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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Viola

The Most Instagrammable Beaches in Los Angeles California: LA's Best Beaches for Photography

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

I recently decided to move to Lake Tahoe after living in Los Angeles for 6 years. I have to admit that I struggled a bit with the decision to leave L.A because let's be honest; Los Angeles is hard to beat in terms of its weather, location, and of course..its plethora of beautiful beaches. I ultimately decided to make the move to Tahoe but before I hit the road, I wanted to compile and share with you a list of what I consider to be some of the best beaches in Los Angeles.

Of course when I say "best" what I mean is most photogenic or dare I say it "insta-worthy". The beaches on this list are all excellent photo locations, each for their own unique reasons. And hey, although this post was written with photography in mind, if you're not big on snapping photos and are just looking for some great beaches to explore in LA, you'll still enjoy this list..

From Malibu to Palos Verdes here are 9 of the most photogenic beaches in Los Angeles California (in no particular order).


1. El Matador State Beach

El Matador Beach sea arch at sunset
El Matador sea arch
Aerial view of El Matador Beach in Malibu California
Aerial view of El Matador Beach

Located right off the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, El Matador Beach is known for its dramatic rock formations, sea arches, and all-around rugged beauty. Not too long ago El Matador was considered to be a hidden gem in Malibu, but that's not the case anymore. Word of its beauty has gotten out amongst the masses and it's now one of Malibu's most popular beaches. Of course if you are strategic about it (i.e. don't visit on weekends) you can avoid the crowds.

A distinguishing feature of El Matador is its keyhole sea arch [see first image]. It might be a little tough (although not impossible) to capture the arch without people walking into your shot, especially on weekends during sunset. There are also some lesser-known sea caves on the north end of the beach that are accessible during low tide. Read more about this section of the beach here.

The best time to photograph El Matador Beach is at sunset during low tide. If you come during high tide there won't be much beach left for you to shoot.

Extra Photo Tip: El Matador is a perfect setting to capture those dreamy long exposure shots so be sure to bring a tripod and Neutral Density filter.

Where: El Matador State Beach, Malibu California


2. Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach Pier during low tide at sunset
Manhattan Beach Pier at low tide
Manhattan Beach Pier at sunset

Manhattan Beach: a.k.a. the ritzy beach town in the South Bay. Manhattan Beach features two miles of sandy beach but the focal point is the Manhattan Beach Pier. Fun Fact: the Manhattan Beach Pier is the oldest pier on the entire west coast. Aside from that, it happens to be a stellar and quite popular photography location. Come here at sunset and you'll see a good amount of photogs with their tripods shooting around the pier. Surfers can often be spotted catching waves near the pier as well.

Sunset is a particularly beautiful time, especially at low tide when you can capture a clear reflection of the pier off the wet sand as the tide goes out.

Extra Photo Tip: You can capture a pretty epic shot directly underneath the pier during low tide at sunset [see first image]. I would recommend using a long-exposure setting.

Where: Manhattan Beach Pier, Manhattan Beach California


3. Venice Beach

Hot pink sunset in Venice Beach California

Venice Beach Boardwalk at sunset in Venice Beach California

girl rollerblading in Venice Beach California at sunset