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  • Writer's pictureJustin Shaul

The Best Beaches Within 1 Hour of Los Angeles

Los Angeles is known for its palm trees, celebrities, and golden beaches. However, many of the famous beaches tourists visit have become overcrowded and polluted. So forget Santa Monica and Venice, here are an Angeleno’s guide to the 8 best beaches to visit on your LA holiday.

#8 Outer Cabrillo Beach, San Pedro

Courtesy of: The Outdoor Project

Not to be confused with the infamous Inner Cabrillo Beach, Outer Cabrillo Beach offers some of the cleanest ocean water in Southern California. Though, the cold temperatures of the water and strong winds are what brings its rating down to #8. You can swim, explore the nearby tidepools, or have a bonfire in one of the fire pits on the north end of the beach. I also must add that this beach is a popular filming location for TV shows and movies such as CSI, The Fosters, Criminal Minds, 50 First Dates, and Faceoff. So if you’re a tourist hoping to see a real life film set, it's possible a trip to Cabrillo Beach might satisfy your LA bucket list.

#7 Hermosa Beach

Courtesy of: Google Images

Heavily compared to it’s almost identical counterpart Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach receives a lower ranking due to its atmosphere. While it does offer the same warm water, luxurious sand, and proximity to restaurants as Manhattan Beach, this beach ranks low due to the atmosphere. Some trash can be found within the sand and a lot of homeless people like to hang out around in the area. However, this should not deter you from visiting, as homeless people and trash are found in much higher quantities in other LA beaches such as Santa Monica.

#6 Torrance Beach, Torrance

I may be a bit biassed as a native to the South Bay that spent many summers frequenting Torrance Beach, but it’s easily one of the best beaches near LA. It’s very family friendly, with lifeguards everywhere, a delicious snack shack, and small waves. I must admit this beach is not the cleanest due to the storm drains, but still much cleaner than Venice, Santa Monica, or El Segundo, just to name a few. That being said, do not enter the water if it’s raining, or has rained within the past 3 days. On a sunny day, the water is blue and the underwater visibility is insane. There aren’t many crowds the further you get from the centre of the beach, so its perfect if you want to get away from the crowds, but don’t want to go to a secluded beach. I recommend visiting during the summer, grabbing a coconut from the snack shack, and drinking your coconut while floating past the surf. Enjoy!

#5 Abalone Cove, Rancho Palos Verdes

Courtesy of: Google Images

The low population of people that frequent this beach is perfect if you’re looking to spend some time alone with the sea. While this is for the most part a rocky beach, the scenery and secluded-ness are what draw locals back down the 10 minute hike from the parking lot. The currents here can be pretty strong, so only enter the water if you’re an experienced ocean swimmer. Surfing is not recommended here due to underwater rocks as well.

#4 Sunset Beach, Huntington

Courtesy of: Google Images

Nestled right in between Bolsa Chica and Seal Beach, Sunset Beach is the perfect beach if you’re a beginner to surfing. The size of this beach ensures that patrons on the sand are not overcrowded and those in the water have enough space. Not a lot of people know about this beach too, so here you will meet a lot of people from the area. It is additionally located only a 15 minutes drive south to the iconic Huntington Beach pier and 15 minutes drive north to 2nd & PCH in Long Beach and relatively close to amusement parks including Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm. While in the water, you can see the Palos Verdes Hill, the Long Beach skyline, and even the Port of Los Angeles! Watch out though, this beach is home to a lot of sea life including dolphins, seals, stingrays and more. So if you do visit Sunset, remember to do your stingray shuffles!

#3 Manhattan Beach

Courtesy of: Trip Advisor

20 minutes south on PCH from LAX lies Manhattan Beach. Famous for its beach volleyball scene and incredible pier, Manhattan Beach is best if you want to remain close-ish (is anywhere close in LA?) to the main hotspots of LA but still want to escape the crowds. You may even spot a few famous faces as many celebrities have made Manhattan Beach their home. The world renowned sand of this beach was also imported to Hawaii to help maintain the famous Waikiki Beach. Manhattan is great for surfing, swimming, tanning, beach sport, Bicycling, and even a cheeky bite to eat at the nearby restaurants.

#2 Treasure Island Beach, Laguna Beach

Courtesy of: Google Images

Treasure Island Beach is one of the best beaches Laguna Beach has to offer. With clean crystal clear water and white sand, you will never want to leave. The rock formations towards the north end of the beach give it the appearance of Cabo at a glance. It’s also located just minutes from downtown Laguna Beach, where you can grab a bite to eat, browse art galleries, or go shopping at numerous local businesses. Like Sunset Beach, Treasure Island is home to an abundance of Flora and Fauna, so watch out for those stingrays!

#1 Crescent Bay, Laguna Beach

Courtesy of: Google Images

If you go to crescent bay and squint, you may as well be in Hawaii. My all time favourite beach in SoCal, crescent bay has smooth white sand, clear blue water, secluded-ness, proximity to downtown Laguna Beach, the list goes on. This beach isn’t very popular (I’m going to make a lot of people mad by exposing it, Sorry!) so you won’t have to worry about the crowds, trash, or parking difficulties you’ll find at generic LA beaches. That being said, if you do choose to visit, please practice proper beach etiquette and leave the area better than how you found it so the people that love it can continue to love it.



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