The beach scene in Los Angeles is perhaps one of the biggest attractions of the city, apart from Hollywood. Los Angeles boasts miles upon miles of scenic coastline, stretching from the South Bay up to Malibu. For sun worshippers and watersport enthusiasts – or normal people tired of being stuck indoors due to the pandemic – the beaches of LA are a little piece of paradise.
Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, and Playa Vista are some of the most popular beaches in the city. However, they are far from being the only ones. Depending on whether you want to spend your time on the beach kayaking and paddleboarding, or swimming and napping, there are many different options in LA for you to relax and have fun by the Pacific Ocean.
The Best Beaches in Los Angeles
In this section, we have put together a list of LA beaches – ranging from popular tourist spots to remote, palm-lined havens. No matter which beach activities you prefer, there is something in here for everyone. Adventurers and family vacationers can all find a beach in LA that will meet their needs and preferences.
- Paradise Cove Beach
Sheltered amidst the cliffs of Malibu, this is a tiny, luxurious beach frequented by surfers, stand-up paddleboarders, and kayakers. At the Paradise Cove Beach, you can rent out a private terrace or lounge for a slow, relaxing day off with your family and friends.
Alternatively, you can also go out into the water with your paddleboard or surfboard, if a bit of adventure is what you’re looking for. You can break up the day with a delicious, filling lunch at the Paradise Cove Beach Café, which provides many of the amenities at the beach.
- El Matador State Beach
This beach is perfect for nature lovers, as well as for couples looking for a private, romantic spot where they can plan a date. It is filled with rugged, rocky outcrops and can only be accessed via a steep, gravelly path.
While you will get all the privacy you need at the El Matador State Beach, you should keep in mind that it is quite remote, so it is a bit short on the usual beach amenities.
If you can stay late (or arrive early), then you should definitely check out the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets that El Matador is famous for. Every day at dawn and dusk, the sands and rocks are bathed in gold.
- Latigo Beach
Located in central Malibu, this beach is perfect for surfers, paddleboarders, and water-sport lovers of all kinds. If you hit the water on your paddleboard at Latigo Beach, you will be treated to a breathtaking view of the picturesque shoreline, dotted with quaint little beachfront cottages.
If they’re lucky, paddleboarders might also be able to approach various types of marine creatures, including seals. After you’ve had your fill of surfing and paddleboarding, you can stretch out on the warm, smooth sand and enjoy a few relaxing hours of sunbathing.
- Zuma Beach
Clean, spacious, and family-friendly, Zuma beach is perfect for large families or groups of friends visiting LA on vacation. A popular tourist spot, Zuma beach has plenty of onsite parking space and many lifeguards on duty throughout the day. It also has facilities such as swings, volleyball courts, bike paths, and showers, making it perfect for a family vacation.
Body surfers and stand-up paddleboarders also visit the Zuma beach in the hopes of catching some waves at the local, sandy beach break. It can get a bit crowded in the summers. But if you want to experience the quintessential California beach stereotype – complete with speedo-clad men and women in bikinis sunbathing on the sand – then Zuma might be your best option.
- Cabrillo Beach
This historic public beach located in San Pedro is large and pristine. As a result, it serves as a great picnic spot for many LA families. The calm, protected harbor is perfect for beginner paddleboarders, as well as for children who are just learning SUP.
Experienced paddlers can seek more challenging waves and swells outside the break wall. The afternoon winds can be quite strong, however, so you should exercise caution if you plan to go paddleboarding after the morning hours. Returning to the launch site could prove difficult, if you’re unprepared.
- El Porto Beach
This is the best beach in LA for water-sport lovers of all stripes. It offers consistent waves, exciting swells, and a soft, sandy beach break. In the winter, overhead waves provide a thrilling opportunity for experienced surfers and stand-up paddleboarders seeking adventure.
The beach also offers volleyball courts and bike paths, for those who would rather remain on the land. So you can take your family and friends to the El Porto beach, even if they aren’t all as enthusiastic about water sports as you are. The beach also offers free parking before 10AM.
If you’re tired of being stuck indoors after months of COVID-19 lockdowns, then why not head to one of the aforementioned LA beaches for a socially-distanced swim or paddleboarding session?
With the right equipment and gear, paddleboarding on the beach can be a safe and easy way to relax, unwind, exercise, and become close to nature. Just be sure to invest in a reliable SUP kit before you head out to your favorite beach.