Southern California is filled with dozens of state parks which preserve the history, culture, and beauty of the Southland. Many of our parks are facing closures due to budget woes but Californians love our coastline so our state beaches continue to thrive. LA County is home to six beautiful and diverse state beaches. Here is a snapshot of each one.
Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach
32630 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
This state beach is actually made up of three cliff-swaddled pocket beaches: El Matador, La Piedra, and El Pescador. The beaches, which are located about 22 miles Northwest of Santa Monica on Pacific Coast Highway, are spaced out about a mile apart. Each beach is accessible by a long staircase which leads down to a secluded beach. During the off-season, it is possible to have one of these stunning beaches all to yourself. They feature small tide pools, rock formations, caves, and strips of sand that can become noticeably smaller at high tide. Parking is in a small lot on the bluff. Portable restrooms are located at the trailhead.
Point Dume State Beach
29398 Cliffside Dr
Malibu, CA 90265
This 32-acre beach at the end of Westward Beach Road is popular with surfers, swimmer, scuba divers, and tide poolers year-round. During the winter months, whale watchers head to this prominent spot along California’s coast in hopes of catch a glimpse of a migrating gray whale. A trail through coastal bluff scrub leads to an ancient coastal bluff sand dune. Several TV shows and movies have been filmed here including Ironman and Modern Family. There is a pay parking lot at Westward Beach just off Highway 1 which fills up quickly on summer weekends and holidays. Point Dume State Beach is operated by Los Angeles County and does not accept the California State Park Annual Day Use Pass.
Malibu Lagoon State Beach
23200 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
Locals and old timers know this beach by its former name, Surfrider Beach. This beach is definitely one of the most popular surfing beaches in LA County, with its famous right break near the Malibu Pier. The beach is also where Malibu Creek meets the ocean, forming a lovely lagoon that is being restored. Tide pools form on the west side of Malibu Creek Bridge at low tide. The Adamson House, part of the state park, is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11AM to 2PM. Also onsite, the Malibu Lagoon Museum features exhibits that tell the history of the area including the Chumash tribe, ranching days, and surfing era. There is a small pay parking lot available as well as street parking.
Will Rogers State Beach
15616 Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
The world knows Will Rogers State Beach as the setting for the TV show “Baywatch” but locals know this beach for its surfing, volleyball, and bike path which extends nearly 20 miles to Torrance. Gymnastics equipment and a playground will keep the kiddos busy when they aren’t playing in the surf. This beach is known to be popular with the gay community. There is ample parking in the pay lot but Will Rogers SB is one of the few California State Parks that does not accept the Annual Day Use Pass.
Santa Monica State Beach
Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, CA 90401
There are few beaches in California more popular than Santa Monica. The Santa Monica Pier is visited by 3 million people every year, making it a hot spot for tourists and locals alike. On either side of the pier, wide expanses of sand greet sun worshipers ready to enjoy a classic Southern California beach. The two-mile stretch of beach features volleyball courts, basketball courts, a bike path, and exercise equipment. The people watching is always top notch.
Dockweiler State Beach
12000 Vista del Mar
Playa del Rey, CA 90293
This three-mile-long beach is located at the western end of Imperial Highway in Playa del Rey. It is home to Dockweiler Beach Hang Glider Flight Training Park, where gliders learn to launch from 25-foot-high dunes. A portion of this beach is in the direct flight path for LAX, one of the busiest airports in the world, making for a unique beach-going experience. Dockweiller State Beach is one of the few California State Parks that does not accept the Annual Day Use Pass.
Sharlene Earnshaw is the editor for Trekaroo, a website dedicated to helping families travel better.