The coastline near Hollywood is a diverse place. The elegant yachts that line Marina Del Ray are barely a stone’s throw away from the notorious (and incredible) Venice Beach. The vast Pacific Ocean lay before you as you stand on the shore and there’s no denying how beautiful the view is, particularly at sunset. I’d recommend checking out Shay Carl’s instagram (http://instagram.com/shaycarl/) for some pretty awe inspiring pictures of this particular stretch of the Californian coastline.
My trip to Santa Monica involved plenty of strolling down the pier, gazing out to sea and trying desperately to avoid the temptation of buying and eating about a dozen funnel cakes, which smell AMAZING. The pier itself is pretty impressive, with the usual selection of rides and arcade games aboard, it was rammed with parents, kids and everyone inbetween who was trying to win a stuffed Hello Kitty. Unlike the cramped atmosphere of Hollywood, Santa Monica has the major benefit of the Pacific Ocean, that leaves even the most rammed areas feeling comparatively spacious. The beach is wide and sandy, with plenty of room for running around. However, the sea is utterly freezing (in March at least) understandably.
Venice Beach is an entirely different atmosphere, if you have ever been to Camden Market then just imagine that “on-sea”. It is known as hippy paradise and everyone I was with recommended we didn’t stay after dark, although I imagine it would be twice as fun, if not three times as intimidating! It is the cool, hipster, stoner, skater end of California. With street performers every three feet and people with confused but content looks on their faces every two feet. Definitely worth a trip, though if you’re not in with the crowd down there then don’t feel bad about only briefly passing through!
Southern California’s true beach, for me, will always be Laguna Beach, further down south. If you end up at Laguna, there are a couple of amazing candy stores I can recommend just back from the shore line, as well as some incredible ice cream. Though be warned, the water is freezing there too!