Off to the beach: Venice Beach, Malibu and Santa Monica

Anne and Clemens travelled around the world with the Round The World ticket of the Star Alliance. After a few days in downtown L.A., it was time for the two to get out of the city and breathe the sea air on the beaches of Malibu, Venice Beach and Santa Monica.

Downtown Los Angeles, 8am. Tired we peel out of the eiderdowns of our hotel bed. After days of sightseeing between the Sunset Strip and Hollywood Boulevard, today in the American city of 4 million people is supposed to be different, namely quieter and more relaxed. But first coffee! And we get it in style where thousands and thousands of locals get it: around the corner at The Coffee Bean. Because there, you can get your breakfast at the Drive Thru, which means you can drive by in your own car. Read more about the topic here:

Out of the city and towards the sea

Catered for with Grande Latte, muffins and Cream Danish, the journey continues on the freeway and into the middle of the permanent traffic jam for which Los Angeles is so famous. Left, right, wherever you look: cars. And that over ten to twelve lanes. Often so many driveways, exits, bridges, freeways, highways and other roads pass you at the same time that you get dizzy. Unless you’re stuck in a traffic jam. Like us. So radio on, biscuits in your mouth and one hand on the steering wheel. You don’t have to shift gears, but we have an automatic transmission, like almost every car in the US.

Switch off on the beach in Malibu and Santa Monica
Our destination today: the famous beaches off the coast of Los Angeles, which line up along the Pacific like a string of pearls, including such illustrious names as Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice Beach. We want to get out of the big city jam, we’ve had enough of the hectic rush, the endlessly wide streets, the extra-large pick-ups and yes, the almost endless traffic jams – so far the plan. And indeed, after about half an hour of stop-and-go, we suddenly find ourselves in flowing traffic. And with every kilometre we approach the ocean, suddenly the traffic seems to get less and less and the pleasantly warm air that comes in through the half-open car window seems to be fresher.

Malibu: More than Baywatch and buxom blondes
First we want to go to Malibu, to the beach that became world famous in the 1990s through “Baywatch” with David Hasselhof: the TV series with trained lifeguards and busty lifeguard girls. But first, after a short drive through a tunnel, the freeway turns directly into the famous Highway No. 1 (actually California State Route 1), the legendary coastal road that connects L.A. with San Francisco. And already we see it, the Pacific Ocean. Deep blue it builds up in front of us, only separated from us by an extremely wide sandy beach. After one and a half hours in the car we reach Malibu and only have to find a parking space. But as it turns out, this is not so easy. As the only parking places that can be found cost barely 20 euros per day, we unceremoniously park on the parking place of a big American burger chain and stroll over to the beach.

A little tip: parking in a half-legal or illegal way is consequently pursued in the USA. Possible parking tickets are sent to Germany via car rental companies; if a re-entry into the USA should not fail, they should be paid (the fastest and cheapest way is to use a credit card on site).

Surfrider Beach Malibu: dream waves for beginners and professionals
Our favorite beach is located directly between the Malibu Pier and the Malibu Lagoon: the Surfrider Beach. This popular sandy beach is not only great for spending a day in the sun, but also for riding perfect waves while surfing. Those who do not surf can also play a game of beach volleyball, as a net is available. The beach is always guarded by lifeguards and the swimming and surfing zones are separated by flags.

Malibu Pier: Dining with view to the beach

Such a long journey must be rewarded, we think, with a meal at the Malibu Farm Restaurant (23000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu). This restaurant is located, very stylish, in the middle of the Malibu Pier. From here you not only have an unforgettable view of the wide Malibu Beach and the surfers in the Pacific Ocean, but also best entertainment by the numerous seagulls. They fly wildly screeching around you and try to get some of the food. No chance, we are not willing to share our salad and sandwiches today.

Tips for Malibu Beach: Here are the best parking places
Parking is not easy at Malibu Beach. A good parking tip for Malibu are the many restaurants. For example, at the height of the shopping centre Cross Creek and/or the Malibu Country Mart there are always a lot of parking places from which one can walk straight to some shops, restaurants and the Surfrider Beach. The parking places here are indeed free but also not perfect for a day at the beach, as meanwhile, the security forces here pay a lot of attention to the fact if the cars really belong to the customers of the mall. It is probably time to bite the bullet and park directly at the beach for 20 USD.

Venice Beach: Daring skaters
Heated up by the sun, after the small refreshment, we continue south to Venice Beach. Yet another place that its reputation precedes. Venice, the dream beach of all dreamers and life artists, all free thinkers and creative people. …and all those who have never given up on the American Dream. Or did they? While strolling along the Venice Beach Boardwalk (1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice) with a view of the beach and extensive green spaces, we are admittedly only moderately convinced of the image that the small beach town offers us. Instead of artists and cheerful people, we encounter numerous homeless people, ramshackle vagrants and visible drug addicts.

Fortunately, there are still the skaters and their huge skate bowls on the beach (Venice Skate Park, 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice). These are bowl-shaped concrete structures that have been embedded into the ground in such a way that they are perfect for skateboarding. A handful of talented young skaters and the forefathers of the skate cult are joined at any time of day by countless onlookers who reward every successful action with applause. Or even with a loud murmur when one of the skaters spectacularly lands on the bottom of his pants.

Off to the beach: Venice Beach, Malibu and Santa Monica
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