No, dear tourists. It’s nothing like the OC.
It’s finally summer once again, even if that hardly means anything to us out here in Southern California. Our weather ranges from Spring to Summer to warmer Summer and then back to Spring. All the same, the beach starts to sing its siren song a little louder to us living further inland in these months. Unless you want to be the only one still looking like Nosferatu come September, you better start planning on how to get some sun soon.
Here’s a quick rundown of a few of our favorite LA beaches and what you can expect before making your plans to visit.
If you’ve ended up at Manhattan Beach it’s probably because you were under the impression that no one goes to Manhattan Beach, who would go to the beach so close to LAX, right? WRONG. You are wrong. Manhattan Beach is usually flooded with people unless you’re smart enough to finagle your days off to fall on Mondays and Tuesdays…and even then you’re barely safe. But don’t get me wrong, Manhattan is a gorgeous and expansive beach and not nearly as crowded as some. If you get there early enough (9AM) to score an awesome parking spot, you can probably stake out your own little square of paradise free of sand kicking children. Pull a Colombus and claim the beach as your own, stake out your space with a minimum of ten full sized beach towels and lay like a starfish in the dead center of them. Even if it is a little crowded, this is the perfect beach to chill out and soak up some sun.
Pros: Beautiful and expansive beach, not too far of a trek from the East Side.
Cons: Often crowded and parking can be difficult, but that’s all of LA so just get your untanned buns on that beach already!
If you’re headed to Venice Beach, there are really only a few reasons to do this. You’re hoping to impress some babes with your long boarding skills on what is intended to be a bike path, planning on schooling some dudes in the skateboarding pit, you’re peddling healing crystals and your custom essential oil blends, or you’re a tourist hoping to score a Medical Marijuana Prescription to use for the duration of your time in LA. Or, you’re showing up just to watch all of this transpire. There is no doubt that Venice is the headquarters of weird, making it the most ideal place to people watch in pretty much all of LA. Living in LA means you always have a influx of visitors during the summer months, if you’ve never tested the prudishness of your friends with a quick stroll down the Venice boardwalk you’re missing out on some top notch hilarity. But who knows, they might hop right in on that drum circle that never seems to end.
Pros: Never ever a dull moment, plenty to do and see.
Cons: Not a beach for relaxation and laying out since it’s pretty loud and rowdy.
Oh, Santa Monica. To the rest of the world, or at least those who have never been to Los Angeles before, Santa Monica is probably the most iconic stretch of beach along the West Coast. The magnificent pier and twinkling ferris wheel, the beautiful looming cliffside sprinkled with houses costing about a gazillion dollars, and the famous Pacific Coast Highway zooming with top down convertibles and swishes of blonde hair blowing in the salty wind. To any Angeleno living outside of the bubble of Santa Monica, this beach to us is nothing but hoards of tourists and day parking rates of like what…$187? We end up here out of obligation to bring our parents and visiting friends, you know – the ones who already knew enough about Venice to not be tricked by you. But as soon as we get an ice cream cone in hand and take in the beautiful scenery around us, we remember in an instant why the West Coast is truly the Best Coast. You’re likely to see at least a few photoshoots happening around you, even if they are just with selfie sticks for Instagram.
Pros: It’s dang beautiful and truly an iconic piece of Los Angeles.
Cons: Difficult to get to and always packed, not the best beach for relaxing. Find some reasonable day rate in town and be prepared to walk to the pier, a little exercise will do you some good.
Rosie’s Dog Beach
If Heaven is real, there is a generous portion of it that looks a lot like Rosie’s Dog Beach. It takes a lot of convincing to make the journey all the way down to Long Beach, pretty much the furthest beach you can travel to and still be considered within LA County. But the hoards of joyous woofers romping along the small stretch of beach could melt even the most city hardened heart. This is a spot where you come to get some sun and an active workout, even without a pup of your own. If you think you’re going to lounge and enjoy some sun at Rosie’s you’ve got a lot of sand and wet noses about to ruin that plan, dogs lack any sense of personal space in case you didn’t know. Just a tip for the ladies, it’s best to avoid those cute little bandeau swimsuit tops here – perhaps opt for a sports bra or tank instead. All it takes is an enthusiastic greeting from a 80lbs black lab before you’re flashing your bits for everyone to see, take it from personal experience. Bring a box of Milkbones and a tube of tennis balls and everyone is going to freaking LOVE YOU!
Pros: It’s a dog beach. Come on. (Also the parking is usually pretty great.)
Cons: There are none. IT IS A DOG BEACH.
Daycation in Malibu? Look at you, bougie! On most days it can be kind of a stretch to make the journey all the way out to Malibu, it’s not exactly a hop, skip, and a jump from LA proper. But going the extra mile rarely means it will be crowded, and that’s certainly the case for most of the public beaches in Malibu. There are several choice spots, but the easiest to access and largest swatch of open sand would be Zuma. The most pristine white sand and crystal blue waters with the cliffs of Malibu in the distance make the beach one of the most visually enjoyable. There is plenty to do with sand volleyball courts, bigger waves than most LA beaches, and plenty of space to enjoy it all or be a little more secluded in your own space. There are usually food trucks and stands open on the weekends, too. This is what The O.C. convinced us all as kids was to be expected of life in Southern California. Coat yourself in some Coppertone, you’re truly in paradise. (Plus there are like 12 places to drink amazing wines at sunset when you eventually tire of staring at the gorgeous ocean, if that’s possible.)
If you’re lucky enough to live in or visit Los Angeles, it would be a tragedy not to take in some of that Pacific coastline beauty this summer. The ocean has long been regarded as a natural healer, beneficial to the humans who wade in its salt water in a multitude of ways. If the best reason you can come up with to visit one of LA’s lovely beaches is a mental health day, brace the cold waters and get out there! Nothing like a few boozy cocktails, the rush of waves coming over you, and the natural exfoliation of sand to feel brand new. Let us know if you have some favorite spots that the Saucey team needs to hit up this summer and happy beaching!