Summer is just around the corner and as Angelenos, we love our beach time fun. With so many beaches to choose from in LA, it could be a daunting task to decide which is the ideal beach for you to go to. You could consider a couple of factors, such as safe for kids, or pet friendly, but parking should never be one of those factors that stops you from hitting your favorite beach. Especially during summer, the beaches can get really crowded and parking is a big problem. I have friends who love the beaches but hesitate to head down there because they know they will not find a parking spot. In this post, I'm going to tell you how to get to most beaches in LA county using public transportation.
1. Santa Monica beach
Santa Monica beach is one of the most sought after beaches in LA. Almost all throughout the year, crowds flock here in plenty. The pier is also a favorite tourist spot, so expect to have a lot of company if you decide to choose this beach.
Transit: There are a number of ways you can get to the beach. Most routes drop you off somewhere between Santa Monica/ 3rd or 2nd Street.
- Fastest route: The Big Blue Bus (R10) from Union Station, Downtown LA. Drops you off at Santa Monica/Lincoln. Takes about 1 hour 10 mts without traffic. Caveats: Bus comes only once every 30 mts. Runs only from Mon-Sat.
- Metro Purple line towards Wilshire/Western from Union Station, Downtown LA. Take Line 720 from there till Ocean Ave, right across the Pier. Takes about 1 hour 30 minutes.
- Line 704 from Union Station, Downtown LA. Drops you off at 2nd Street/Santa Monica. Caveat: Takes nearly 2 hours.
- Line 720 from Commerce center, East LA. Drops you off at Ocean Ave, right across the Pier. Caveat: Takes nearly 2 hours 10 mts.
- Line 733 from Union Station, Downtown LA. Drops you off at Ocean Ave, right across the Pier. Takes about 1 hour 40 mts.
Things to do: Santa Monica beach is a great place to hang out and spend the day. Other than sun bathe or lounge lazily on the sands by the beach, you can walk on the pier, eat some sea food at Bubba Gump, or walk around the 3rd street promenade.
Bike: One of the fun things to do at any of the beaches in LA actually is to take your bike/rent a bike and bike along the PCH. The views are gorgeous. If you bike South from Santa Monica, you will reach our next beach destination: Venice Beach.
2. Venice Beach
This beautiful, gorgeous, and absolutely fun beach lies 2.5 miles South of Santa Monica Pier. You can walk along the beach from Santa Monica and get to Venice, or you could bike along the PCH. There are also a couple of buses that will take you there in half hour.
- Fastest route: The red DASH downtown E from 7th/Spring, Downtown LA. Drops you off at Marina and Marquesas Way. From there, you can walk along the Venice Canal to the Venice pier and boardwalk. This should take you 15 mts.
- Line 733 from Union Station, Downtown LA will drop you off at Venice/Abbot Kinney. Trip takes around 1.30 hours.
Things to do: The walk along Venice boardwalk is a very interesting one. There are many eclectic shops along the way. You can get a tattoo, a henna design, get your hair braided, or buy some surfboards. There are a couple of nice restaurants and cafes overlooking the beach as well, if you want to get a bite or a drink.
Bike: From Venice beach, you can bike down to Marina del Rey, and visit the Ballona Wetlands ecological reserve.
3. Marina del Rey and El Segundo
If you continue biking along the PCH on Venice beach, you will reach Marina del Rey. People often come here to do outdoor recreational activities such as parasailing, surfing, and paddling. From here, if you are biking you can proceed to El Segundo beach which is about 8 miles from Marina del Rey. This beach has fire pits which allow you to BBQ and have a picnic on the beach. This could be a lot of fun, especially if you go with a bigger group.
4. South Bay: Manhattan Beach/Hermosa Beach/ Redondo Beach
This trio of beaches are located very close to one another and offers you a lot of exciting things to do if you head down here one weekend.
- Fastest route: Hop on the Metro Silver line 910 from El Monte Busway/Almeida, Downtown LA towards Harbor Gateway transit center. This should take you 40 mts. At the Gateway Center, hop on to Metro 130 towards Redondo Beach. This bus will take half an hour to reach Artesia/Peck. From here, Hermosa Beach is a 20 mt walk.
- From 7th street/Metro Center station, take the Metro Blue Line 801 towards Downtown Long Beach Station. After about 20 minutes, get off at Willowbrooks/Rosa Park station. Here, take the Metro Green Line 803 towards Redondo Beach. Get off at Mariposa Station in about 15 mts. From Nash/Mariposa Station, take Metro 232 towards Downtown Long Beach. Get off at Sepulveda/18th. Walk West to Manhattan Beach Blvd/Poinsettia Ave and take Metro 126 towards Manhattan beach. This should take 10 mts. Caveat: Too many connections, travel time could take 2 hours.
Things to do:
The trip down here is totally worthwhile if you plan on spending ample time checking out the Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo neighborhoods. The beaches are very close to each other. Hermosa Beach is less than 2 miles from Manhattan and Redondo is about 3 miles. Get a bike and bike around, that is the best way to see the place. If not, walking can also get you around, but remember to take a nice summery hat to ward off the heat.
In Manhattan beach: Play some volleyball on the beach or take your surfing board along to enjoy a surf. You can also take lessons and rent a surf board. Take a walk along the strand, check out the quaint shops in Manhattan downtown, or stroll on the prettiest pier in SoCal.
In Hermosa beach: Apart from the usual beachy stuff, head over to the Comedy and Magic Club. Psst, Jay Leno used to perform here every Sunday trying out new material.
In Redondo beach: This one can be your favorite if you love sea food. Lots of amazing little places which serve you the best sea food in the neighborhood. A friend and I trekked down here one day and he ate these sea urchins which were alive! You can pick the fish you want and they will cook it for you the way you want it to be cooked. It doesn't get better than that.
There are many more beaches in Los Angeles, such as Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach. These require longer amounts of travel and you need to take the Metrolink to get to most of them. More on how to do this in my next blogpost. Stay tuned!
Happy exploring! ~M