeking solitude and a tan.

2. El Matador Beach

prac_info 32900 block of Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu

Google Map

Rugged, secluded, and dotted with large boulders eroded by nature, this small cliff-backed beach is one of LA’s finest. Its remoteness, limited parking, and cumbersome access via a gravelly trail keep the crowds at bay. There are no facilities, but you can explore tide pools and caves, or take a dip. Nude sunbathing is illegal in LA County but some does occur.


Rock formations at El Matador Beach

3. Zuma Beach

prac_info 30000 block of Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu

Google Map

This 2-mile (3-km) ribbon of fine, sparkling sand is one of LA’s most popular beaches. Its clean water and mid-sized waves are great for bodysurfing and swimming. It teems with families on summer Sundays but is nearly deserted the rest of the week, making it perfect for quiet picnics and walks along the beach.

4. Malibu Lagoon State/Surfrider Beach

prac_info 23200 block of Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu

Google Map

Wedged in between the Malibu Pier and the gated celebrity enclave, Malibu Colony, this popular beach offers many diversions. Watch surfers shred the waves at Surfrider Beach. The eponymous lagoon is a stopover for migratory birds, while the nearby Adamson House with its idyllic gardens overlooks Malibu Pier and Malibu Lagoon.

5. Redondo Beach

Google Map

A unique horseshoe-shaped pier lined with shops, arcades, and food stands is Rendo Beach’s focal point. Rent a paddleboard or kayak and hit the water, or take a bicycle along the cycle path. Boutiques and art galleries are just a few blocks inland.

6. Hermosa Beach

prac_info Around Pier Ave

Google Map

South of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa (see South Bay) has a busy bar and restaurant scene right where Pier Avenue meets the sand. Beach volleyball is the local pastime and national tournaments take place throughout the year. Only the paved South Bay Bicycle Trail that runs from Marina del Rey to Palos Verdes lies between the sand and private homes.

7. Manhattan Beach

prac_info West of Highland Ave

Google Map

The Beach Boys, who grew up around here, found inspiration for their inimitable surf music in the white sands and glorious waves of this upscale yet relaxed seaside town. Longboarders still compete for the perfect ride, especially around the Manhattan Pier, which is home to the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium.

8. Santa Monica Beach

prac_info Along Pacific Coast Hwy in Santa Monica

Google Map

This easy-to-access beach is one of LA’s busiest. Families love the Santa Monica Pier with its pretty historical carousel and amusement park. Fitness buffs can get their kicks from pedaling or skating down a paved path running past the restored Muscle Beach, the birthplace of the Southern California exercise craze back in the 1930s.


Santa Monica Pier and beach

9. Venice Beach

prac_info Ocean Front Walk between Venice Blvd & Rose Ave

Google Map

The beach (see Venice Boardwalk) itself plays second fiddle to Venice’s outlandish Ocean Front Walk, which is a magnet for eccentrics and those who love watching them. Against a backdrop of trinket shops and cafés, your encounters may include chainsaw jugglers, hulky musclemen, or even a singing Sikh on roller-blades.


Ocean Front Walk, Venice Beach

10. Cabrillo Beach

prac_info Stephen M. White Dr, San Pedro

Google Map

The sails of windsurfers flutter like giant butterflies along this beach on the breakwater of LA Harbor. Visit the nearby Cabrillo Marine Aquarium to learn about marine life.

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