No trip to Los Angeles is complete without a beach day or two. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll find any excuse to head to the beach.
To me, there’s nothing better than the sun, sand, and waves. For your fair share of the California sunshine, make sure to head to the 10 best beaches near Los Angeles.
1) Leo Carrillo State Beach
Named after actor and conservationist, Leo Carrillo, this state beach offers a multitude of landscapes and activities for visitors. From surfing to exploring the tide pools, everyone can find something to enjoy about this beach.
Location: 28 miles Northwest of Santa Monica off of Pacific Coast Highway. Click here for directions.
Parking fees: $12 for a full day, $3.00 per hour.
Good to Know: Before lounging on the beach, explore one of the hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult in intensity. You can also reserve a camping spot.
2) Huntington Dog Beach
Warning: If you’re a cat person, you should probably skip this beach.
I try to travel with my dogs as much as possible. When I can find a dog beach, I’m on top of the world. If I’m that excited, I can’t imagine how amped they must be. At Huntington Dog Beach, your dog can unleash (literally) and run around the beach at their leisure. The beach also has a non-profit organization that works to make sure the area is safe and clean for your pets.
Location: 100 Goldenwest St., between Seapoint Avenue and 21st Street, Huntington Beach. Click here for directions.
Parking fees: Metered parking. $1.50 per hour.
Good to Know: Pick up after your dog! The beach is open daily from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm. If your dog is timid, it’s best to keep them on a leash at first.
3) El Matador Beach
El Matador Beach is part of Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach just west of Malibu. This beach requires a 150-foot excursion down to the beach, so I recommend wearing sturdy shoes if possible. El Matador Beach has recently caught the eye of famous Instagrammers, even though it’s long been a favorite of professional photographers.
Location: El Matador Beach Road between Broad Beach and Decker Canyon roads along Pacific Coast Highway. Click here for directions.
Parking Fees: Limited parking.
Good to Know: Visit in the off-season to have the beach all to yourself. During the peak season, this beach can be packed.
4) Malibu Surfrider Beach
As part of the best beaches near Los Angeles, Malibu Surfrider Beach is part of Malibu Lagoon State Park. With about a mile of oceanfront fun, Malibu Surfrider Beach is among the best beaches near Los Angeles due to its proximity to the famous Malibu Pier. How did this beach get the name “Surfrider?” The 1950s surfing movies, of course!
Location: 23050 & 23200 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265. Click here for directions.
Parking Fees: Street parking and a parking lot.
Good to Knows: Malibu Surfrider Beach is adjacent to other Malibu beaches. If this beach is crowded, simply move on to the next one!
5) Cabrillo Beach
Visiting Los Angeles in the off-season? If so, head to Cabrillo Beach for excellent whale watching opportunities. If you’re visiting during the peak season, this beach is perfect for everything from lounging in the sun to scuba diving. The area offers picnic tables, a snack bar, and other conveniences for beach-goers.
Location: 3720 Steven M. White Dr., San Pedro, CA 90731. Click here for directions.
Parking Fees: Parking lot for an hourly fee.
Good to Knows: For kids who aren’t too fond of the Pacific Ocean, Cabrillo Beach offers a playground area.
6) Santa Monica Beach
If you’ve been looking for the best beaches near Los Angeles, you likely already know about Santa Monica Beach. This iconic California beach extends 3.5 miles in length and is within walking distance from numerous hotels, restaurants, and attractions. While there, you have to check out the Santa Monica Pier. After all, if you go to Santa Monica Beach and don’t visit the pier, what are you doing with your vacation?!
Location: Along Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica. Click here for directions.
Parking Fees: The beach offers eight main parking lots and street parking. Lot prices can range from approximately $6 to $15 per day. Many beach-goers walk or bike to the beach.
Good to Knows: Try your hand at surfing or paddleboarding while at Santa Monica Beach. You’ll find several places to rent equipment or purchase lessons.
7) Venice Beach
Interested in trying your hand at surfing? Head to the Venice Breakwater at Venice Beach. This local favorite surf spot was built in 1905 by Abbot Kinney to protect his pier. As a result, the sand in this spot is ideal for sand sculptures, so keep your eye out for incredible works of art right on the beach.
Location: 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291. Click here for directions.
Parking Fees: Choose between parking in a private lot for a variable fee or finding free parking in the streets around Venice.
Good to Know: Take time to stroll along the boardwalk. You’ll find great shops, food, and entertainment!
8) Redondo Beach
Although many of the best beaches near Los Angeles tend to be crowded, Redondo Beach is not! Since this beach is so massive that you’ll never have trouble finding a parking spot or a place to set up on the beach. Plus, this beach boasts a seaside lagoon that’s a must for any California vacation. Keep in mind that the lagoon is not open year-round.
Location: 100 Fisherman's Wharf, Redondo Beach, CA 90277. Click here for directions.
Parking Fees: Ample self-parking.
Good to Knows: For a secluded beach experience, find a spot near the Redondo Beach Jetty. This is a popular surfing spot away from the main crowd.
9) Topanga State Beach
Calm down Boy Meets World fans. I doubt you’ll find Danielle Fishel here. What you will find, however, is a quiet beach area for you to enjoy. If you’ve ever wanted to see kayak surfing in person, now’s your chance. Topanga State Beach is known for excellent kayak surfing conditions. The beach also offers space for sunbathing, surfing, and just splashing around in the ocean.
Location: 18700 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu CA 90265. Click here for directions.
Parking Fees: $6-$8 per day parking. $3 per hour.
Good to Know: If you park in the beach’s east or west parking lots and take the underground passageway, you may or may not find Rosenthal Winery on the other side. Hint: you will.
10) Abalone Cove Beach
I’m a marine biology nerd. So when I want to discover marine life in tide pools, I head to Abalone Cove Beach. Inside tide pools, you’ll find a wide array of brightly colored sea urchin and so much more. This is a fantastic activity for curious kids, as well.
Location: Situated in Abalone Cove Shoreline Park. Click here for directions.
Parking Fees: $5 parking.
Good to Knows: Can’t spot the tide pools? Try Sacred Cove, also located within Abalone Cove Shoreline Park.
Visit the Best Beaches Near Los Angeles on Your Vacation
As I said, no Los Angeles vacation is complete without a trip to the beach. But keep in mind that there is so much more to do and experience in LA! Remember to check out Tripster Los Angeles before your trip for discounted hotel and attraction ticket packages.