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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Beaches near LAX

  • Air Travel
  • Renee Martin
  • 7 minutes

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Visiting Los Angeles but short on time? Don’t fret! Our guide will tell you all you need to know about the best beaches near LAX.

Thousands of travelers pass through Los Angeles International Airport on personal and business visitors each day. Many of them have time to visit the beach before or after their flights. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is one of the largest and busiest airports on the west coast. Fortunately, it is located right on the shores of Santa Monica Bay, and there are other good beaches nearby.

Beach LAX

Dockweiler State Beach is the closest beach to LAX, and there are multiple day-use entrance sites at this state park. The Playa Del Rey Beach, Dockweiler Main Beach, and Dockweiler South Beach are north to south. These beaches will suffice if you don’t have a lot of time. We went to Playa Del Rey Beach before a recent flight out of LAX, and it was ideal for soaking up some rays and wandering barefoot in the sand. Better beaches, however, can be found further up and down the coast.

Los Angeles Airport parking

El Segundo Beach, El Porto Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Hermosa Beach are located south of LAX and immediately west of Highway 1 (Sepulveda Blvd). We suggest driving a bit further to Manhattan or Hermosa Beach. Both of these beaches offer great piers to walk out onto and various stores and well-known eateries. These two beaches will be notably more crowded. El Porto is a good option if you need a little extra space.

There are also some decent options north of LAX and slightly west of Highway 1 (Lincoln Blvd). The best beach to the north is undoubtedly Santa Monica State Beach. Still, it’s also the most difficult to get to, which can be frustrating during rush hour. Santa Monica Beach offers a beautiful pier for families, lovely parks, and many people. The Venice Pier and Venice Beach are both close to LAX and excellent places to visit. Venice features pristine sandy beaches, a diverse restaurant scene, and a quirky atmosphere.

Here’s more info on the best beaches near LAX.

Dockweiler Beach

dockweiler beach near LAX

 

The beach nearest LAX, Dockweiler Beach is in Los Angeles’ Playa Del Rey District, west of LAX Airport. Even though the park’s property is controlled by the state, the beach and facilities are managed by LA County.

Dockweiler’s main entrance is located at the west end of Imperial Highway, where it finishes at Vista Del Mar. The road turns right within this entry to the main day-use beach, which includes three huge numbered parking spaces. Dockweiler State Beach’s main beach has a broad sandy beach, lifeguards, fire pits, a paved bike path, and decent facilities. Swimming and sunbathing are popular activities here, as are watching planes take off overhead.

Playa Del Rey Beach

Playa del rey beach near LAX

Playa Del Rey Beach is the vast sandy beach in front of Los Angeles’ Playa Del Rey neighborhood. The beach is located on state land northwest of LAX Airport, at the north end of Dockweiler State Beach, and south of the Marina Del Rey Harbor entrance. Like the rest of Dockweiler State Beach, this beach is managed by Los Angeles County rather than the state. Volleyball courts, a lengthy paved bike path, and a park across the street with a kid’s playground and basketball courts are available at Playa Del Rey Beach. The north end of Playa Del Rey Beach is known as “Toes Beach” because it is ideal for hanging ten (toes) on a surfboard.

El Segundo Beach

El Segundo Beach near LAX
 Image: By Emmett Institute via  https://flic.kr/p/2j97cqE

Only 5 miles from LAX, El Segundo Beach has a tiny stretch of waterfront between Manhattan Beach to the south and Playa Del Rey to the north. The entire length of El Segundo Beach is in front of a massive oil refinery. Tall smokestacks tower above the region, but towering fences and walls help to conceal views of the remainder of the refinery, especially if you travel south from the parking lot on the beach.

A rock jetty and smokestacks may be found further south when the beach narrows as it approaches El Porto Beach, Manhattan Beach’s northernmost beach. This beach is less crowded than the more well-known beaches to the north and south.

Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica Beach near LAX

One of the best beaches near LAX, Santa Monica Beach is south of the Santa Monica Pier and north of Venice Beach. North Beach is located on the other side of the pier. There are various parks and public parking spaces with beach access south of the pier. These parks have open fields, sports courts, picnic spots, children’s playgrounds, and even a giant human-scale chessboard.

The original Muscle Beach, near the pier, still has bodybuilder workout facilities. The Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Trail, a paved path that winds through the back half of the beach, is bustling with bikers and skaters. Volleyball courts can be found all over this wide sandy beach, which is large enough to land a 747.

The Santa Monica Pier is home to the Pacific Park Amusement Park. The park has rides and arcade games, restaurants, stores, and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. South Beach parking lots may be found on Ocean Avenue and Barnard Way. The primary park in South Beach is located at the west end of Ocean Park Boulevard.

Venice Beach

Venice beach near LAX

Venice City Beach is the primary beach in Los Angeles’ Venice District. It extends from the Venice Pier to the northern edge of the Venice District, at the city’s boundary with Santa Monica. The core hub of Venice Beach is Muscular Beach, so named because of the outdoor workout facilities and muscle showcase platform. This area has a grass park as well as sports courts for various sports. Spectators will line the perimeter of a big skatepark constructed right on the shore.

Surfers paddle out beyond the Venice Breakwater to catch waves breaking in both directions around this short rocky barrier. The street entertainers, tattooed bodies, and self-proclaimed “freaks” that seek attention along the Ocean Front Walk are perhaps the largest draw here (better known as the Venice Beach Boardwalk). Along the boardwalk, vendors sell everything from inexpensive sunglasses to T-shirts. There are plenty of other businesses and eateries nearby to enjoy.

What beach is close to LAX?

Dockweiler State Beach is closest to LAX Airport.

How far are the beaches from LAX Airport?

Beaches

Distance from LAX

Dockweiler State Beach 3.2 miles (6 mins)
Playa Del Rey Beach 4.9 miles (14 mins)
El Porto Beach 5.2 miles (8 mins)
Venice Beach 6.8 miles (14 mins)
Santa Monica Beach 12.8 miles (18 miles)

Can you walk to any of the beaches from LAX?

Not really, since the closest beach, Dockweiler is over 3 miles away. If you’re driving to LAX, book your LAX parking spot online, so that you’ll have enough time to explore.

How do I get to the beach from LAX?

You can use public transport- take the Greenline Shuttle bus from LAX airport to the Aviation/LAX Metro Station. From here, you can catch the Greenline Metro or any of the buses that go to the beaches. However, if you’re short on time, it might be better to take a taxi to any beach you like to visit.

LAX PARKING


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