California Dreamin' – LA's top beaches

Laguna Beach, so cool they made a TV show about it.
Laguna Beach, so cool they made a TV show about it. Photo: Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

Los Angeles boasts some fabulous weather, so it's little wonder that its equally fabulous people, the Angelenos, are drawn outdoors. Here is our selection of LA's best beaches so you can work on that California tan, spot some California girls, do some California surfing or simply lie on a towel and do some California dreaming...

 Laid-back Venice Beach. Photo: nito/Shutterstock

Malibu’s Surfrider Beach has some of the best surfing around. Santa Monica Beach and Venice Beach are two of the most popular, with a wealth of activities on the boardwalk and pleasure pier.

South Bay beaches – Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo – are where California’s beach culture started when George Freeth first caught the waves at Redondo Beach in 1907. The Beach Boys immortalized the surfer’s life here in song in the 1960s. 

Sunset over Manhattan Beach. Photo: Lucky-photographer/Shutterstock

Long Beach has an extensive 5.5 miles (9km) of beach, with numerous water sports and activities. 

Rainbow Harbor, Long Beach. Photo: Patricia Elaine Thomas/Shutterstock

Orange County has some of the area’s best beaches. 

The bright lights of Laguna Beach. Photo: Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

Bolsa Chica State Beach is a beautiful 6-mile (9.5km) stretch adjoining a wetlands reserve. Its gentle surf makes it good for families. Adjacent Huntington Beach is one of the world’s great surfing spots. Newport Beach and Balboa Beach, joined by a busy bike path, are the most popular spots on this part of the coast. 

Main Beach lies smack in the middle of town in Laguna Beach, and the wooden boardwalk rivals few others as a vantage spot.

Surfers on Huntington Beach. Photo: Marc Pagani Photography/Shutterstock

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