Discovering our World

Travel, beauty, fashion, style and lifestyle blog by Ashley Liddle

The most beautiful beaches in Los Angeles: from Malibu to Laguna Beach

In Los Angeles, there are different kinds of beaches (including the most unusual ones). There are beaches for surfers and sportsmen in general, fashionable beaches for young people, and beaches for families. On the palm-lined promenades, you can take long walks through parks, markets, shops, restaurants, bars, outdoor gyms, and murals. You can meet painters, street artists, tattoo artists, craftsmen, dancers, improvised actors, and an endlessly diverse humanity that is irresistibly charming.

The Most Famous Beaches of Los Angeles

Here are the beaches you should visit to experience the beauty of the coast of Los Angeles. Remember that you can sunbathe on the beach during the summer months, but that the water temperature in the Pacific remains low throughout the year, so not everyone may be comfortable swimming in the sea.

Santa Monica Beach

Some say this is among the most beautiful beaches in the world. I don’t know if this is true, but surely this is one of the most famous and photographed on the West Coast: Santa Monica Beach is the classic wide beach that stretches along the length of the city of the same name. Surely the main attraction of this beach is the nearby Santa Monica Pier, which has an amusement park overlooking the ocean.

In addition to being a destination for continuous tourist pilgrimages, Santa Monica Beach in Los Angeles is known to be a meeting point for athletes of all kinds of sports. It is not by chance that a part of the beach is dedicated to those who want to show off their sculpted body or do gymnastics. I am referring to the famous Muscle Beach, the original one dating back to 1934, not to be confused with the homonymous gym beach in Venice Beach, which today is the biggest one.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach is the continuation of Santa Monica Beach. Known to be a filming location of Baywatch, together with Zuma Beach in Malibu, Venice is an ideal place to see a variety of extravagant characters that frequent the famous and colorful promenade of Venice (Venice Boardwalk). You can sit and watch people passing by. Among them are surfers, bikers, skaters, bodybuilders at Muscle Beach, but also artists in search of fame, magicians, singers, craftsmen, and so on!

Manhattan Beach

When I first visited Manhattan Beach, I was passing through just before leaving Los Angeles International Airport, which is no more than 20 minutes away.

Despite this, it remained an unforgettable moment for me. It was the first time I saw the Pacific Ocean. Manhattan Beach is a large expanse of sand in front of the quiet town of the same name, slightly elevated above sea level. People typically swim mainly around the Manhattan Beach Pier, which houses the Roundhouse Aquarium, a small free aquarium. South of the pier, Californian surfers ride the waves, while other people play beach volleyball on the beach and cycle along the promenade.

Hermosa Beach

For those who don’t feel like throwing themselves into the crowd in Venice or Santa Monica, Hermosa Beach may be the winning alternative. Some say the city’s beach is the birthplace of California’s surfing tradition, but this title is coveted by other coastal resorts. The pier at Hermosa Beach, which is decidedly scenic at sunset, is the hub of beach life, especially Pier Plaza, the starting point of Pier Avenue, which has shops and restaurants under the palm trees.

In Pier Plaza there is also a statue of a surfer, demonstrating the significance of this sport in this area. The beach is full of beach volleyball courts and paved walkways where people can take walks and ride bicycles.

Redondo Beach

In Redondo Beach, you’ll find a city beach frequented by surfers, similar to those illustrated so far. Here, just like in Manhattan Beach, the houses and buildings are elevated above the beach, so you have to use ramps to get down. You should stop by the fish market and/or eat at one of the restaurants on the Redondo Beach Pier, which are very characteristic. I highly recommend Tony’s on the Pier.

If you want to have a slightly different experience, I suggest that you go to Portofino Way, in Seaside Lagoon, an artificial salt pool made from the sea, suitable for families with children. You must pay admission to access Seaside Lagoon.

Long Beach

The beach at Long Beach, beyond the port area, is one of the few beaches in Los Angeles that are not crowded surfers, since the breakwaters defend the beach from the ocean waves.

Here, if the water does not seem too cold to you, you can go for a swim, but if you do, do not forget to ask the lifeguards for safety information. At the western end, there is Alamitos Beach, a wide beach that is a paradise for beach volleyball players and bikers riding along the coast. In general, in Long Beach, including Junipero Beach, there are many young people, so you’ll find a very lively and bubbly atmosphere.

Secluded Beaches in Los Angeles

Rancho Palos Verdes

Palos Verdes Peninsula offers a completely different view from the coastal cities in the Los Angeles area. Almost all of this coastline has cliffs plunging straight into the ocean. There are many cities and towns on the hills above the water, where there are villas with a view of the ocean, exclusive resorts with countless golf courses, but also fascinating nature reserves, trails, lighthouses, and observation points.

On the coast below, there are a few beaches and coves between the resorts of Rancho Palos Verdes (which has a scenic drive) and San Pedro. It’s well worth the effort to reach them to see the ocean from a completely different perspective.

Pelican Cove Beach

Pelican Cove Beach (31300 Palos Verdes Dr), located below a lighthouse at Point Vicente, is a cove with a pebble beach where you can spot whales during the migration season. This area is ideal for scuba diving. To get there, follow a short trail that descends from road level Palos Verdes Drive. There is free parking immediately above the entrance of the trail.

Terranea Beach

This beach is also in Rancho Palos Verdes, a few minutes from Pelican Cove Beach. It is located in an area largely occupied by the exclusive Terranea Resort. Fortunately, access to the beach is free and the trail to the beach starts right from the Pelican Cove Beach parking lot and passes underneath the resort. The promenade is pleasant and scenic. There is also an easier way to get to the beach. Park your car in the parking lot on Terranea Way and go down the cove via a short path. When you get to the beach (mix of sand and rocks) – besides enjoying the beautiful ocean panorama – you can explore an easily accessible cave on the left side of the beach.

Abalone Cove Beach

Located in the heart of a protected nature reserve called Abalone Cove Shoreline Park (5970 Palos Verdes Dr), this beautiful pebble beach can be reached via a path from the parking lot, which happens to be the only paid parking lot available on the road (check for the time that the parking lot closes!). This beach – as well as the adjacent Sacred Cove – is very interesting because there are stunning caves and tide pools that children typically enjoy exploring.

Rancho Palos Verdes Beach

Next to the private beach of the Portuguese Bend Beach Club, there is Rancho Palos Verdes Beach, a remote beach where, in addition to rocks and natural pools, there is also some nice “rock art”. It can be reached by taking a trail that branches off from the trails in Founder Park, between the golf courses of the Trump National Golf Club. There is a convenient option to park at the golf course.

San Pedro

White Point Park

We are in San Pedro. Below the beautiful viewpoint of Paseo del Mar (1801 W Paseo del Mar), you will find White Point Park. The beach is very easily accessible and ideal for families. Here children can swim and play in the natural tide pools of the two small coves protected by the rocks. There is paid parking available.

Sunken City: Not far from Long Beach, adjacent to Point Fermin Park in San Pedro (807 W Paseo Del Mar), there is a unique place called Sunken City. It is not a normal beach. Rather, here there are the remains of a town on a cliff that has tragically collapsed into the sea. The particularity of Sunken City is the pervasive graffiti that decorate (I don’t feel like saying “disfigure” given their symbolic meaning!) the rocks and trees in the area. However, at the moment, Sunken City, “officially” cannot be visited. The area is closed off with a fence all along the perimeter, although many people try to climb over it.

Cabrillo Beach

The busiest beach in San Pedro is Cabrillo Beach (3800 Stephen M White Dr). Small and sandy, it is located near Cabrillo and is perfect for those looking for a comfortable and quiet beach in the Los Angeles area (although on clear days it can be quite crowded). There are actually two beaches in Cabrillo and they have picnic tables, a garden, beach volleyball courts, and an aquarium. There is paid parking next to the beach.


Malibu‘s beaches are so beautiful and famous that they deserve a separate article, but I want to point out at least two hidden gems in this section of the coast north of Los Angeles along the Pacific Coast Highway. For now, instead of telling you about the famous Zuma Beach and Surfrider Beach, I will talk about two little hidden treasures:

El Matador State Beach

This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Los Angeles. The spectacular imposing rocky formations on the sandy beach of El Matador seem like monuments and reminded me of the beautiful (a personal favorite) Costa de Almería, in southeast Spain. You’ll find the parking lot directly along the Pacific Coast Highway, 3.4 miles after Leo Carrillo State Park. You must pay to park and after leaving your car, you’ll have to go down a path and reach the stairs to the beach.

Pirate’s Cove Beach

While El Matador is on the outskirts of Malibu, the incredible Pirate’s Cove Beach is closer to the city, yet it is out of sight like a pirate’s hideout. The beach is hidden beneath the top of Point Dume, a vista point over the ocean. To get there, you must pass behind the “stone wall” that borders the nearby Westward Beach (if there’s no high tide or rough waves, it’s easy to get there). From this point, there is a path (steep and unprotected!) that leads to the panoramic viewpoint just mentioned. The parking lot (paid parking) is at 7103 Westward Beach Rd.