The best beaches in Los Angeles

The best beaches in Los Angeles

LA is home to some of the most iconic coastline in America. Featured in movies, tv shows and literature, the beaches in Los Angeles are amongst some of the most famous in the world. 

Although the city of LA may be landlocked, you will find huge stretches of beautiful coastline just a short drive away. As California boasts year-round sunshine, heading to the ocean is the perfect escape from the bustle of the metropolis.

With world-class surfing, epic scenery and unforgettable sunsets, the beaches in LA county attract thousands of visitors every year. In our latest blog post, we take a look at some of the best spots to visit during your trip to the Golden State.

Best beaches for kids and families

Venice Beach

LA’s most eclectic neighborhood, Venice Beach is one of the most popular attractions in the city. Best known for its boardwalk and unique residents, this artistic area is full of interesting things to see and do.

Venice Beach is one of the best beaches in Los Angeles, but the beautiful coastline is often upstaged by the colorful community that exists beyond the sand. From the legendary skate park, to the world-famous Muscle Beach gym, Venice Beach is a fantastic spot for people-watching. No matter what time of day you visit, the lively boardwalk will be packed with local artists, street performers and vendors.

Venice Beach is one of the best beaches in Los Angeles

Just a short stroll from the beach, you will also find Abbot Kinney. One of LA’s best shopping districts, this upmarket neighborhood has some of the city’s best boutiques, galleries and restaurants.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay near Venice Beach, all of our LA vacation homes are just a short drive away!

Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica is one of the most visited beaches in Los Angeles. Just 20 minutes from downtown LA, this iconic stretch of sand is perfect for those looking for some good old-fashioned fun.

The original Baywatch beach, Santa Monica’s stretch of sand is just over 3 miles long. Popular with families, there is a real summer vibe here. With a variety of activities and attractions on offer, you could easily spend a full day exploring the area.

At the center of the beach, you will find the infamous Santa Monica Pier. Home to bustling fairground rides, arcade games and shops, the pier is one of LA’s most famous landmarks. Offering panoramic views across Malibu and South Bay, this is a great spot to watch the sun go down.

As Santa Monica Beach and Venice Beach are just 3 miles apart, you can easily visit both in one day. Although walking will take you around an hour, bike rentals are readily available at both beaches. There’s a designated bike trail, which will take you past some of the most famous coastal views in Los Angeles.

Best beaches for couples

El Matador State Beach

El Matador is one of the most naturally beautiful beaches in Los Angeles. Accessed via a steep, rocky staircase, this photogenic beach is scattered with unusual rock formations, dark caves and hidden coves. Known as a ‘pocket beach’, El Matador is one of three beaches that make up the Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach.

Less frequented than other beaches in LA, El Matador is widely regarded as one of the most romantic spots in the city. Considered to be a hidden gem, the beach here is often completely deserted.

Even though the ocean is completely clear, rocky shores and strong waves mean most of the area is a no-swim zone. The rugged coastline here is best suited for sandy strolls and secluded sunbathing. With such a varied landscape, this beach is also one of the best places to catch the sunset!

Paradise Cove Beach

Tucked beneath the cliffs of Malibu, Paradise Cove Beach is small but perfectly formed. With its clean white sand and dramatic scenery, this beautiful beach has been a backdrop for many movies and TV shows.

Although Paradise Cove is a free public beach, it sits in front of the privately-owned Paradise Cove Beach Cafe. Extending out onto the sand, this popular eatery manages all of the amenities at the beach. Private terraces, beach beds and chaise longues are all available to rent, if you don’t mind coughing up the cash!

Paradise Cove in Malibu, LA

As Malibu is a hotspot for celebrities, Paradise Cove is also home to some amazing mansions. Take a stroll along the beach and you are likely to see some of the finest real estate in LA! Past residents of the area include stars such as Miley Cyrus, Stevie Nicks and Matthew McConaughey.

To experience a taste of the Hollywood lifestyle for yourself, complete your trip with a stay in a luxury villa. All located just a short drive from the coast, our vacation homes in LA offer swimming pools, amazing views –  and plenty of privacy! 

Best beaches for groups

Hermosa Beach

Situated in the heart of the South Bay area, Hermosa Beach is sandwiched between Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. 

Known for its laid-back Cali vibes, Hermosa is one of the most visited beaches in Los Angeles. Famed for its long stretch of white sand, there is an abundance of activities on offer, including volleyball, surfing and paddleboarding. As the waves aren’t as intense here, Hermosa Beach is one of the best places to learn how to surf. 

Hermosa Beach is one of the most visited beaches in Los Angeles

If you’re up for an adventure, one of the best bike routes in LA runs through Hermosa Beach. Known locally as The Strand, this trail follows the shores of Santa Monica Bay, offering some epic views along the way. Starting from nearby Redondo Beach, this 22-mile ride will take you past some of the best beaches in all of California.

It’s also worth making the return journey, as Hermosa is renowned for its lively social scene. Full of notable restaurants, cool shops and fun bars, this vibrant area is well worth exploring into the night – the infamous comedy club here often hosts a number of familiar faces!

Zuma Beach

A popular spot with both residents and tourists, Zuma Beach is one of the largest beaches in Los Angeles. With a huge stretch of sand, mild waves and plentiful parking, this beach has everything you need for a fun day out.

Attracting both sunbathers and surfers, Zuma Beach tends to get very busy during the weekends. However, with 1.8 miles of shoreline, there is still plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the sunshine. Volleyball nets are set up along the beach, and the gentle waves are perfect for swimming and bodyboarding. Ideal for families, there are always lifeguards on duty, as well as a number of food stands and restrooms nearby. 

Zuma Beach is perfect for families

Even if you visit out of season, Zuma Beach will still be relatively busy. The beach is one of the best places to spot wildlife in LA. Whales, dolphins and seals are all in abundance here, particularly during the winter months. 

If you’re travelling to LA as a group, renting a private vacation home is one of the most affordable accommodation options. When filled to capacity, our homes start at just $67 per person, per night.

Best beaches for surfing

Malibu Surfrider Beach

Part of Malibu Lagoon State Beach, Surfrider Beach is famous for its perfect waves. Malibu has long been at the center of the LA surf scene, and Surfrider Beach is one of the most visited surf spots in California. The smooth-breaking waves are recognized as gold-standard among surfers worldwide.

As this beach has some of the best surfing conditions in LA, the water can get pretty crowded. Novices are welcome, but if you’re a complete beginner, it’s a good idea to take lessons at a quieter beach first. 

Malibu Surfrider Beach is the best beach for surfing

If you’re keen to learn more about the art of surfing, Surfrider Beach is great for spectating and people-watching. Celebrities and professionals often frequent the waves here, so you may even get the chance to observe some world-class skills! 

For the best view, head to the Malibu Pier. One of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, this historic pier is home to a variety of restaurants, shops and fishing spots. Offering exceptional views across the ocean, this is a fab place to watch the surfers – and the sunset!

Manhattan Beach

Just a few minutes from Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach has some of the best surfing conditions in Southern California. The waves are so good, the International Surf Festival is held here every year.

Like Surfrider Beach, the water can get crowded with pro surfers. If you’re a beginner it’s a good idea to head to El Porto. Situated at the north end of Manhattan Beach, El Porto is well-known for being a beginner’s surf spot. With consistent but smaller swells, this is a great place to hone your skills!

Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles County

Also regarded as the birthplace of beach volleyball, Manhattan Beach is lined with volleyball courts. There are around a hundred nets dotted across the beach – which are always busy! If you’d rather spectate, there are a number of pro tournaments held here every summer, including the Manhattan Beach Open.

Away from the beach, there is a buzzing boulevard, lined with boutiques, restaurants and bars. With plenty of pedestrianized walkways, the whole area is easy to explore on foot, or you can always rent a bike. Manhattan Beach is one of the most expensive coastal towns in America, so you’re likely to see some of LA’s most extravagant homes here!

Vacation homes in Los Angeles

If you’re looking to book a vacation in LA, Top Villas offer a fantastic range of beautiful accommodation in the city. All situated in the desirable Hollywood Hills neighborhood, our vacation homes offer luxury living space, incredible views and an abundance of fantastic 5* amenities.

As all of the beaches in LA are easily accessible from the city, you will be able to travel freely between both. Need to hire a car? We can help with that too! 

When you book with Top Villas, arranging a stay couldn’t be easier. By following our simple online booking process, you can secure your dream home instantly. Our website makes it easy to check availability, get a quote and book instantly online. Alternatively, you can submit an enquiry and we’ll get straight back to you.