Beach or mountains? Ah, yes. The age old question. My answer changes daily depending on my mood - do I want to hike, swim or just bask in the beach chair life with a piña colada in hand? When those are your day's biggest concerns, you're doing it right. There's no better place to beach hop than the City of Angels where the coast is dotted with sun, sand and an endless summer.
Cave Exploring on El Matador Beach
You'll be hard pressed to find a more romantic beach in the LA area than El Matador in Malibu. The sunsets here? Forget about it. Just bring your significant other and trust me on this one. Located about 20 miles from Santa Monica, this secluded spot is a photographer's dream with rocky shores, powerful waves and hidden coves. Bring the sunscreen, a little cash for parking, a beach towel and some sturdy shoes like my Teva Terra Float sandals - the rugged path to the shore requires them.
Volleyball on Manhattan Beach
This beach scene lies about 19 miles southeast of Los Angeles. If you hit LAX, keep going south. Every time I visit LA, my friends always want to meet in Manhattan, and I get it. The beach town feels like its very own community with streets lined with chic shops and award-winning restaurants. The beach itself is packed with beautiful people playing volleyball or lounging on the sand. Surfers especially love this beach with the swells, breaks and other surf terminology I don't understand. Once the sun goes down, the town pick up even more. Nightlife here is as good as it gets.
Surfing at Venice Beach
Note to self: Being in shape does not mean being in surfer shape. I've now successfully made it through two surf lessons in my life (Maldives and now Venice), and it's officially the best workout I've ever received. Aqua Surf School met me at Venice Beach for a lesson, and I still can't decide on the best part: the instructors, the perfectly small waves or the pink surfboards. Probably the latter. I'm such a girl. Sue me. Oh, and don't forget the world famous Ocean Front Walk that often upstages the Pacific Ocean with its bodybuilders, palm readers, folk artists and other colorful characters.
Sunbathing at Will Rogers State Beach
Will Rogers State Beach is loved by many due to its convenient location in the Pacific Palisades of Los Angeles. It's typically less crowded than Santa Monica and Venice Beach and doesn't require as much ground to cover in order to stick your toes in the ocean. Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon here right in the middle of LA. There's a good chance you'll catch sight of a film crew, too. Production companies love this beach.
Bike Riding through Santa Monica Beach
Surely you've seen the photos. Does a colorful carnival on a pier with a two mile stretch of sand ring a bell? This is one of the most popular beaches in LA, and after discovering the Pedal or Not electric bikes, I spent one entire morning pedaling (or not - because it's electric...get it?) through Santa Monica. Between the people watching and the beautiful pier, three hours went by in the snap of a finger. My lightweight, comfy Tevas kept me on path the whole morning. Love!