Venice Beach

California, U.S.A.

Starfish Rating of 5

Claim to Fame

Forward-thinking local government has created numerous features, including the breakwater and special services for people in wheelchairs. Venice Beach is where Jim Morrison met up with Ray Manzarek and formed The Doors of rock fame, and is home to Lindsay Lohan. The late comic, George Carlin, lived here.

(click image to enlarge)
image courtesy of Bev Sykes
  • Where is it?a west-side neighborhood of Los Angeles on the Pacific Ocean
  • Coordinates: latitude» 33.9908°
    longitude» -118.459°
  • Water Type: saltwater
  • Climate: subtropical
  • Development: heavily built-up area, part of major city
  • Length of Beach: 3m/4.8km
  • Type: beige sand
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Once known as “Venice of America” this suburb of Los Angeles was built, beginning in 1905, on recovered marshlands, with the intention that it was to have the same canals as Venice, Italy. It does, except for the far newer buildings that flank them.

With a population of 41,000, it is both revered for its innovative people and regarded as a bit of a circus, with a skateboard park, amusement park on the pier, and endless activities on the beach, in the town and in the water. Not a place for peace and quiet, but great fun!

The boardwalk runs parallel to the beach alongside a green space, grassed and lined with palm trees. Here people walk, jog, skateboard, rollerblade and busk. It’s a hive of happenings, with a superb view of the mountains just across the water.

The beach is manicured daily and kept in excellent condition for the sports that take place on the sand: volleyball, soccer, football and Frisbee. The big thing here is surfing, better in winter than summer when up to 7-foot point-break waves make this a top-notch ride.

Featured in literally hundreds of movies and television shows, it's a great backdrop to almost any show that demands a vibrant scene. The 1300-foot long pier was closed in 1963 because it was in rough shape, but local efforts came through and it reopened to great acclaim in 1997, better than ever.

The Venice Beach breakwater is an artificial barrier that was built by creating a sandbar flanked with large rocks; as a result of this, Venice Beach is the only location in the United States where waves break on both sides. Being sheltered on the north side, the area is protected and ideal for the many surfers and beach fans who flock here year-round.

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