Los Angeles is a massive metropolitan area with most visitors spending time around the coastal areas of L.A. Take a look through the tabs below to gain a better idea of the layout of the numerous coastal cities and suburbs and what is offered where.
The coastal side of Los Angeles is rightly famous for its beaches, both as surf spots and lounge spots. This long strip of coast is occupied by many small cities and suburbs, however, and each of them have their own personalities and their own draws.
Coastal Cities and Suburbs
Los Angeles would hardly be Los Angeles without Malibu. Among its famous beaches are the Surfrider Beach, Zuma Beach, Malibu State Beach and Topanga State Beach. Pepperdine University is a campus is not only prestigious, but beautiful and the Malibu Film Festival is often attended by celebrities.
Santa Monica is a little east of Malibu. The city was designed to be a retreat, and still is today. Keep an eye out for public art and check out artsy Bergamot Station. Shoppers should explore Third Street Promenade and the Santa Monica Pier and Beach are must-walks.
Venice Beach, just south of Santa Monica, indeed has canals, and Venice Beach is a great place to people watch. Shoppers with a taste for the avant garde should give the Abbot Kinney District a visit.
Marina del Rey is along the largest constructed small yacht harbor in the world. Ballona Freshwater Marsh, and the stylish Venice Pier are all a part of this seaside community, south of Venice, four miles south of LAX. Beach bums with kids should check out the very safe Marina Beach.
Manhattan Beach, first of California's three Beach Cities, is five miles south of LAX and home to the AVP Beach Volleyball Championship. However, the next city south is Hermosa Beach, which is the Beach Volleyball Capital of the World. Last is Redondo Beach, which, like its cousins, is all beach volleyball and surfing.
Torrance is a little inland from Redondo Beach. Torrance Beach is large and busy, but very clean. Madrona Marsh is a draw for nature lovers. Rancho Palos Verdes is a far-southern suburb of Los Angeles set along the grand bluffs of Palo Verdes Peninsula. The Point Vicente Lighthouse is an unmissable landmark.
Long Beach is the easternmost portion of coastal Los Angeles, bordering Orange County. The fascinating art deco style ocean liner, the RMS Queen Mary, acts as one of Long Beach's museums. Parks such as El Dorado Regional Park and the Long Beach Greenbelt keep this a very green city.
Off shore, south-southwest of Los Angeles, is Catalina Island, a rocky island with plants and animals found nowhere else (among them the Catalina manzanita and the Santa Catalina Island Deer Mouse). Two Harbors and Avalon are the two communities on the island, but most people come to hike or bike the island or scuba dive its reefs.
Other Things to Know
California Highway 1 will take you from Malibu to Long Beach and stay, mostly, close to the coast, but to explore Rancho Palos Verdes, you'll need to leave the highway and take Palos Verdes Drive. To reach Catalina Island, take a ferry from Long Beach, San Pedro Island or Marina del Rey. You can also reach the island from Orange County, via Dana Point and Newport Beach ferries.