Los Angeles is one of those places that everyone wants to visit someday, to glimpse some stars on Rodeo Drive, visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame, or enjoy the original Disneyland.
Note: I originally wrote this article several years ago for Hipmunk, a hotel booking engine which no longer exists. This is a revised and updated version of what I wrote then.
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The city is very spread out, though, and the Los Angeles area includes some great beach communities, including Marina Del Rey, called “LA’s coastal playground.”
It seems to me that Marina Del Rey would be a great place to explore as part of a Los Angeles trip. After a day of sightseeing, I’d love to come back to my hotel in Marina Del Rey, or perhaps an Airbnb studio apartment on the beach (This link will give you a discount if it’s your first time using Airbnb, and it’ll give me a commission as well.) and enjoy a cold drink while watching the sunset over the water. What could be better?
I know what could be better! Forget exploring Los Angeles and just plan your vacation around discovering this part of the California coastline.
Marina Del Rey is a small community built around the world’s largest man-made harbor for small boats, where thousands of boats are moored. If you’re looking for a vacation on the coast with plenty to do besides lying on the beach, this would be an excellent choice.
I’ve written before about the watersports I’d like to try in Marina Del Rey: jet skiing, kiteboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, sportfishing, and parasailing. There are more, of course. You could rent a sailboat, a canoe, or even a yacht. You could just take a swim in the ocean or in your hotel pool.
Rent a bike and check out the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, which extends for 22 miles along the coast. In Marina Del Rey you’re near the middle of the trail. Head north one day, all the way to the end at Will Rogers State Park in Pacific Palisades, and south on a different day, to the southern end in Torrance. Stop for a swim anywhere along the way!
If you don’t want to do all the work of bicycling, you can take a leisurely stroll up the beach from Marina Del Rey to Venice Beach next door. Spend some time on its famous boardwalk for some truly over-the-top people-watching.
Dockweiler State Beach
Just south of Marina Del Rey is Dockweiler State Beach, over three miles long. Part of it is right under the flight path for the LAX airport next door, which might be particularly fun for kids to see. If you’re far more of a daredevil than I am, Dockweiler has a hang glider flight training park!
Burton W. Chace Park
Burton W. Chace Park, on the edge of Marina Del Rey harbor, overlooks marinas and ocean. If you’re visiting in the summer, bring a picnic and enjoy the outdoor concerts every Thursday and Saturday night, or a free outdoor movie.
Whether you’re after a home base on the beach for a trip to LA, or prefer to focus on beachside activities, Marina Del Rey seems like the right place to set up camp. Enjoy!