Hit the Beach

Hit the Beach

If you’re living in or visiting the San Fernando Valley during the late summer, nothing beats the heat like a trip down to the water. In good traffic, it’s only about 20-30 minutes from most San Fernando Valley neighborhoods out to the coast by car, and the beachside communities offer up a variety of ways to spend a day on the sand.

For good family fun and adventure, head down to the beach in Santa Monica. The Santa Monica Pier offers up a variety of fun activities from fishing, to old fashioned rides and games, to great eating options from fast food to fabulous. Visit www.santamonicapier.org to find out about everything you can see and do on your visit. Just down the steps from the pier, you’ll find long stretches of white sand. Bring a blanket and a picnic and spend the day playing in the water. If you get tired of the coastline action, you can head up to nearby Third Street Promenade, which is a pedestrian-only street, lined with great shops, restaurants and movie theaters. If you’re craving a little physical fitness, bring your running shoes, roller blades or bike and head up and down the boardwalk, it stretches for miles in both directions so you’ll have plenty of pavement to work with.

For a more eclectic beachside adventure, head just a bit south of Santa Monica to Venice Beach, a well-known stretch, famous for it’s vendors, artists and eclectic individuals who line the boardwalk. Besides the vendors who set up outside along the path, there are numerous permanent storefronts hawking everything from clothing and sunglasses to services like piercings and tattoos.

If it’s a quite day near the water that you’re after, head up a little further north, to Malibu and it’s environs. Beaches like Point Dume, Zuma and Leo Carillo offer a more scenic and less commercial beach experience. Pick a spot and your favorite book and chill out. And if you get hungry, head to either The Reel Inn (www.reelinnmalibu.com) or Neptune’s Net (www.neptunesnet.com). Both offer a casual beachfront dining experience and some of the best fresh fish around. Finish the day with a leisurely drive down the Pacific Coast Hwy to watch the sun set before you head back to the Valley.