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The best beaches in Los Angeles: Our ultimate list

No trip to the City of Angels is complete without a visit to one of the many beaches. From swimming to surfing and soaking up the sun (while wearing sunscreen and a hat), Los Angeles has a beach for everyone and pretty much every activity.

In order to help you get the most out of your Californian adventure, we took on the difficult task of narrowing down the list of our favorite sunny and sandy hangouts, based on what you’re into.

For longboarder and tide pool enthusiasts

Leo Carrillo State Park boasts beautiful cliffs and impressive rock formations that present the perfect photo-ops. Its beautiful scenery and the secluded location are basically screaming for a picnic on the beach, and the mellow waves are ideal for longboarding. Fans of tide pools, collecting rocks or hiking trails with a view should definitely check out this gem north of Malibu.

For hopeless romantics

If you head further north, just past Leo Carrillo Beach, El Matador is another spot popular with both photographers and people who like romantic strolls on the beach – which is basically everyone. You have to hike down a small and steep path, but you will be rewarded with pristine white sand, cliffs and impressive rock formations that look even better at sunset.

For surfer dudes and dudettes

The name gives it away – this is a paradise for surfers. Surfrider Beach, also known as Malibu Lagoon State Beach, is the quintessential spot for all things surfing. It’s one of the coolest places to hang out and watch the pros take advantage of the three point breaks or even catch a wave yourself. Surfrider Beach is great for long boards, short boards and all kinds of other boards. If you’re not into surfing, you can just eat like a surfer at the many delicious restaurants along the beach.

For rollerbladers and those that love a good fairground ride or two

Santa Monica State Beach is famous for its pier and attractions: From arcades to free concerts, fairground rides and a ferris wheel: You name a summer fun pier activity, Santa Monica probably has it. The beach itself is almost secondary, but it’s a classic nonetheless – including perfect conditions for swimming, surfing or rollerblading and biking along one of the most famous beach trails in the world.

For people-watchers

The legendary Venice Beach boardwalk is one of southern California’s most popular visitor attractions. It’s the perfect place to people-watch, buy souvenirs and applaud musicians and street performers who showcase their talent. If you want to eat your hot dog or ice cream while watching people break a sweat and work out, nearby Muscle Beach – the famed outdoor gym – is the place to go.

For volleyball fans and marine life lovers

Manhattan Beach is the mecca for beach volleyball fans and players, as the sport was invented here. If you prefer water activities, you can surf or boogie board while enjoying the perfect view of the Manhattan pier. And speaking of piers – this one is home to the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium, a free attraction that showcases all kinds of impressive marine life.

For dogs that like to surf

Want to teach your dog how to surf? There’s a beach for that. Huntington Dog Beach is the favorite spot of all the four-legged beach goers in L.A. The dogs can swim, surf and socialize, while everyone else enjoys loads of happy puppies having a blast. And yes, you read that right – dogs not only surf for fun in Los Angeles, they also participate in surfing competitions!

For everyone

If you can’t decide which beach you want to try first, we have the perfect activity for you: Rent a bike and ride the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, aka “The Strand”: A 35 km long paved bicycle path along the seaside that lets you check out all the beaches in one fell swoop. The great thing about biking is that you can stop and smell the ocean breeze any time – complete with swim breaks, surfing lessons and snacks.

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