The beach has always been my favorite spot to hang out. Well, I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, and going to Ipanema Beach was part of my weekends since I was in my mother’s belly. So, no wonder, when I decided to move to Los Angeles I was extremely excited to visit the famous golden coast. As a good “carioca” (people born in Rio), I went to as many beaches I could while I lived there and can say: it’s an amazing place with breathtaking views – although Brazil is as beautiful. So to help you out, I decided to make a list of my 5 favorite beaches in LA, separated by interest.
Venice Beach – to hang out with the hippies
Delicious spot for a Sunday morning. The boardwalk is full of artists and hippies selling art craft and gifts. I recommend renting a bike or walk from Santa Monica until Venice. At the end, stop to have lunch in one of the many restaurants by the beach. Venice is the closest to the hippie idea of California that you’ll find in LA. Other cities, like Ojai, will have more this vibe if you’re interested.
Zuma Beach – to go with bunch of friends
In the end, but really in the end, of Malibu you’ll find Zuma Beach. This beach is very large and spacious, so you can go with your friends to play volleyball, soccer, football or just walk around. There are a few kiosks with a FOOD sign, hard to miss it, to help when yall feel hungry!
El Matador Beach – to take breathtaking pictures
Instagram post that for sure will get you a lot of likes. This beach has super cool rock formations in the middle of the sand, when the sea tide is low you can walk through them and get to the other side of the beach. It’s not super crowded, so you can relax.
Topanga Beach – to relax
Combo relaxing beach and good food. Topanga was my go-to place, almost my dear Posto 9 in Ipanema. I think most people didn’t really care about this beach, or didn’t notice the entrance by the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), but it was one of my favorites for the surf vibe and the parking lot right in front. Other attractive was the thai food restaurant right across the road (they had coconut water!). And the best part, this beach is located before Malibu, so you can avoid the traffic at the PCH.
Hermosa Beach – to flirt, why not?!
California boys and girls everywhere you look! Those cute surfers and skaters hanging out at the boardwalk and pier made my heart beat faster, lol! I swear I saw a Seth Cohen lookalike around there. OK, now it’s serious. Hermosa Beach has a beach town vibe that I love and it’s in between Manhattan Beach and El Redondo, so plenty to see around there. The pier is full of bars and restaurants, so you can stay until the night and party!
And before we finish this, some tips for our sailors and mermaids:
The water is super cold! Therefore swimming is for the strong ones. But the water gets warmer during summer, around July until August you may give it a try!
Use big towels to get dry if you do swim, but use it also to lay down under the sun. That’s what most people use in Cali.
Food is not very often being sold around the beach, so bring some snacks and drinks with you. But alcoholic beverages are forbidden and you might get a fine.
Go by Uber! Public transportation in LA sucks. So if you can’t rent a car, plan the way very well. It might take you some time to go by bus. Going to Hermosa, for example, took me 3 hours by bus and 40 minutes by car.