Photo by Melissa Emmons Photography
Los Angeles is located in California on the southwestern coast of the United States. This city is the most populated city in California, the second-most populated city in the United States, and the third-most populated city in North America. Los Angeles is known for its culture, entertainment, outdoor recreation, geographic diversity, and agreeable climate.
Situated in between the San Gabriel Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Los Angeles stretches out across an expansive coastal plain. In this scenic city, you will find inland valleys, canyons, mountains, deserts, forests, coastal wetlands, rivers, lakes, and an immense ocean coast. In addition to the Pacific Ocean, there are three rivers that pass through the Los Angeles county: the Santa Clara River, the Los Angeles River, and the San Gabriel River.
With over 120 kilometers (75 miles) of coastline and over 100 beaches, Los Angeles is the perfect place to get your toes wet. The city features plenty of island, coastal, and inland swimming spots.
Catalina Island has sandy beaches with gentle waves, and it can be reached by boat in about an hour, or by helicopter in about fifteen minutes. Coastal beaches tend to be long, wide, and sandy, or narrow and rocky with sea caves, hidden coves, and striking rock formations to explore. Inland, waterfalls, rivers, creeks, and swimming holes are great places to cool down after a hike.
Los Angeles’ public transportation network (which is comprised of subways, light-rail, buses, and shuttles) is a convenient way to get around, and many beaches have street parking for those traveling by car.
The City of Los Angeles Environmental Monitoring Division, County of Los Angeles Department of Health Services, and Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County test beach water either weekly or five days per week. The Council for Watershed Health tests freshwater swimming areas about one a week during the summer. The frequency of water quality monitoring depends on the jurisdiction, but most popular beaches are monitored five times a week.
Los Angeles Waterkeeper updates the water quality data on Swim Guide for over 60 beaches on California's coast with the help of staff and trained volunteers. California Coastkeeper Alliance joins 12 local Waterkeeper programs to advocate for swimmable, drinkable, fishable water.
Beaches in Los Angeles are renowned for surfing. Other popular activities include kitesurfing, parasailing, bodyboarding, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Swimmers, snorkelers, scuba divers, and skin divers will also feel at home amongst magical kelp forests and fascinating marine life to discover.
The Los Angeles County Lifeguards patrol the city’s coast. Not only are they the largest professional lifeguard group globally, they were also the inspiration for the series Baywatch. Many beaches in Los Angeles have lifeguards, such as Westward Beach (where Baywatch was filmed), Topanga County Beach, and Las Tunas County Beach.
Onshore, playing beach volleyball, sunbathing, shore and surf fishing, and exploring tidal pools are wonderful ways to get acquainted with the beauty of Los Angeles’ coast. Laguna Beach is an especially good place to investigate sea caves and tidal pools.
Paths and boardwalks by the beach are favoured spots for walking, jogging, biking, rollerblading, and skateboarding. The Venice Beach Boardwalk in particular is world-famous for its street performers, Muscle Beach, skatepark, and bohemian spirit. Inland, hiking trails and camping spots near the water invite a longer stay.
Climate in Los Angeles
Seasons in Los Angeles are characterized by precipitation, though the city is much more sunny than it is rainy. The dry, warm season goes from April to November, and the wet, cooler season goes from November to April. This city is warmest in August, with an average high of 29 °C (84 °F). Coastal temperatures are often cooler than inner city temperatures. In August, the ocean temperature is about 20 °C (68 °F).
Los Angeles’ waters are threatened by wastewater discharges into the ocean, stormwater runoff, and industrial pollution. Los Angeles Waterkeeper works towards creating a healthy coastline by preventing pollution and oil spills, protecting species at risk, and addressing the city’s water pollution and supply problems.
Swim Guide shares the best information we have at the moment you ask for it. Always obey signs at the beach or advisories from official government agencies. Stay alert and check for other swimming hazards such as dangerous currents and tides. Please report your pollution concerns so Affiliates can help keep other beach-goers safe. Swim Guide, "Swim Drink Fish icons," and associated trademarks are owned by SWIM DRINK FISH CANADA. See Legal.
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