You’ve moved into our Marina del Rey co-living space. You’re having the time of your life, and you’ve decided it’s time to hit the beach. If you walk directly west, you will eventually fall face-first into a wave-less body of water, hence the Marina in Marina del Rey. As you tread the shimmering harbor in confusion, you will probably also realize that this is, in fact, not a beach.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Sure, the Marina is a beautiful sight lined with some of the best restaurants you’ll find in LA – see Breakfast vs. Brunch: Battle for the Marina – and an absolute haven for boating enthusiasts, but for those looking for that “beach life,” it might not be enough. Luckily, your new co-living space is strategically positioned so that you can take a quick trip north or south for maximum access to Marina del Rey beaches.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Right next to you, there’s Marina Beach: more commonly referred to as Mother’s Beach. Developed and incorporated into Basin D of the Marina in 1957, it’s a popular attraction for families with younger kids due to the complete lack of surf as well as an abundance of immediate conveniences: food, bathrooms, showers, barbecue pits, volleyball courts, etc. It’s also perfect for hotel guests and brunch connoisseurs that want to relax post-meal or play some volleyball after a reasonable amount of drinks.
Head north for easy access to the famous Venice Beach. Our article 12 Things You Need to Do When Living in Venice Beach can give you a crash course on the theoretically infinite amount of fun that can be had over there. But for now, let’s focus on the sliver of Venice Beach that’s basically in your front yard.
Everything south of the Venice Pier should be considered your domain. This is the prettier, less populated part of the beach where locals go to tan, surf, or swim away from the tourists that crowd the Boardwalk every day. This section typically has less intimidating waves than north of the pier, which is great for beginner to intermediate surfing and boogie boarding. No barrels over here, brah – unless a huge swell hits, so always check the surf report before going out – just beware of the riptide. If you insist on driving, Pacific Avenue offers plenty of parking in the early morning. But if you arrive late, the paid parking on Via Marina is a better bet.
The jetties that separate the Marina from Venice and Playa del Rey are also a must-see for newcomers. The rocks are paved with concrete most of the way, so they’re easy to traverse. Take a nice morning stroll to greet the horizon, or choose any time of the day to say hi to the various fishermen as you take in the exceptional ocean view: go at sunset for bonus romance points. And if you’re one to catch your own dinner, it’s legal to fish here, so grab a pole and some bait and start casting!
In the opposite direction, you’ll find the sleepier town of Playa del Rey, although it can still get pretty popular on a particularly hot day.
On the sand, there’s a long line of volleyball courts, and players are typically friendly here, so if you see a game that’s your skill level, ask politely if you can join. For those that want less chatter and more beach-noise, keep trekking south until you find an area that suits you. If it’s a weekday, this is one of the quietest beaches you can find in LA. Go full chill with a nice book, or let the sun warm your skin while the sound of crashing waves lulls you into a comatose nap.
Your tummy is bound to demand satiation at some point, but there’s no reason to bring a lunch if you don’t want to. Clustered at the end of Culver Boulevard, you’ll find a solid selection of lunch and dinner reprieves. Right on the sand, there’s Playa Provisions for an eclectic menu with some notably fresh seafood; the oysters are extremely affordable for such excellent quality – oh, and don’t forget the fancy whiskey bar in the back.
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Further up Culver, Senor G’s couples Mexican food with a full breakfast menu and a long list of smoothies and freshly made juices that will quench your thirst during even the worst of heat waves.
Finally, if you want to just bike south and never look back, you absolutely can. Getting from the Marina to Playa is easy. Just take the Ballona Creek Bike Path to Playa del Rey beach. When you pass the bridge to the jetty, keep going until you see the sand. From there, a beach path runs all the way through Playa, Dockweiler, and even Manhattan Beach with intermittent bathroom stops on the way. Dockweiler boils down to a long stretch of beach with the largest selection of BBQ pits in LA, but once you get to Manhattan, civilization will greet you with restaurants and bustling shops. The coast is yours.