venice beach at sunset

UCLA is just minutes away from some of the best beaches in Los Angeles County. These include beaches in famous places like Malibu or Santa Monica — ideal for not only swimming, but also surfing, a little strolling, and even shopping at stores near the water.

Without further ado, here are the best beaches near UCLA if you’re staying at UCLA Luskin Conference Center:


Will Rogers State Beach, Photo courtesy of Eric Fidler, Flickr

Will Rogers State Beach (Pacific Palisades)

Will Rogers State Beach is the easiest to reach from UCLA, and a popular beach for tourists and locals. Parking is very easy to access, making it the ideal destination for swimming, surfing or to catch a tan. Just cruise west on Sunset Boulevard from UCLA to Pacific Coast Highway to reach the beach. Get more information about Will Rogers State Beach including directions.

Santa Monica Beach, Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Santa Monica Beach (Santa Monica)

Santa Monica Beach is the closest to UCLA, and is a popular spot to set up a beach blanket and an umbrella and either lounge or take to the water. Many people swim at this beach, in addition to the beaches north of town. Santa Monica Beach is everything you could ask for in a beach — just make sure you get there early, as the best spots on the sand near the water tend to be taken quickly. Get more information about Santa Monica Beach including directions.


Zuma Beach, Photo courtesy of Chris Goldberg, Flickr

Zuma Beach (Malibu)

Zuma Beach is where you go if you are looking for some serious waves. The waves at Zuma Beach invite both amateur and professional surfers from throughout Southern California — as they tend to rise as high as ten feet. The beach is located northwest of UCLA in Malibu, about a 30 minute drive from campus north on Pacific Coast Highway. Get more information about Zuma Beach including directions.

Surfrider Beach, Photo courtesy of Sunova Surfboards, Flickr

Surfrider Beach (Malibu)

Surfrider Beach is one of the most iconic beaches in all of the surfing world. Featured in several movies, it put surfing on the map as both a California and West Coast sport. The name definitely doesusn’t lie. If you’re fortunate to have a surfboard on you, head to Surfrider Beach for some big waves. Get more information about Surfrider Beach including directions.


Abbot Kinney Boulevard., Photo courtesy of La Citta Vita, Flickr

Abbot Kinney (Venice Beach)

Shopping is at its best on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach, when you consider all that it has to offer. Its collection of high-end boutiques, small eateries and fine dining spots, and numerous galleries make it a fun place to visit. Here is how you can get from UCLA to Abbot Kinney. Get more information about Abbot Kinney including directions.

Santa Monica Place, Photo Courtesy of Kevin Labianco, Flickr

Third Street Promenade  (Santa Monica)

Third Street Promenade is one of the top outdoor shopping venues in Los Angeles County. The weather is beautiful year-round in Southern California, and this five-block street offers the opportunity to shop popular brands and boutiques — all under the sun. You can easily spend an entire afternoon — and plenty of money — at the Third Street Promenade and neighboring Santa Monica Place mall, shopping at popular stores like Nordstrom, Nike Store, Bloomingdale’s, H&M, and SuperDry. Get more information about Third Street Promenade including directions.


Venice Beach Boardwalk. Photo courtesy of Steve Boland, Flickr

Venice Beach Boardwalk (Venice Beach)

Don’t miss visiting the famous Venice Beach Boardwalk, site of Muscle Beach and the most “outrageous” neighborhood in Los Angeles — known for its outlandish stores, people, and even the famous “drum circle” that’s always going on and drawing crowds of impromptu dancers. You can shop at some of the specialty stores there, or enjoy some of the food there, including the many tacos, hot dog, and other quick-service stands that are popular in the area. Get more information about Venice Boardwalk including directions.

Venice Canals, Photo courtesy of La Citta Vita, Flickr

Venice Canals (Venice Beach)

The Venice Canals are an important part of L.A.’s history and development, and above all else, an amazing place to take a stroll! Along the banks of this man-made waterway, you’ll find gentle breezes, lush greenery, and beautiful homes tucked along its banks. The Venice Canals were created by Venice’s key developer, Abbot Kinney, in 1905. Mr. Kinney built the canals to mimic those in Venice, Italy. It was part of his “Venice of America” plan to lure commercial & residential development, complete with gondolas and arched bridges. Get more information about Venice Canals including directions.

MAIN PHOTO: Venice Beach, Photo courtesy of Pixabay