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LA’s Top Beaches, Hidden Beaches And Swim Spots

Ben Hall

Los Angeles is undeniably an epicentre of variety, metropolitan happenings, and hustle, but the City of Angels is also home to an impressive lineup of idyllic beaches and swim spots, ideal for getting away from the crowds. Here’s our list of the best from A to Z to put on your list for your next visit.

Cabrillo Beach

A tranquil setting near San Pedro, this beach is ideal for families. It’s nestled on a narrow peninsula near Point Fermin Park and has two sides; one is outside the breakwater and exposed to the surf, while the other is open to the harbour. Choose either side and you’ll enjoy some adventure or some well-deserved relaxation; it’s also close to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

Dockweiler State Beach

This is a long, sandy beach just south of Los Angeles International Airport, and one of the most easily accessible beaches with plenty of parking. The beach doubles up as a hang gliding spot and is a nice swimming spot with soft sand, ideal for anyone looking to swim, have beachside picnic or barbecue, or go for a romantic walk.

El Matador State Beach

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more romantic beach than this in the greater Los Angeles area. Located approximately 17 kilometres northwest of Malibu, it’s a wonderfully secluded spot blessed with robust surf, sea stacks, and arches in the rocks. El Matador has a car park high on the bluff with picnic tables that look out over the Pacific Ocean, and you access the beach via a trail which on the face of the bluff and stairs.

Little Dume Beach 

A small east-facing cove near Point Dume in Malibu, this spot is popular with surfers when conditions are good, while doubling up as an enjoyable beach walk which takes you below steep bluffs and multi-million dollar mansions. Direct access to Little Dume is for nearby residents only, but the public section of the beach can be accessed from Paradise Cove Beach or from Big Dume Beach at Point Dume State Park. This is also the best place to park your car. 

Paradise Cove Beach

Also in Malibu, this is a tiny public-cum-private beach tucked beneath the cliffs, and mostly under the auspices of the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe. You can access the beach free of charge if you want to swim or surf, but many visitors rent out the private terraces, beach beds, and lounges to enjoy one of the most relaxing spots in Malibu. 

Rancho Palos Verdes Beach 

Located below the Trump National Golf Club and the Ocean Trails Reserve in Rancho Palos Verdes, hiking trails provide access to this lovely remote, rocky and oh-so romantic beach. It’s around two-and-a-half kilometres in length and best for leisurely walks while exploring tide pools at low tide, but the northern end below Founders Park is wider and sandier and better for swimming. There are public parking areas at the end of La Rotonda Drive and at the Trump golf clubhouse on Ocean Trails Drive. 

Rock Pool And Century Lake

Malibu Creek State Park is where you’ll find these two lovely spots which you can visit on an easy-to-moderate nine kilometre hike with lots of variety. At the Rock Pool, you can watch rock climbers attempt to scale the Planet of the Apes wall, where the movie of the same names was filmed, while at Century Lake, be sure to follow the path down to the water’s edge. This is an area where the hit TV Series M.A.S.H was filmed. 

Santa Monica State Beach

This is one of LA’s most iconic beaches, blessed with long, white sandy strips of beach, a pier, and it's always teeming with activity and people. From roller coaster rides and Segways, to pancakes and a cold beer, you can get almost anything you need on Santa Monica Beach. There is truly something for everyone, and for romantics there’s always sunset.

Venice Beach

This beach is the stuff of legends, the place to head for a long stretch of soft sand and plenty of activities. By day you can lie down on a blanket with a picnic and gaze out at the Pacific Ocean for miles, then stay late to enjoy the Venice Beach Boardwalk, where street performers busk, vendors sell souvenirs, muscle men lift weights, and subcultures congregate. It’s a lively spot for anyone who likes a bit of excitement.

Will Rogers State Beach

This beach is situated between Pacific Palisades and Topanga, which means it’s less crowded than nearby beaches despite its proximity to Santa Monica. It's also one of those long and wide beaches which has plenty of room for everyone, with the addition of clean bathrooms to change in and a number of beach volleyball courts if you fancy a game.



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