Updated: May 2
With the longest coastline of any state in the U.S., California has a plethora of beaches. There are at least 15 beaches in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area alone; each with its own own personality. Popular California beach activities include swimming, surfing, volleyball, skating, boating and other water and outdoor sports. There’s plenty of fun to be had.
While there are many well-known tourist beaches like Santa Monica, Venice, and Huntington Beach, here are some local favorites that Angelinos love and you’ll enjoy, too.
El Matador Beach
About 8 miles north of Malibu is El Matador Beach. This beach is well-known for its beautiful sea stacks that sit between the Pacific Ocean and the shoreline. These arched rock formations make an amazingly scenic landscape background for professional or armature photographers looking for a beach photoshoot location. The arches also form caves which make them a great place to cool off from the sun while hanging out on the beach. There aren't restaurants or diners nearby so bring your cooler or tote for a seaside picnic.
El Matador Beach has a small pay-to-park lot at the top of the cliff, but there’s free parking along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Once parked, follow the trail and steps down the cliff to get to the beach.
Note: This is a steep decline, so prepare for the steep incline on the way back up.
Paradise Cove Beach
It’s hard to decide which is better, Paradise Cove Beach or the Paradise Cove Beach Café. The great thing is, you don’t have to choose. You can do both! From LA, take a scenic 17 mile drive north on the Pacific Coast Highway and you’ll find this gem on the left.
Paradise Cove Beach has a tropical vibe. It’s shore is lined with chaise lounges, double chaise lounges and tables with chairs and umbrellas that can be rented for the day. This beach is great for a family day out, girls trip celebration, small group gathering, or an ocean view date night. Paradise Cove also has a short fishing pier. You can also use it to just gaze out over the ocean and watch boats go by or surfers riding the waves.
The dining at Paradise Cove Café is delicious. There’s a variety of to notched selections from their breakfast, lunch, dinner, or cocktail and dessert menus. The helpings are plentiful and many dishes are sharable.
If you’re a fan of old beach movies, you may experience some nostalgia since Paradise Cove was a shooting location for some popular 50’s and 60’s TV shows and movies. Although this is a public beach, the Paradise Cove Café charges parking to those who choose to park in their lot. However, if you’re dining, parking is free for the first 4 hours.
Corona Del Mar State Beach
Although Corona Del Mar Beach is nestled inside of the Corona Del Mar neighborhood, this is a public beach. It’s also a family friendly beach. The break wall to the west protects it from hard ocean waves and makes this location a perfect beach for swimming. In addition, if you take a 15 minute stroll down the coast to Little Corona Beach, there are tide pools where you can find a variety of marine life including purple sea urchins, mussels, snails, hermit crabs, algae and more.
Walk into the neighborhood along Ocean Drive and enjoy a vista view of the oceanfront from Inspiration Point. If you hang around until the evening, you can watch the sunset or build a beach bonfire in one of their designated fire pits.
Corona Del Mar Beach has a pay-to-park lot, but you can park in the neighborhood for free if you can find a spot.
If you’re planning an upcoming vacation to Los Angeles, add one or more of these beautiful beaches to your itinerary and hang out with the locals. You won’t regret it.
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