Los Angeles is known for long wide sandy beaches with picturesque piers jutting out into Santa Monica Bay. These are world class beaches that draw thousands of visitors every day. They are filled with families playing at the waters edge, building sandcastles, and resting in the sun. Surfers bob in the water next to the piers and volleyball players enjoy the sand courts. All of these fairly homogeneous bayside beaches are excellent destinations, but LA is lucky to have some more diverse options nearby on the Malibu shoreline and on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. There you will find cove beaches with a much different feel.
Our list of the best beaches in Los Angeles puts every beach into a category that it is most associated with. Sunny Southern California is the land of the “endless summer” so these beaches are fun to visit year-round. Some of the smaller beaches are better at lower tides when more sand is exposed and tide pools too.
Here are the Best Beaches in Los Angeles. To see our favorite beach in LA, scroll to the bottom of the list.
- Best surfing and sunbathing:
Venice Pier Beach
- Best longboard surf spot:
- Best tide pools:
Abalone Cove Shoreline Park
- Best lighthouse:
Point Fermin (the Sunken City is a bonus).
- Best people watching:
- Best hidden beach:
Pirate’s Cove at Point Dume
- Best kid-friendly beach:
- Best for beach walking:
- Best beach cave:
Terranea Resort Beach
- Best beach worth fighting for:
El Sol Beach
- Best pier:
Santa Monica Pier
- Best camping:
Leo Carrillo State Park
- Best spot for kayaking & SUP:
Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey
- Best shipwreck beach:
- Best beach for photography:
El Matador State Beach
- Best dog-friendly beach:
North Beach at Leo Carrillo State Park
- Best beach bike ride:
Marvin Braude Bike Trail
- Best bird-watching:
Malibu Lagoon State Beach
- Best overall beach!
Santa Monica State Beach
Why is Santa Monica State Beach the best? It has a fantastic pier nearby, large grass parks, playgrounds for kids, tons of parking, a wide sandy beach, lifeguards, volleyball nets, a paved bike path in the sand, friendly people, places for picnics, and many hotels and restaurants behind the beach. While there are other excellent beaches on Santa Monica Bay, we feel that Santa Monica tops them all.
Beaches on this map
The south part of Santa Monica State Beach is located south of the Santa Monica Pier and north of Venice Beach. On the other side of the pier you’ll find […]
The north part of Santa Monica State Beach is a wide sandy beach that runs north from the Santa Monica Pier to the city border where Will Rogers State Beach […]
Manhattan Beach (the beach) is the main beach of the city of Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles County. This two-mile long wide sandy flat beach starts at 1st Street in […]
Hermosa City Beach occupies the entire waterfront in the city of Hermosa Beach in LA County. It starts at King Harbor Marina in Redondo Beach and continues north for nearly […]
Redondo County Beach is a 1.5 mile long sandy beach that makes up the waterfront of Redondo Beach, CA. The main part of Redondo County Beach starts at the Redondo […]
The Venice Pier Beach is at the long fishing pier jutting out into the Pacific Ocean from the Venice District of Los Angeles. This area of LA has a reputation […]
Zuma Beach County Park in Malibu is a long wide beach with enough parking spaces for the Superbowl. The main beach at Zuma is about two miles long and doesn’t […]
Malibu Surfrider Beach is the popular sandy beach and surfing spot between the Malibu Pier and the Malibu Lagoon. Surfrider Beach is part of Malibu Lagoon State Beach which has […]
Abalone Cove Beach is below the parking lot at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes. The bluffs in the park are protected in a state […]
Point Fermin Beach is below the steep bluffs of Point Fermin Park and Lighthouse in the San Pedro District of Los Angeles. The beach here isn’t sandy, but the rocky […]
Venice City Beach is the main beach in the Venice District of Los Angeles. It stretches from the Venice Pier up to the north end of the Venice District at […]
Pirates Cove is a hidden sandy beach in a small cove on the west side of Point Dume in Malibu. Access to Pirates Cove is from the southern end of […]
Seaside Lagoon is a man-made salt water lagoon surrounded by sand in an urban park next to the Redondo Beach Harbor. This facility has been designed with kids and families […]
Long Point is the huge property where the Terranea Resort is located in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. This site has a lot of history as it was the home of […]
El Sol Beach is a public beach in Malibu that is owned by Los Angeles County. Access to this beach has been a topic of conversation since it was purchased […]
South Beach at Leo Carrillo State Park is across Pacific Coast Highway from the main park entrance. Inside this entrance is the main day-use parking area and a small visitor […]
North Beach at Leo Carrillo State Park is a wide family-friendly and dog friendly beach in western Malibu. It has a linear day-use parking lot right on the beach. In […]
Marina Beach in Marina Del Rey is usually referred to as Mother’s Beach by locals because it has a roped off swimming and wading area on the calm waters of […]
Lunada Bay is a small bay or large cove, depending on how you look at it, in the Palos Verdes Estates area. It’s probably best known for surfing although the […]
El Matador Beach is one of three beaches within Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach. El Matador is the most popular of the three and the closest to Malibu. The […]
Malibu Lagoon State Beach is located on the point formed where Malibu Creek ends at the ocean. Here the creek pools up to form Malibu Lagoon and in the winter […]
Carbon Beach is a long south-facing beach in front of stunning beachfront homes in Eastern Malibu. This mile-long beach is between the Malibu Pier at Surfrider Beach and Carbon Canyon Road. […]
Other locations on this map
Downtown Los Angeles
The city of LA has beaches in the Venice area, Pacific Palisades, and San Pedro. Downtown is just minutes from the beaches on the bay.
LAX is close to many excellent sandy beaches.
Malibu has stunning beaches up and down it’s long coastline. It’s a short drive west on PCH to most of Malibu’s beaches.
The Palos Verdes Peninsula has great beaches for tidepooling, diving, hiking, and exploring.