Beach vacation guide

From all-to-yourself islands to hidden beach towns to iconic coastal experiences, the West has the beach vacation of a lifetime in store for you

30 iconic beach experiences

Ignite your love for the shore with these classic beach icons. From boardwalks to bonfires, here are our favorite ways to dive in

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Family beach day
João Canziani / Getty

Family beach day

“Tucked up against the bluffs, El Matador is great for kids.” —Gabrielle Reece, author of My Foot Is Too Big for the Glass Slipper

Malibu-ites know to skip the Zuma tourist zoo and come to El Matador. Officially one of three beaches that make up Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach—likely to provoke a “Huh?” even from locals—it’s a gem tucked from sight at the foot of sandstone cliffs (and accessed by a dirt trail and stairway).

10 miles up the coast from Malibu on Pacific Coast Hwy. between Broad Beach and Decker Canyon Roads; $8 per vehicle;




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