Beaches in L.A. are mostly about tanning, swimming, surfing and boogie-boarding. However, there’s one coastal city in particular, where boating is the sport of choice. These include small sailboats and even larger, luxury yachts, all lined along the world’s largest man-made small boat harbor in the world. The coastal town we’re talking about is Marina del Rey, an excellent place to walk the docks, shop in some boutique stores and try some fantastic seafood and other great cuisines. Marina del Rey is one of five beach cities that are popular among L.A.’s locals and tourists — the others being Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Hermosa Beach. And, Marina del Rey is only a short 10-mile drive from UCLA. So, check out this guide of the top attractions so you can make the most of your visit there.

Fisherman’s Village, Photo courtesy of Visit Marina del Rey, Facebook

Fisherman’s Village

This waterfront mall is the main attraction in Marina del Rey, as well as the main anchorage point for the marina. Constructed in the style of a New England fishing village, picturesque Fisherman’s Village is easily identifiable by its brightly painted wooden structures, its promenade that hugs the harbor, a lighthouse and its majestic water fountain. Fisherman’s Village offers visitors great dining, plenty of live music, and even fireworks and boat shows throughout the year, and especially on holidays. Visit the Marina del Rey Visitors Bureau website for more information and directions.

Mother’s Beach, Photo courtesy of Los Angeles County, Beaches Website


One of L.A.’s hidden gems among beaches is Mother’s Beach in Marina del Rey. This peaceful lagoon spans 12 acres, and attracts fewer crowds than nearby Manhattan and Venice Beach. Have a picnic (there are several picnic tables), sunbathe or take a dip at this charming beach, where you’ll hear little noise and have the opportunity to relax. Visit the Marina del Rey Visitors Bureau website for more information and directions.

Dockweiler State Beach, Photo courtesy of dailymatador, Flickr

Dockweiler State Beach

This inviting stretch of beach offers three miles of coastline where you can picnic, catch a tan, or surf. It’s more popular among tourists and gets more crowded than nearby Mother’s Beach, so expect larger crowds. If swimming, surfing or tanning aren’t your favorite choice of beach activities, you can always have fun plane-spotting, as it’s right below the takeoff path for Los Angeles International Airport. Also, Dockweiler State Beach is one of the few beaches where you can still enjoy one of Southern California’s greatest beach past times — having a beach bonfire. Visit the Dockweiler State Beach website for more information and directions.

Burton W. Chace Park, Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Burton W. Chace Park

The largest public park in Marina del Rey, Burton Chace Park has over 12 acres of space for all your favorite park activities, including picnicking and grilling. The park is surrounded by water on three sides, providing for spectacular panoramic views of the harbor. If you’re lucky, your visit might coincide with one of the several local fairs and community events held at the park on its wide-open grassy knoll and at its popular gazebo. Visit the Burton Chace Park website for more information and directions.

Waterside at Marina del Rey, Photo courtesy of Waterside at Marina del Rey, Facebook

Waterside at Marina del Rey

A chic beach city needs a chic marketplace, and Waterside at Marina del Rey is it. This modern shopping center has a number of trendy stores including L’Occitane and Havaiana, and popular eateries including The Counter, Mendocino Farms, Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa and Mainland Poke. If you enjoy organic cuisine, stop by Kreation Organic and sample its delightful menu. Visit the Waterside at Marina del Rey website for more information and directions.

MAIN PHOTO: Marina del Rey, Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

WRITTEN BY: Oshin Aivazian, UCLA