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SOS L.A. Guide: Best Beaches and Hiking Trails

Outdoor activities are trending more than ever in the midst of quarantine. As L.A. locals, you probably won’t find us at Venice Beach or Runyon Canyon as they are too touristy and crowded. We compiled a list of our favorite beaches and hiking trails in the greater L.A. area that are lesser known and more suitable to visit during the pandemic. Try to go during the week if you can as the weekend tends to get more traffic.

Beaches

1. Treasure Island Beach, Laguna Beach

A hidden gem with stunning views. Both water and sand are one of the best in the L.A. area. The beach is pretty small so definitely go on week days to avoid crowds and parking nightmare. There are a couple coves like the Middle Man Cove and Goff Cove that are accessible only when tides are low from the main beach. Safety first but if you end up making across the rocks, you’ll have a super private beach.

2. Point Dume State Beach, Malibu

The beach is long and wide, offering plenty of personal space for everyone even on the weekends. There is a restaurant called The Sunset Restaurant right off the Westward Beach that does takeouts and has the most amazing fish tacos and truffles fries. Enjoy the beach with a happy stomach!

3. El Matador State Beach, Malibu

This place has beautiful rock formations and caves if you go during low tides. Perfect spot to watch the sunset and to take photos. Be careful when going down to the beach as the staircase is quite steep.

4. Pirate’s Cove Beach, Corona Del Mar

Tucked away in Corona Del Mar, this little beach cove is the perfect spot to lay out. It can be crowded on the weekends, but usually quiet during the week.

5. The Wedge, Newport Beach

The Wedge is a famous surf spot in Newport Beach that gets a huge swell a few times a year. But when there isn’t a swell, the Wedge is so serene with little crowds! It sits at the very end of a long peninsula, so from the beach you have views of the harbor mouth and all the way over to Corona Del Mar. There is also a beautiful rock jetty you can walk out to get an even better view of Newport.

Hiking Trails

1. Mesa Peak Trail in Corral Canyon, Malibu

This trail is adventurous and enjoyable, homing a garden of sandstone formations and labyrinth. It’s about 6.5 miles round trip and you’ll get a summit moment with great ocean views.

2. Solstice Canyon, Malibu

One of the best in Malibu for a view of the Pacific Ocean and beautiful wildflowers in the Spring. The small waterfall at the top of the loop marks the half way point. Overall it is an easy and family-friendly trail. It’s mostly sunny for the whole loop with little shades so remember to bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen.

3. Escondido Falls, Malibu

Four miles from the Solstice Canyon, this stunning hiking trail is rated the #1 waterfall hike in L.A. area. It is more challenging than the Solstice Canyon loop with some elevation changes but the waterfall is ten times more beautiful.

4. Eaton Canyon, Pasadena

A little bit east but the water moments make it all worth it. You can sit by the boulder and dip your feet in the water. On warmer days people sun bath and get in the water as a nice treat after the hike up. This trail is also dog-friendly so enjoy with your four-legged friend!

5. Elysian Park, Los Angeles

A nice and easy hike that takes you through the hills of Elysian Heights and near Dodger Stadium with a great view of Downtown L.A. The trail is smooth for running and also kid and dog friendly.

6. Los Liones Trail, Topanga State Park

This trail is closer to L.A. compared to most of the Malibu trails, so you can avoid the PCH traffic. The hike is super lush and you can make it as long or as short as you would like, with multiple stopping points along the way to the top. Once at the top, there is a great view of the coastline!

7. Griffith Park Trail

This hike has views from the Hollywood Sign all the way to Downtown. Usually less crowded than the more popular Runyon Canyon hike. Not too difficult of a path and plenty of room for “off-the-trail” hiking!

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