When one thinks of Los Angeles, they generally picture the famed Hollywood Sign as well as the beautiful beaches. From the South Bay to county line in Ventura, there are some of the most famous and picturesque beaches anywhere in the world. Which ones are the best? Surely, that’s open to everyone’s opinion, but we’ve narrowed down a consensus of the top ones.

El Matador State Beach

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Situated deep in Malibu, El Matador Beach is unique and unlike other beaches in the area because of its rocky terrain. It’s also a beach that’s not as easily accessible as the others. You’ll have to head down a steep path from PCH to get to it, and there are no lifeguards or other facilities like bathrooms. But, the secluded nature of this beach more than make up for the trek to get to it. El Matador Beach along with the nearby La Piedra and El Pescador beaches make up what’s known as the Robert H. Meyer Memorial Beaches.

Venice Beach

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Venice Beach certainly isn’t the cleanest of all the beaches when it comes to both the sand, or the water. But, Venice Beach is popular because of its attractions, bike path, and for being a notorious good place to surf. While the crowd can be a bit quirky, and you may be fighting crowds, if you’re a surfer, its a pretty good place to be.

Zuma Beach

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Zuma Beach is arguably one of the most populated and popular beaches in Malibu for families, boogie boarders and groups. Like all of the beaches in Southern California, it sits right on Pacific Coast Highway. Known for its long and wide beaches, it’s also excellent for surfing. With plenty of lifeguard stations, bathrooms, showers, bike paths and other amenities, its a favored beach for those looking to lay out, as well as for those looking to go boogie boarding and to surf. It’s known to be popular for tourists and visitors too because of its great parking and long stretch of beach. For those looking for a great hike, head to nearby Point Dume.

Santa Monica Beach

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With long stretches of sand, bike paths, snack bars and plenty of other entertainment to see, Santa Monica Beach is centrally located and easy to get to. Running the length of the city of Santa Monica, the beach can get crowded due to its proximity to Brentwood, Santa Monica, Venice and other surrounding communities, but it’s great for groups, families and especially tourists due to tight rope walkers and other entertainers.

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Leo Carillo State Beach

Situated in Malibu, Leo Carillo State Beach is a special beach in that it offers one mile of pristine coastline dotted with amazing tidepools, sea caves and more. Named after the famed actor and preservationist Leo Carillo, there are plenty of amenities including a visitors center, as well as places to picnic, campsites, and RV facilities. It’s a great beach to get away from it all!

El Porto Beach

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El Porto Beach sits on the Santa Monica Bay between the beaches of El Segundo and Manhattan Beach. Though it sits close to the Chevron oil refinery (you’ll notice the smoke stacks), the Hyperion sewage treatment plant, and you’ll hear the occasional plane from LAX fly by, the beach is popular for its great surfing because of the jetties, their volleyball courts, availability to rent skates and bicycles and snack bars.

Malibu Lagoon State Beach / Surfrider Beach

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Known as both Surfrider Beach and Malibu Lagoon Beach, this beach has a long-standing tradition for being an excellent place to surf throughout the day. It can get pretty crowded here, so if you’re looking to be alone, this may not be the best beach for you. You can find parking along PCH near the Malibu Country Mart, The Malibu Pier as well as at the Adamson House. Parking costs $12 or park on the street for free.

County Line Beach

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Want to get away from it all? Head to County Line Beach. As the northern most beach which borders Ventura County, you’ll find seclusion here and plenty of peace of mind. Far from the throngs of crowds you’ll find at Zuma Beach or other more known beaches, at County Line, it’s all about ease. It’s a great place to go surfing, or take a dip in the crystal clear water also. There is plenty of parking along PCH, too. Hungry? You’re close to the famed Neptune’s Net restaurant, which is a favorite for bikers and those seeking great seafood.

Other Top Beaches

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Los Angeles features plenty of other top beaches, including:

– Cabrillo Beach
– Hermosa Beach
– Manhattan Beach
– Paradise Cove Beach
– Point Dume State Beach and Preserve
– Venice Beach
– Abalone Cove Ecological Preserve

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