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Los Angeles Beaches

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The Lists: Best Los Angeles Beaches by Type

These lists give you a different way of looking for the best beach for what you want to do. It also includes a few beaches that have enough negatives to keep them out of the top ten but that are nevertheless good for specific activities.

Best for Surfing

Locals love Zuma Beach north of Malibu for its good waves and clean water. You'll find lots of surfing buddies in Manhattan Beach

Best for People-Watching

Venice Beach Los Angeles' quirkiest beach can be its most interesting, attracting a cast of characters fit for any Hollywood movie

Best for Walking

The long, paved walking path with Santa Monica Bay views makes Manhattan Beach our favorite place to take a walk

Best for the Beach Experience

Paradise Cove is a small, private beach that offers a charming, old-fashioned beach experience and a beachside restaurant

Best for Beach Volleyball

Manhattan Beach is the birthplace of beach volleyball and home of the world's first beach volleyball tournament. Up toward Malibu, Will Rogers State Park is often less crowded.

Best for a Bonfire

Dockweiler Beach is the only Los Angeles beach where you can have bonfire.

Best for Tide Pools

Leo Carrillo State Park and Malibu Lagoon State Beach - both in Malibu - and Abalone Cove in Palos Verdes offer great tide pools to check out at low tide.

Best for Romantic Walks

A secluded, little pocket beach north of Malibu, El Matador Beach is a great place to watch the sunset with your sweetie

Best for Families

Redondo Beach offers lots of sand to play on, a pier full of amusements and a long, paved path for biking or skating making it a place you can take the kids to and let them run until they're exhausted

Best for Amusements

Santa Monica Beach is home of a lively amusement park on the pier and summer concerts

Best for Ocean Swimming

Swimming in the ocean at a Los Angeles beach is a chilly dip any time of year. Water temperatures vary from 60°F in winter to 68°F in August, the warmest month. If you're determined to give it a try, The Nature Conservancy gave Will Rogers State Beach an "Ocean Oscar"in 2010 as the best California beach for ocean swimming, saying it's "one of the nicest beaches in California to take a dip in the ocean and bask in sunshine on a beach towel."

The Los Angeles Times rates Zuma Beach north of Malibu as a good place for swimmers, saying "frequent visitors are no longer surprised to find themselves swimming among dolphins" - and a quick search on YouTube will yield lots of videos to back them up.

Best for a Weekend Getaway

The beach, pier and marina in Redondo Beach serve up plenty to keep you busy all weekend

Los Angeles Beaches to Bare it All

Public nudity is illegal anywhere in Los Angeles County and there are no nude beaches here. The nearest option is San Onofre at the north edge of San Diego County, but law enforcement hassles have limited its use. Next closest nude beaches are San Diego's Blacks Beach or More Mesa Beach near Santa Barbara.

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