As summer finally approaches, we can’t help but daydream of our next outing on a beautiful beach. The Westside boasts some of the most spectacular beaches in California, each offering a distinctive experience. Here are a few of the best, depending on your preferences. Bookmark this guide for your next beach adventure! 

Zuma Beach 

Blue skies, a jewel-toned ocean, and a sun-kissed sandy beach beckon at Zuma Beach in Malibu. This quaint beach boasts long stretches of golden sand. Zuma Beach boasts 1.8 miles of beachfront, offering plenty of space for visitors to unwind and bask in the sun. If you’re lucky, you may spot pods of dolphins at Zuma Beach. It’s also an excellent surfing spot, with waves perfect for beginners and experienced surfers. Furthermore, the beach has a range of amenities, including clean restrooms, volleyball nets, food trucks, and beach wheelchairs for rent. In addition, if you enjoy hiking or rock climbing, Zuma Beach’s Point Dume is an excellent spot. Make your way to Zuma Beach, if you desire a relaxed beach day away from the crowds! 

Current Heal the Bay Beach Report Card Score: A+ 

Malibu Surfrider Beach 

The Malibu Surfrider Beach is part of Malibu Lagoon State Beach, which also comprises the Malibu Lagoon and the Malibu Pier. The surfing community frequents it for its long right-hand point break. The beach is in a 110-acre state park, comprising the Malibu Lagoon, a wildlife habitat with verdant gardens and charming walking paths. Surfrider Beach is the place to go for a picture-perfect Southern California surfing experience. This beach has plenty of parking spaces, restrooms, and picnic amenities. While this beach has some of the best surfing and swimming conditions in Los Angeles, swimming areas are limited. If you’re looking to surf, you should definitely hit up Malibu Surfrider Beach!

Current Heal the Bay Beach Report Card Score: A+ 

Ocean Park Beach

Ocean Park Beach is a well-known beach located in the southwest corner of Santa Monica. It’s popular for its wide, sandy beach that attracts sunbathers and volleyball players. The beach is flanked by a beachside path ideal for running, walking, skating, and biking. The beach is part of Ocean Park, a neighborhood with a vibrant and welcoming vibe. The area boasts contemporary apartments and a range of restaurants and retail shops on Main Street. This beach is my top choice when Santa Monica Beach or Venice Beach is too crowded! 

Current Heal the Bay Beach Report Card Score: A+

El Matador State Beach

El Matador State Beach is one of the most picturesque beaches in Malibu. It’s part of a collection of three beaches comprising the Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach. El Matador State Beach is home to striking cliffs, rock formations, and tide pools. The beach is a well-loved spot for swimming, sunbathing, and photography. The tide pools house a variety of marine life, such as colorful fish, crabs, and sea stars. El Matador State Beach is a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the California coast. However, the beach can get crowded, particularly on weekends and holidays. The parking lot is also compact and fills up quickly, so it’s best to get there early if you want a spot.

Current Heal the Bay Beach Report Card Score: A+

Venice Beach 

Venice Beach is known for its bohemian spirit and lively ambiance. The focal point of Venice Beach is its stunning beach and Ocean Front Walk, a two-and-a-half-mile pedestrian promenade thriving with activity. In addition to relaxing on the beach, swimming, and surfing, visitors can stroll along the boardwalk, where they will be greeted by street vendors, dancers, artists, retail boutiques, and inviting eateries. Moreover, Venice Beach is also an iconic skateboarding destination. The Venice Beach Skatepark welcomes skaters of all levels, and the space has a long skateboarding history. While Venice Beach may not be the cleanest beach in Los Angeles, it’s definitely the most character-filled one. Venice Beach is great for when you have visitors in town who would like to people-watch.

Current Heal the Bay Beach Report Card Score: A

Heal the Bays Beach Report Card is the only comprehensive analysis of coastline water quality on the West Coast.

Photo of El Matador Beach courtesy of “California Beaches.”

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