When your family has grown weary of the hustle and bustle of the city, escape to one of LA’s gorgeous family-friendly beaches for a relaxing and fun-filled day on the water. To help you plan your trip, check out our list of the best beaches in Los Angeles for families.
Mother’s Beach, Marina del Rey
Aptly named, Mother’s Beach is a favorite in the Los Angeles area for parents with small children. It’s nestled within the marina, and the calm water and absence of big waves make it a perfect spot for kids to swim.
There is a shallow swimming area that is roped off which offers additional peace of mind to parents who are looking to relax on the beach while the kids splash around. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months as well.
For older kids and adults in search of some adventure, there are paddleboard and kayak rentals near the north end of Mother’s Beach.
The area also features a playground nearby to add some variety during your beach day. When kids tire of swimming and sand, they can head to the playground. The whole family will leave tired and happy after a sun-kissed day of fun. There is a parking lot nearby for a fee, but on weekends it does tend to fill up early.
Playa del Rey Beach
Playa del Rey is a great place to escape the throngs of people at some of the busier beach spots. It’s located south of Marina del Rey and is always far less crowded. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months, and there are also beach volleyball courts to enjoy some physical activity with your family.
The nearby bike path can be a great place to walk or ride for a well-rounded day outside, and a grass park for picnics. It’s relatively easy to find street parking nearby, and there is also a pay parking lot near the grass park.
Santa Monica State Beach
South of the Santa Monica Pier, you’ll find Ocean Park Beach which is an awesome beachfront park and playground that is perfect for spending a fun-filled day with your family.
Amenities include lifeguards, a playground, bathrooms, changing facilities, and large grassy areas perfect for picnicking or taking a break from the sand.
Manhattan Beach is known for its upscale beachfront homes, but it is also a favorite for families with kids. It’s a beautiful stretch of coastline and one of LA’s most pristine and well-kept beaches.
The waves are a bit larger here, making this a perfect spot for older kids who want to try body surfing. You can even try out surfboards on the south side of the pier, which is reserved for surfers only.
The waves break further out, so near the beach, it’s still a safe place for little ones to splash around and lifeguards are on duty. To round out your beach day, visit the nearby aquarium where kids can enjoy learning about native sea creatures and even get up close and personal with the touch tank.
Leo Carrillo State Park North ; South Beach
For nature lovers who seek a natural environment in which to enjoy the beach, take a short drive north on the Pacific Coast Highway to Leo Carrillo State Park.
This is a great place for kids to explore tidal pools and spot sea creatures like starfish, crabs, and fish. There are beautiful and accessible hiking trails that twist through the stretch of a protected coastline. They’re easy enough for everyone to enjoy, even little ones.
Dockweiler State Beach
Dockweiler State Beach is a favorite for families because there is plenty of space to spread out a beach blanket and claim a little section of sand for yourself without feeling crowded.
It’s super close to the airport and runs nearly 3 miles so there is plenty of room to find a spot of your own.
This is a great place to visit in the late afternoon or evening and the area features a variety of fire pits that you can relax around with your family while watching a beautiful sunset.
Zuma Beach is perfect for families with kids of all ages. There is so much for everyone to do at this pristine location nestled within rocky cliffs. There is a playground for smaller children and wide-open spaces for older kids to toss frisbees or play a game of beach volleyball.
The waves are a great size to try out boogie boarding or body surfing for older kids and adults. If you’re lucky you might even spot dolphins playing alongside you in the surf.
There is a large parking lot for a fee, and a free lot nearby if you’re willing to carry your beach gear a little further.
Abalone Cove Beach
Another prime location for families who want to experience nature, Abalone Cove is an Ecological Reserve. It’s an off-the-beaten bath location that is one of Los Angeles’s best-kept secrets. If you’re up for an adventure, you can’t miss it.
To get there you have to hike down a moderate trail through the rocky bluffs that will end on a pristine little beach. It’s best to visit at low tide when you can explore the many tidal pools.
There is a parking lot near the trailhead for $5 and the beach is seldom crowded.
Malibu Lagoon Beach
Malibu Lagoon Beach features shallow swimming areas and gorgeous scenery which make it a favorite for locals and tourists alike. It’s right next to the incredibly popular Surfrider Beach, which is one of LA’s best spots to catch waves.
In this area, the water is much shallower and creates a beautiful little lagoon for kids to swim and splash in. After you’ve had your fill of sand and swimming, you can walk along the Malibu Pier, a historic pier with a tasty restaurant overlooking the water.