Everyone knows the beaches in Los Angeles county can get really crowded, but did you know it is possible to find more secluded beaches just north of Santa Monica? Okay, so you might not have the beach all to yourself on a hot weekend in the middle of summer but there is a strong possibility during a weekday. Here are our top picks for best beaches between Santa Monica and Ventura. They make great day trips or even a fun weekend away.
Zuma Beach is known for its long, wide, sandy beach and is one of the more popular beaches in Los Angeles county north of Santa Monica. Zuma has all facilities including volleyball nets, bathrooms, showers and surfboard rentals (across the road). Parking is usually not a problem here as there is a huge carpark along with plenty of street parking available.
EL MATADOR STATE BEACH
El Matador State Beach is one of the most prettiest beaches in the Malibu area because of its dramatic backdrop of huge cliffs plunging into the ocean. El Matador is popular on weekends in the summer but besides that, it is usually not too crowded. It is located about 3 miles north of Zuma and has a small car park and limited parking on the PCH. The beach is accessed via a short trail that leads to some steep stairs. If you don't want to walk all the way down to the bottom, the view from the top is still worth checking out, especially around sunset.
LA PIEDRA STATE BEACH
La Piedre State Beach, like El Matador has beautiful sandstone cliffs and is great for strolling, surfing and sunbaking. The beach itself is a narrow strip and is accessed via a short hiking trail that could be a little steep for some but is definitely worth the effort. Be sure to pack your own lunch as there are no stores nearby. Portable restrooms are availabe at the trailhead and there is a small parking lot or you can park on the PCH.
LEO CARILLO STATE BEACH
Leo Carillo State Beach is located about 3 miles north of El Matador and is a great for swimming, surfing, sunbaking, fishing and exploring tidepools. The great thing about this beach is that there is a campsite located across the road with 135 campsites so if you are road tripping up the California coast and want to spend the night beachside this is perfect! Park on the state lot or or the PCH.
COUNTY LINE STATE BEACH
Country Line's beach stretches about a half mile and is great for sunbaking, surfing, kite surfing and stand up paddleboarding. It is located across the road from the iconic Neptune's Net so you can hop across the road to munch on some fresh seafood for lunch or dinner. Parking available on the PCH and there are a few portable restrooms, however they are not the cleanest. Also, this is a popular hangout spot for motorcyclists so it can get pretty busy.
SYCAMORE COVE STATE BEACH
Sycamore Cove State Beach is a south-west facing sandy cove which is one of our favorite beaches along the PCH because of its barbeque and picnic table facilites. A great place to spend a summer afternoon watching the sunset whilst cooking up a feast or even in the winter time for roasting marshmallows. In addition, there are some really great hiking trails located on Sycamore Canyon road (across the road from the beach) that explore the Boney Mountain State Wilderness Area.
THORNHILL BROOME STATE BEACH
Not too far from Sycamore is Thornhill Broome State Beach and Campground which is very close to Point Mugu Rock. What makes this beach so special are its campsites that are available right on the beach with a capacity for about 60 RV's! Dogs are allowed on leash but please make sure you pick up after them.
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