Manhattan Beach Pier is a great beach for tourists because there are many activities right at hand. The beach is spacious and clean, with many beach volleyball courts. Manhattan Beach is host to the annual 6-Man Beach Volleyball Tournament and International Surfing competition in July. The area has an ambiance of a small beach community, with many different shops and restaurants just steps from the sand. I recommend trying Fishbar, a funky and reasonably priced seafood restaurant with delicious lobster rolls (be prepared for large American-sized portions). If you plan to spend the evening in this town be sure to stay and watch the sunset from the pier, and then head out to the many fun bars in the area if you’re over 21.
Although Fisherman’s Wharf does not have an actual beach, it is a great place to visit if you’re hoping to try some water sports. There are a few places that rent out kayaks and equipment for stand up paddle boarding. Go around the marina and check out the yachts. You may even get the chance to kayak alongside some seals!
This beach is popular with the tourist crowd, but it has reason to be. From the Venice Beach Boardwalk to the Santa Monica Pier, there is a lot going on, and a lot of people watching to be done. Walk along the quirky Venice beach boardwalk and be sure to visit the skate park, then head over to the Pier and ride the Ferris wheel for a great view of the California coast.
This is a perfect beach to go to with your family, especially if you’re with young children. This part of the beach is significantly less crowded than the aforementioned beach. The beach is clean and there are plenty of beach volleyball courts. Head up to Pacific Palisades, about a 5 minute drive, to pick up lunch and walk around the small town. Indulge in some frozen yogurt at Toppings as an after-beach-treat. With over 85 toppings to choose from it will not disappoint.
Although Point Dume is a bit difficult to get to as it is located deep in Malibu and you need to navigate some residential streets, this beach is not to be missed. Due to its somewhat obscure location, the beach is never crowded, and its scenic views make it a perfect getaway from congested L.A. The beach itself fills a little cove, providing a private and tranquil spot to relax on hot day. A trail that takes you up to the top of Point Dume offers spectacular view of Malibu, and on a clear day views of the Channel Islands. If you’re lucky, you may even catch Matthew Mcconaughey running by on one of his famous beach workouts. Be sure to stop at the Malibu Country Mart on your way to get some snacks: Malibu Kitchen has great sandwiches and John’s Garden has plenty of salads and healthy snacking options. Personally, this is my favorite beach in L.A.
Note: The parking can be tricky, but I have never had a problem finding a spot. If there are no places in the designated parking area, some residential streets offer parking.
If you can’t decide which beach is best for you, visit them all! A bike path goes from Will Rogers State Beach all the way to Manhattan Beach, and there are plenty of bike rental shops along the path.