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Beach Hopping in Los Angeles

Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica

Los Angeles isn't just red carpets and traffic jams. Crazy, I know. While it can take some navigating to get to L.A.'s beaches, once there, visitors are rewarded with those expanses of sand and water that Southern California is known for. Today we feature a few of the best beaches to visit in and around Los Angeles. 

1. Malibu. Malibu isn't exactly the easiest beach to access in Los Angeles, as it's located in the northwest corner, requiring a much longer drive then many nearby beaches. However, with a plethora of nearby activities, Malibu makes for a great day or weekend trip. If it's surfing you're after, there are few beaches in Southern California that rival Malibu. Off the beaches are plenty of iconic California things to do, including a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and even numerous wineries. 

2. Santa Monica. Santa Monica is unique because it's somewhat of a metro in and of itself. While you've got the classic Southern California beach vibe, you've got an urban scene just blocks off the beach with the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place, which are within walking distance of one another and feature a variety of shopping, entertainment, food, and nightlife options. Of course no visit is complete without a visit to the Santa Monica Pier. Once evening arrives, find a spot on the beach or just above Highway 1 for a beautiful view of the sunset.

3. Venice. Right next to Santa Monica is a California icon, Venice. However, you may be in for a surprise if you're expecting the same vibe as Santa Monica, since Venice is one of the most eclectic parts of L.A. From sand sculptors to body builders to unique artists to street performers, this is people watching at its best. Consider renting a bike so you can see both Santa Monica and Venice all in one day. 

4. Manhattan Beach. You may do a double take when you first step foot into the town of Manhattan Beach, wondering if you are in fact in Los Angeles. The town has a small-town feel that you wouldn't expect from L.A., fitted with small cafes, open-air bars and restaurants, and boutique ice cream shops, including Manhattan Beach Creamery, which features mouth-watering treats, many of which are dipped in Belgian chocolate. On the beach you'll find everything from surfers to volleyball courts to a boardwalk for walkers and bicyclists. If you've got a fishing rod, find a spot on the Manhattan Beach Pier while taking in the scene of sunbathers and surfers below.

5. Hermosa Beach. Just south of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa has much of the same vibe as many of L.A.'s beaches. During the daytime it features the classic Southern California beach activities, including sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. Surfing has a rich history at Hermosa Beach, which is honored with the Surfer’s Walk of Fame on the Hermosa Beach Pier. However, things really liven up once the sun goes down as people head to the local restaurants and bars, where there's always something going on late into the night.