I know the unofficial "end of summer" is coming up with Labor Day, but technically, summer goes until Sept. 22 so hopefully you can get a few last beach days in this year. One of my favorite things about moving to Southern California is being able to go to the beach whenever I want!
It's true what they say, though, once you live near the beach, you don't go as often as you think. Luckily, my job is in Santa Monica just a few blocks from the beach so I can usually go walk along the Pier a couple times a week. Every weekend I try to go to the beach as well, but sometimes we have other plans, or I just feel like hanging at home and swimming.
If you'll be coming to Los Angeles though anytime soon (or even over Spring Break), these are some of our favorite beaches...
Dockweiler State Beach
This is where Ryan and I went to spend the 4th of July. Featuring three miles of coastline, Dockweiler State Beach is definitely one of the nicest beaches in the area and it's the only one where you're allowed to operate fire pits. If you want to have a picnic on the beach, this is definitely the place to do it! You will have to pay for parking here. It is possible to drive up into the adjacent town and parking off-street, but be prepared to walk 30 minutes to the beach if you do so.
Santa Monica Pier and Beach
As I mentioned, I work in Santa Monica just a few blocks from the beach and pier so I absolutely love walking the 10 minutes down there to people watch, soak in some sun, maybe dip a toe in the water. Santa Monica is definitely a tourist place though so keep in mind that it will probably be crowded (pretty much all year-round). In terms of parking, most tourists try to get beachside parking, but honestly, I think you'd be better off parking at the Civic Center. It's $14 a day M-F and then $5 a day on Sat. & Sun. and it's only a few blocks from the Pier.
Located a little south of Santa Monica, Venice Beach is also a popular tourist destination but the beach is usually a little less crowded. Venice has a nice boardwalk that features a ton of different shops, food places (Get a pineapple smoothie from Cairo Cowboy - trust me!), art installations, and just about every type of person you can imagine. There are a few parking lots for $10 a day but they fill up quickly. If you can get there early in the day, free off-street parking is your best bet.
I almost don't want to tell you about this one because it's kind of a hidden gem. If you keep going south down the coast, you'll hit Playa Del Rey Beach. It's just a small little area of the coast with no boardwalk or pier or anything, but it's great to relax and escape because there are so few people there. It's actually located right near LAX so you can watch the airplanes coming and going. For parking, there is a lot or two that hold like 20 cars, but you'll need to park off-street here.
What's your favorite beach (in LA or outside)? Tell me in the comments below!