KidTripster Teen: My 5 favorite beaches in Los Angeles
As a sun-loving California girl, it’s important to know where all the best beaches are. I’ve gathered a list of some of my favorite spots for surfing, sunning, and just having a good time! So sunscreen up and hang loose, dudes!
Photo courtesy: Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
Located just off the Pacific Coast Highway lies Zuma Beach, one of my favorite sunbathing and strolling spots. It’s two miles of uninterrupted sand in beautiful Malibu. Right on the beach, you’ll find restrooms, rinse stations, and a snack bar. There also are plenty of lifeguard stations. The waters in this area tend to develop exceptionally strong rip currents, so this locale is better for walking and basking in the sun rather than swimming. Still it’s incredibly beautiful, and if you go at sunset, it makes for a fabulous family photo.
KidTripster Tip: There’s a parking lot for the beach where you’ll have to pay. If you don’t want to pay for parking, you can park just off the Pacific Coast Highway for free. Spaces may be harder to find, but keep your eyes open, and you may get lucky.
Photo courtesy: SouthernCaliforniaBeaches.org
2/Pirate's Cove Beach
Is your family the adventurous type? If so, Pirate’s Cove may be the beach for you. Hidden just behind the rocks where Point Dume State Beach ends, you’ll find the cove, a nature preserve. There are tidal pools to explore and super cool rocks and shells to collect. Be careful, because the water gets deep around high tide, and it’s not safe to go on the beach. Don’t leave yet though; look for the rugged path that you can take over to the marine park. There you can explore more and take pictures.
KidTripster Tip: I like to take a cooler along filled with food for the day. That way, I don’t have to leave to have lunch. Also, make sure to pack plenty of water. It can get quite hot in the mid-day, and dehydration really can wreck it for everyone.
Photo courtesy: SouthernCaliforniaBeaches.org
3/Dockweiler State Beach
Dockweiler State Beach is definitely one of the best beaches, simply because there’s a little bit of everything here. Situated in beautiful Playa Del Rey, it has a bike path running along the sand, beach rentals, bonfire pits (one of the only ones in Los Angeles), and tons of volleyball courts. This is also the place to be if you want to go swimming. The currents aren’t too strong, and there are lifeguards everywhere. All the same, rip currents can develop anywhere, so keep an eye on everyone, just to be safe. The coolest feature of this particular beach for me is its proximity to LAX. From the northernmost end of the beach, you can watch planes taking off from the runway, and sometimes it feels as if you could almost reach up and touch them. It’s awesome!
KidTripster Tip: Though spots on the beach won’t fill up quickly, parking spaces do. So the sooner you get there, the better. If you do arrive super early, there’s a great selection of cafes and breakfast spots in Playa Del Rey.
Photo courtesy: California State Parks
4/Santa Monica State Beach (North and South Beaches)
Santa Monica State Beach runs from the north side of Venice Beach in Venice to the south side of Will Rogers State Beach. North and South Beaches are totally wicked surfing spots; though if you’ve never done it before, I’d suggest taking a lesson first. The beaches are truly family-friendly with children’s play areas, sports courts, picnic tables, and of course, the Santa Monica Pier. There’s a small but entertaining amusement park and an arcade with tons of games. Be sure to check it out after your day on the beach. It’s loads of fun, and who knows, maybe you’ll even come home with a new pet. (That’s right, pet fish are awarded as prizes for some of the games!)
KidTripster Tip: Are you a daredevil? Check out one of my favorite thrills in L.A., the Trapeze School of New York, on Santa Monica Pier. Read more here.
KidTripster Tip: Want a great family photo op? Try hitting the pier at sunset; the Ferris wheel lights up and makes a really cool backdrop.
Photo courtesy: Santa Monica Pier
Not into sunbathing with the masses? Try Torrance Beach. Locals have nicknamed it R.A.T. (Redondo And Torrance Beach). Don’t worry; there are no real rats here! This beach has a nice, laid-back vibe. It’s on the southernmost point of Santa Monica Bay and is the last big beach that you’ll hit. It starts on the northern end of Miramar Park and stretches all the way to a smaller beach called Malaga Cove. It’s a great spot for working on your tan, swimming, and doing a little bit of surfing. You’ll find the parking lot along Paseo De La Playa from Calle Miramar to Via Riviera. After that, there are private homes and no public access to the beach. You’ll have to pay for parking, but if you want avoid the crowds, it’s kind of worth it.
Photo courtesy: Discover Torrance Visitors Bureau
Laine Messier is a homeschooled high school student, who currently splits her time between Los Angeles and New York City. She’s lucky enough to be able to explore the globe with her parents and is always on the lookout for unique and exciting experiences. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her surfing, jamming on her guitar or searching for new adventures with her trusty canine sidekick, Tess.