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Yeah we've got beaches, but what ones are the best for families and children?

With the endless supply of beaches in LA, we've put together a list of family-friendly beaches in Southern California for the whole family to enjoy.

By Collin Morgan & J-F Wright

Sun, Apr 18, 2021 02:00 PM PST

Los Angeles: Hollywood, sunny skies, and beaches. Lots of beaches. That’s part of the reason we live in Southern California, right? There’s miles of sandy oceanfront lining the coast. However, not all of the beaches are ideal for the whole family. Some are too wild, waves are too big, or not enough kid-friendly activities. But we’ve got you covered for your next family outing. Here are some of the best family-friendly beaches in Southern California, within driving distance from the Los Angeles area.

Dockweiler State Beach

12000 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293

California sunset from a family-friendly beach in Southern California
Ooooh, that California sunset

Spanning nearly 3 miles, Dockweiler Beach has plenty of space for the whole clan to settle down for a day in the sun. Right near LAX, the beach is very easy to get to via the west end of Imperial Highway. The downside of being so close to LAX is the consistent flyover noise. However, the kids might get a kick out of seeing huge planes taking off and flying by above them.

Zuma Beach

30000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

Easily accessible right off PCH, Zuma Beach boasts stunning views of the jagged landscape paired with wide swaths of sand. Kids of all ages will find something to do, with a small playground and typically low waves. Bring a football or frisbee because you’ll have plenty of space. With some luck, you might be able to spot a dolphin in the distance!

Santa Monica South Beach

2600 Barnard Way, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Santa Monica Beach with lots of families playing on the family friendly beach.
Santa Monica Beach

Located south of the Santa Monica Pier, South Beach has a ton of activities for kids. There’s a human-scale chess board, playgrounds, and some grassy areas if your feet have had enough sand. If your kids are a bit older, jog north to Santa Monica Beach/Pier; it’s one of the most happening areas in Los Angeles. The Pier is always bustling and exciting, with eccentric shops and rides running all day and into the night.

Baby Beach at Dana Point Harbor

34451 Ensenada Place, Dana Point, CA 92629

two people enjoying the family friendly beach in Southern California
A day at the beach: clear waters, great temperatures - what is there not to like?

If you’re up for a little trip south of Los Angeles, make sure to take the kids to Baby Beach in Dana Point. It’s a roped off section in the harbor that consists of a nice sized beach with knee-deep water. This is perfect for very young ones and toddlers since the waves are minimal. A picnic area with restrooms is also easily accessible, and tide pools are just a 5-minute walk from the beach.

Seal Beach

900 Ocean Ave, Seal Beach, CA 90740

Seal Beach has a nice small-town feel with a fantastic beach to top it all off. The beach itself has great swimming for all ages, and the sand is clean. The jetties to the northwest help keep waves down. A seaside playground is popular for the kids, while the town of Seal Beach has plenty of food and entertainment options for the older members of your family.

Little Corona Beach

Corona del Mar

Little Corona Beach, a family-friendly and really kid-friendly beach in Southern California, in Newport Beach.
Little Corona Beach in Corona Del Mar (Newport Beach)

Little Corona Beach is tucked in-between cliffs in Corona Del Mar in the southern end of Newport Beach, and with that comes a bit of privacy. For kids who have an adventurous spirit, there are some excellent tide pools just west of the beach that contain a whole diversity of aquatic creatures. Parking can be limited, but avoid weekends and you should be able to get in with no problems.

As a final note, our friends over at Smart Parent Advice have put together a list of essentials that a parent with a baby might consider bringing with them on a beach-outing.

About The Authors

Collin Morgan's profile picture

Collin Morgan

Collin Morgan is a Grand Rapids, Michigan based writer and enjoys the unique and unusual aspects of the automotive industry. He has experienced the worldwide car culture firsthand and has visited the automotive shrines of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Pagani in Central Italy, tackled the Autobahn, and toured Wales with a rally club. Back in the States, he frequents car events in Detroit and Chicago and is convinced Michigan is the most underrated state for picturesque drives. He owns a 1999 Miata and has happily allowed many good hair days to be ruined by the open road turbulence.

Together with

J-F Wright's profile picture

J-F Wright

John-Fredrik Wright was born in Sweden, but raised on both sides of the Atlantic. His experience in the automotive industry starts with a summer-job as a host at Volkswagen’s premier showroom in Stockholm. Later, he worked as an instructor at Swedish Active Driving, teaching safe driving (among other things the renowned "elk-avoidance maneuver") and advanced driving techniques.

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