Year-round, tourists flock to Tinseltown to Instagram the Hollywood Sign, drop cash on Rodeo Drive wardrobes, and – of course – relax on the sand. As tourists cram themselves next to radio-blasting teens and screaming toddlers, YOU can be strolling across the sands and swimming in crystal-clear waters in absolute serenity. With this handy guide to Los Angeles County’s least-crowded beaches, you’ll never sacrifice towel space again!
El Matador Beach
Los Angeles’ best-kept beach secret, El Matador is a sparkling, rock-strewn, picturesque gem. Romance can blossom in a hidden cove, swimmers can take advantage of the crystal clear waters, and shutterbugs can snap photos of breathtaking sunrises and waves crashing upon its rocky shores. If you have young ones in tow, El Matador’s lack of lifeguards and gravelly paths aren’t the most kid-friendly, so take extra care.
Where to go: 32100 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
When to go: Who needs palm trees when there are secret coves to Instagram? You’ll want to take lots of photos, so come out early and off-season.
Leo Carrillo State Beach
Cavernous coves, an eclectic mix of ocean wildlife, and crystalline waters make Leo Carrillo State Beach one of the best beaches for scuba diving, swimming, and picnicking. Young children can splash around in the tide pools and gaze in wonder at the vast array of ocean life. Plus, if you have Fido in tow, there’s a dog park where visitors let their precious pooches play under the sun. Just be sure to pack a sturdy pair of closed shoes – rocks are fun, as long as they’re on the ground and not in your feet!
Where to go: 35000 W Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
When to go: Leo Carrillo State Beach is popular with families, so avoid major holidays and times when schools are closed if you don’t want to compete for the tide pools.
Will Rogers State Beach
You’d find it difficult to visit Will Rogers State Beach and simply chill. This sandy spot is more like a gym than a sanctuary for rest and relaxation. While the kiddos hit the volleyball nets, you can bodyboard along the crystal clear waves – and maybe even catch a dolphin or two in your midst. While the neighboring Santa Monica beach swells with tourists, you’ll enjoy the sun, sand, and surf in harmony.
Where to go: Pacific Coast Highway & Temescal Canyon Rd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
When to go: Midday during the week is your safest bet, when native Angelenos are at work or in school.
Way back when, you wished you were a lifeguard on Baywatch. A trip to Zuma Beach, one of the show’s filming locations, is the next best thing. Park your cooler, sprawl across the pristine sand, and watch dolphins and seals leap through the sparkling water. This sandy spot is almost too good to be true – almost.
Where to go: 30050 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
When to go: Beat the crowds and families with an early-morning visit.
As THE only Los Angeles County beach with fire pits, Dockweiler is a popular place for (you guessed it) bonfires. If you’re hitting the City of Angels with the whole family, take them here – it’s a convenient ride over from LAX – to roast marshmallows. And if you’re looking to embark on a quiet solo run or bike ride, take the 21-mile scenic bike path that runs through Dockweiler for a workout that doesn’t feel like work.
Where to go: 12001 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293
When to go: Weekday mornings and afternoons are typically quiet. Avoid evenings and weekends, when teens, tourists, and local families alike flock to the sandy shores.
These are five of Los Angeles‘ best-kept beach secrets. Are you planning to explore a few of these sandy shores in the near future? Let us know in the comments!