Malibu

More than just the preferred address of the rich and famous, Malibu has 21 miles of coastline with some of the finest beaches in Southern California.

Leo Carrillo A 1.5-mile-long state beach, Leo Carrillo has tidal pools, reefs and caves along the water's edge and Wi-Fi access around the park visitors' center.

Nicholas Canyon A smaller, handicap-accessible county beach, Nicholas Canyon has restrooms, showers, 151 parking spaces and a food truck during the summer.

Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach Part of the eponymous state park, Meyer Memorial includes a string of three small cove beaches, El Pescador, La Piedra and El Matador. Harder to reach but picturesque, they have picnic benches, restrooms and parking spaces on the bluffs.

Zuma A favorite with Pepperdine kids and Malibu residents, Zuma is a postcard-perfect county beach with restrooms, showers, volleyball nets, food concessions and 2,025 parking spaces.

Check out: Nautica Malibu Triathlon, Sept. 14, (818) 707-8867, nauticamalibutri.com

Point Dume A scenic county beach with tidal pools and rocky outcroppings suitable for winter whale-watching, Point Dume has picnic tables, restrooms, showers and 373 parking spaces.

Dan Blocker A thin county beach adjacent to residential areas, there's no parking lot but it does have lifeguard service and portable toilets.

Malibu Surfrider Malibu's main beach adjoining the town pier, it has volleyball nets, restrooms, showers and 90 parking spots.

Check out: 16th annual Call to the Wall Longboard Surfing Contest, July 21-22, malibuboardriders.com.

Las Tunas A thin strip of highway-adjacent beach used mostly by surfers, Las Tunas also attracts swimmers and anglers.

Topanga Scenic if a little rocky, Topanga Beach has picnic areas, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, showers and 96 parking spaces.

Will Rogers A popular beach abutting Gladstone's restaurant at the northern tip of the Marvin Braude bicycle path, Will Rogers has volleyball nets, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, showers and 1,832 parking spaces.

Santa Monica

The city maintains its own 2-mile stretch of beach, with its famous pier and Pacific Park amusement center, plus volleyball and basketball nets, bicycle and running paths, picnic areas, and plenty of nearby shops and restaurants.

Check out: Copa Cabana Beach Soccer Tournament, a coed tourney of Brazilian-style beach soccer teams featuring members of the Brazilian and U.S. national teams, June 7-8, 1550 Pacific Coast Highway parking lot, copa. Also: Twilight Dance Series, a series of free concerts at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, opens June 26, Santa Monica Pier Parking Lot, twilightdance. Santa Monica Drive-In at the Pier, opens at 7 p.m. Thursdays, runs Sept. 6-27, santamonicapier

Venice

A deep, expansive beach with perhaps the busiest and most colorful boardwalk on the West Coast, Venice Beach also offers volleyball, basketball and handball courts, picnic areas, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, showers, bicycle and skate rental shops servicing the winding bike path, 971 parking spaces and a pier jutting from the bar-soaked end of Washington Boulevard.