California is a southwestern state of the United States with the most diverse terrain that includes beaches, redwood forests, valleys, and the Nevada Mountains. It is blessed with 840 mi (1,350 km) of coastline due to its strategic location along the Pacific Ocean. Furthermore, Northern and Central Californian beaches have cliff-lined shores with coral reefs, while Southern Californian beaches have long golden shores with some great breaks. These unique topographical features make them most suitable for surfing. No wonder, surfing is not only a spectator sport but also a way of life for people here. California has a rich history of surf culture and has contributed to the sport by making it popular through music, movies, and TV shows. Check out the top surf spots in Los Angeles, California, for a fun and adventurous day.
1. Surfrider Beach
Surfrider Beach is a premier surfing destination in Malibu. It has a buildup of cobble rock and sand at the mouth of the creek, which creates a multi-pointed coastline that forms excellent waves for surfing. There are three spots where surfers can enjoy the sport. The first spot breaks inside an area known as Kitty Bowl, which short-boarders enjoy. The second spot provides perfectly formed waves that are preferred by longboarders, and the third spot breaks on the left as well as right, where the left offers the longest runs. Restrooms and showers are made available at these point breaks for the convenience of visitors.
Address: 23050 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA
Website: Surfrider Beach
2. Zuma Beach
Zuma Beach is one of the most popular and longest surf beaches in California. It stretches up to 4 miles (3.21 km) and is split into two beach breaks. Zuma is the main break, while the southernmost part of the beach is known as Westwards. Both of them offer fun waves that can be ridden by intermediate and experienced surfers. You have to be careful while surfing here as heavy swells and strong riptides can rupture a board into pieces. The beach is wheelchair-accessible and well-equipped with parking, restrooms, showers, food stalls, and picnic areas.
Address: 30050 W Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA
Website: Zuma Beach
3. Topanga Beach
Topanga Beach is another great beach for surfing. It is almost a mile (1.6 km) long and famous among surfers. The waves here create a continuous right break as they curl around the sandy point formed by the creek. Swimming here can be detrimental as the shore is somewhat rocky. Apart from surfing, you can enjoy fishing, diving, sunbathing, and other fun activities at this beach. Topanga Beach is PWD-friendly and has amenities like parking lots, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, etc., present on-site.
Address: Pacific Coast Hwy & S Topanga Canyon Blvd, Malibu, CA
Website: Topanga Beach
4. Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach draws all types of surfers with mixed combo swells and sandy-bottom surf points. The beach has playful waves throughout the year, but due to its ever-changing nature, you have to be good at catching favorable conditions for high surf. The spots in the south receive swells from the north, southwest, and northwest directions and are shadowed by swells in the southern direction. Besides surfing, you can visit the famous Manhattan Beach Pier that houses Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab & Aquarium and provides a scenic view of the setting sun. You can also take advantage of bike paths, concession stands, restaurants, cafes, restrooms, shower stands, etc., while at the beach.
Address: 2 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA
Website: Manhattan Beach
5. Santa Monica State Beach
Santa Monica State Beach has three great surf spots. First is Santa Monica Pier, which has sandbar peaks to its south and not-so-big waves that make it an excellent choice for beginners. The second spot is Santa Monica Beach. It has consistent surf from the groundswell and waves that break on the right as well as left shores. The third spot is Bay Street with easy access and powerful waves for adventurous surfers. Santa Monica Pier is also popular for its amusement park and the iconic Ferris wheel. The pier has shops, carousel, aquarium, historical landmarks, and fishing spots too.
Santa Monica State Beach
Address: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA
Website: Santa Monica State Beach
6. Leo Carrillo State Beach
Leo Carrillo State Beach is one of the very few beaches that allow pets in certain areas. This 1.5-mile-long (2.4 km) beach is known for continuous righthand cobblestone reef waves. It offers mid to low tides that go together with S swells, and occasional high-tide shore breaks at the kelp forest surf spot can be adventurous and fun. Apart from surfing, you can go fishing, enjoy tide pools, or explore reefs and coastal caves here. The beach is close to Leo Carrillo State Park, where you can go backcountry hiking or camping.
Leo Carrillo State Beach
Address: 35000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA
Website: Leo Carrillo State Beach
7. Pyramid Cove
Pyramid Cove has everything that a good surf needs. This beach boasts impressive south swells and features a huge rock takeoff and a lined-up shoulder. It has a sandy rock bottom and world-class waves with left point breaks. Access to the beach is regulated by the navy, and going ashore is strictly prohibited. You can access the beach by boat. Also, you have to be careful of reefy bottoms and strong currents when surfing here. You can check the schedule on the website before visiting.
Address: Pyramid Cove, San Clemente Island, CA
Website: Pyramid Cove
8. Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach is a 1-mile-long (1.6 km) stretch of clean and vast unpopulated coast. It offers mellow waves that are best-suited for beginners. These waves are slow, smooth, and gentle and hence make a perfect place to surf for novices. You can bring your own board, rent one, or take surfing lessons that are custom-designed to suit your skill level. Like many other beaches, this beach has a pier from where you can fish or just enjoy the beautiful sunset along the horizon. Furthermore, there is ample parking space and facilities like restrooms, showers, and playgrounds for tourists.
Address: Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA
Website: Sunset Beach
9. Venice Beach
Venice Beach is yet another great destination for beginners to try their hand at surfing. Venice Breakwater is the best surf spot here, which is in the north of Venice Pier. It is sheltered by a barrier in the north and has breakwaters that consist of piping, sandbar, and large rocks. Venice Pier is another surf spot. The south side of the dock has fun right breaks with a lot of smaller beach breaks, while the north side has hollow left breaks. The famous Venice Broadwalk runs parallel to the beach, where you can encounter artists, performers, fortunetellers, local shops, and eateries. The area also includes Venice Beach Recreation Center that boasts Skate Dance Plaza, beach volleyball courts, handball courts, tennis courts, etc.
Address: Venice Fishing Pier, Venice, CA
Website: Venice Beach
10. Redondo Beach Breakwater
Redondo Beach promises quite reliable surf during winters. It has a swell direction from west to northwest, and underground swells produce most of the surf. Surfing here is best with offshore eastbound winds. This beach has all left-bound beach breaks. There are plenty of parking spots near Veteran Park and Redondo Beach Pier. The pier is also home to sovereign shops, fast-food stands, and restaurants. You can access grassy parks, picnic tables, kids’ play areas, and volleyball courts near the beach too.
Address: Pearl St & Esplanade, Redondo Beach, CA
Website: Redondo Beach
Have a safe and fun holiday
All the above top surf spots in Los Angeles, California, have stationed lifeguards who can guide and update you with regard to weather changes. Most of them also have basic amenities like parking lots, washrooms, showers, and easy beach access, the only exception being Pyramid Cove. Also, stay clear of white sharks and frisky locals who can pick up a fight for a popular surf spot, and you will be able to make most of your vacation.
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