Finding the right Los Angeles beach to catch some waves can be a challenge even for natives — the coastline from Dana Point to Santa Monica is 75 miles long! While overwhelming at first, this famous stretch of coast is home to breaks and beaches for surfers of all experience levels. Here’s our quick and easy guide to the top five surfing beaches near Los Angeles:
Sunset Point Beach
´This long, flat beach just north of Santa Monica marks the end of Route 66 and is home to gentle waves, making it perfect for beginners and paddleboarders. Anyone taking their first steps onto a longboard will find nice, easy surfing thanks to the long right hand rolls along a stretch of white sand. After you’ve caught some waves, head over to Gladstones, where you can enjoy seafood and a classic cocktail while watching the California sunset.
If you’re feeling more confident about your surfing skills, check out the El Porto section of Manhattan Beach. This beach takes its name from the nearby seaside community and features consistent swells throughout the year. Because the beach gets crowded during the summer, El Porto is the perfect place to learn surfing etiquette, which is important if you want to share the waves. The swells get larger in the fall and winter, and the beach’s proximity to LAX makes it great for a quick ride during a layover.
Though mostly known for luxury condos and its weightlifting competition, Venice Beach is also a great place to show off your skills on a surfboard. In between the tourists with rented boards you will find consistent swells, and the more adventurous surfers will love carving along the famous Venice Breakwater between the Santa Monica and Venice Piers. When you’re ready to come out of the water, the Venice Beach Boardwalk, which is home to everything from tattoo parlors to hot dog stands to Peruvian take-out.
Another beach known for its waterfront condos, Hermosa boasts two miles of pristine sand with a walkway that is perfect for biking and jogging. While the water is cold enough that you’ll want a wetsuit, the waves are some of the best in the area, especially during the winter and low tide. The break is such that waves will sometimes form incredible barrels during very large swells. Make sure to get there early to snag the best spot in line, then stop by Martha’s 22nd Street Grill on your way home for a breakfast of french toast or a omelette.
Last but not least is Surfrider Beach in Malibu, which was the filming location for many of the classic surf films of the 1950s. The waters off this beach may get crowded, but they have something for surfers of every comfort level. This iconic stretch of sand is where Los Angeles surfing was born, and to this day it’s where you go when you’re ready to be considered part of the surfing family.