Take a hiatus from Hollywood and soak up SoCal sunshine. With more beautiful beaches than you can shake a selfie stick at, visitors to the Golden Coast are truly spoilt for choice.
Each stretch of sand has a very distinct vibe – we share our favourites.
1 Topanga Beach, Malibu
Roll down your windows, turn up the Beach Boys and drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to Topanga – the closest Malibu beach to Los Angeles. It’s right breaking surf is a favourite with locals who often start their day with a morning surf before work.
The beach is adjacent to the expansive Topanga State Park with sea-view hiking trails that are begging to be explored. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, reserve a window table at Dukes – a fantastic Hawaiian restaurant with spectacular sea-views. ]
As you order, be sure to look out for pelicans skimming the ocean’s surface and pods of bottlenose dolphins that regularly frequent the area.
2 Santa Monica State Beach
Soak up the sun and follow in the footsteps of Forest Gump by making a beeline for Santa Monica. The beaches popularity is more than warranted – it’s clean, expansive and the perfect place to gaze out at the Pacific.
If you’re feeling peckish, Shutters on the Beach offers a fantastic brunch menu with your feet practically in the sand. Use the Uber-owned ‘Lime’ app to rent an electric scooter and whizz down the boardwalk to Muscle Beach to try and spot Arnie. You’ll be back.
3 Huntington Beach
Synonymous with the Californian lifestyle, Huntington Beach is famous for its 8.5 miles of beautiful sand, summers of sunshine and brilliant waves. Known as Surf City USA, the beach hosts the Vans US Open of Surfing with a 9-day celebration surf culture each July.
As the evening draws in, grab your Smores kit and gather round one of the many fire pits to watch the sunset over the Pacific.
4 Playa Del Rey Beach
Remarkably quiet and quaint for LA, Playa Del Rey Beach is often overlooked in favour of its more touristy neighbours. But for a relaxing experience, there is nowhere that beats its wide, low-key beach that is perfect for sunning with a good book.
With weather this good and sand this soft, it would also be a shame not to grab some friends for a game of beach volleyball on the free courts. When happy hour finally arrives, head to the excellent Bacari PDR for a craft cocktail on its breezy outdoor patio.
5 Newport Beach
Although technically just outside of LA, you can’t miss the chance to live out your Orange County fantasy along this pristine 10-mile long beach. Spend the day sunbathing and playing catch-up to the impeccably bronzed locals before cooling off at Banzai Bowl, a local favorite for the best acai bowls in town.
Whale watching tours leave from nearby Balboa Pier and The Wedge offers world-famous body boarding opportunities. The whole area has a unique feel – very upmarket but down-to-earth at the same time. It’s a place where you’ll see long-boarders and Lamborghinis sharing the same street and everyone is far too relaxed to give it a second thought.
Words by Barton Mathews, freelance contributor