Small and dominated by rocky outcrops, El Matador my not fit your typical idea of an afternoon on the sand—but it’s far and away SoCal’s most beautiful beach. Wear shoes and don’t bring too much gear; the western Malibu spot is only accessible via a steep gravelly path. Spread your towel in the cupped hands of the rocks—just watch out for high tide. Arriving early or staying late should reward you with a memorable dawn or sunset. El Matador and nearby El Pescador and La Piedra beaches collectively form the Robert H. Meyer Memorial Beaches. Consider walking down to Lechuza for a less dramatic but less busy stretch of sand.
With 70-degree-plus days nearly year-round, Angelenos are spoiled with things to do outside. Whether it’s January or July, L.A.’s best hikes (including hikes with waterfalls) are rarely off the table—and the same can even be said for beaches, too.
Now, you might not exactly want to actually go in the water (even in late summer the ocean temperature barely hits 70), but you’ll certainly want to be by the water. And with miles of picturesque coastline from Malibu to the South Bay, the best beaches in Los Angeles are aplenty for outdoor enthusiasts, surfers, families, sun worshippers, and beach bunnies (and at one dog beach, for pups).
If you’re new to L.A., there are a few oceanfront weather basics you should know: On hot days, the beach is typically 10 degrees cooler than central parts of L.A. and 20 degrees cooler than the Valley. (The exception: Long Beach tends to be in lockstep with L.A. temps.) Sometimes—particularly toward the beginning of summer—you might have clear blue skies inland but the beach is all fogged in; that marine layer tends to burn off in the afternoon, but sometimes it sticks around all day.
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