Spending the day at the beach during summer seems like a dream, but instead of just going in the ocean, why not explore the city? You might be surprised by what you will discover…

Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica 90401
Santa Monica Beach is great for families as well as college students. It’s a prime destination for anyone looking to have a fun and relaxing day.

In regards to the Santa Monica Pier, the rides, like the rollercoaster and Ferris wheel, and games will entice any tourist or local.

Bay Cities
1517 Lincoln Blvd.
Santa Monica

Bay Cities is a local deli with amazing sandwiches. It’s located just shy of 10 minutes away from Santa Monica Beach. The people working there are super friendly and make the sandwiches pretty quick if you happen to be starving or in a rush. After you purchase some delicious sandwiches, get in your car and drive back to the beach to enjoy a relaxing lunch looking out at the ocean. Just be careful of the seagulls; they will swoop in and steal your food when you’re not looking!

Chicken Salad Sandwich: Even if you’re not a big fan of chicken, you’ll find this sandwich fresh, tasty and filling.

3rd Street Promenade
1351 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica

3rd Street Promenade is not your typical mall in terms of location. The promenade is a strip filled with different clothing stores, restaurants and free live entertainment. The selection of stores includes Adidas, H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch and more, but any savvy shopper can find a good deal anywhere.

12001 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey 90293
Relax, go for a swim, read a book or just tan at Dockweiler Beach. If you’re visiting the beach at night, use any of its many fire pits, and make s’mores while looking up at the stars. If you happen to forget to pick up the necessary supplies to make the s’mores, there is a local Ralphs located at 500 N. Sepulveda Blvd. in El Segundo.

Carroll Ct & Eastern Canal Ct: But before heading over to Dockweiler Beach, check out the Venice Canals, the perfect place for a picnic date. This quaint little part of Venice mimics the design of Italy’s canals. You can read a book, take a nap or play with ducks as you take in the sights and sounds.

Britt’s BBQ
408 Main Street
El Segundo

This cozy little restaurant leaves visitors wanting more thanks to its delicious steak, tri-tip and baby back ribs. This restaurant is located not too far from Dockweiler, and Main Street offers plenty of free street parking.

Baby Back Ribs: When you receive the full slab of ribs, you’ll be surprised by how much meat is on each bone. The ribs are cooked to perfection, and the original sauce is to die for.

Pulled-Pork Sandwich: While some restaurants make pulled-pork sandwiches that are too dry and rough, Britt’s sandwich is moist and tender. Add extra BBQ sauce to make the sandwich even tastier.

1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice 90291
Venice Beach offers a little bit of everything for everyone, including swimming, shopping, skating and exercise. Just keep in mind this beach tends to get a little bit “tourist heavy” during the summer, so try to arrive early to find parking close to the beach.

The Boardwalk: The boardwalk has tons of bars, shops, live entertainment and street art. You can find some good deals on sunglasses, shirts, sandals and clothing accessories. Most of the shops are little stands and shacks with different products for sale. I was able to buy two pairs of sunglasses, a tank top and board shorts for a total of $35. Most of the live performances are street acts, and it’s nice to stroll the boardwalk while listening to the sweet sounds of jazz playing in the background.

Muscle Beach: Muscle Beach is a small outdoor exercise facility where you can break a sweat while looking at the ocean views. The people that work out here are mostly body builders, physical trainers and gym enthusiasts, so it’s more about working out than checking someone out.

Venice Skate park: This is great for college skaters who just want to chill and hang out with their friends. It’s also fun to just look at the different people coming together at such an iconic L.A. place. The park is a decent size, but it always gets overcrowded as the day goes on.

For skaters, check out Jay’s Rentals, where you can rent skateboards for $5 an hour or $20 a day.

C & O Trattoria
31 Washington Blvd.
Marina del Rey

This Italian restaurant has amazing décor perfect for a date or anniversary. When you enter, you’ll feel as if you’ve been magically transported to Italy.

Rigtoni Al Forno: This dish is baked rigatoni with a rich meat sauce, pureed spinach and ricotta, topped with melted mozzarella cheese. The rigatoni and spinach went hand and hand—it’s very delizioso!

Manhattan Beach 90266
This beach is quite large and has clean sand that hasn’t been riddled with burnt seaweed and flies. It’s serene and not populated with too many tourists, but it’s also not completely deserted. You can enjoy walking along the pier, looking at the ocean or people fishing. This beach is perfect for a date or group outing.

Surfing: Manhattan Beach is a very good beach for surfers looking to catch some good waves. Check out the El Porto Surf Shop (3804 Highland Ave.) to rent a surfboard all day for $30, a wetsuit for $10 or a body board for $15.

Rock’N Fish
120 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Manhattan Beach

Rock’N Fish is a mix between a bar and a restaurant, with a large collection of alcohol and a staple menu.

Beer Battered Fish and Chips: When restaurants put too much batter on the fish, it’s overwhelming and takes away from the fish’s flavor. However, Rock’N Fish makes a mean fish and chips; it’s certainly one of the best in L.A.

1550 Rosecrans Ave., Ste A
Manhattan Beach

This restaurant resembles a typical steakhouse, with dark-colored walls and dark furniture, but the plates and food are full of color and warmth.

Thai Steak & Noodle Salad
: Containing marinated filet mignon, avocado, mango, pancit noodles and Thai dressing, this dish is creative yet satisfying. The mango is not too sweet and doesn’t overwhelm.

Ahi Tuna Pam-Seared: With avocado, mango, cucumber and honey-lime vinaigrette, this dish is delightful. However, it might be a little too sweet for some.

Malibu 90265
This beach is very secluded and offers some amazing views. Soft sand and giant boulders are scattered all around. Point Dume is a little farther out of Los Angeles, but it’s so worth the drive!

Hiking: To really take in the breathtaking views, hike up the 4-mile-long trail. Just pack some water and snacks for the journey.

The trail I love to go on is Natural Preserve. This trail is not for everyone, so only the intermediate-to-experienced hikers should try it. The views are breathtaking, so make sure you bring a camera!

Tide Pools: There are many tide pools along the beach that contain a variety of marine life such as starfish, sea urchins, clams, mussels, oysters and shrimp.

Whale Watching: Often times, you can see grey whales when they are migrating through the Pacific Ocean. Seeing a marine mammal of that magnitude is beautiful and unforgettable. The whales swim close enough for you to get a good look. There is no tour needed; whale watching is completely free.

Duke’s Malibu
21150 Pacific Coast Hwy

This restaurant offers “oceanside” tables and though the wait may be long, eating here is well worth it! You’ll be blown away by the water’s beauty, and the restaurant’s atmosphere will make you feel as if you’re in Hawaii.

Mango BBQ Burger
: Surprisingly, the mango flavor complements the burger pretty well.

Baja Fish Tacos:
Grilled or beer battered, these tacos are fresh, and Duke’s original guacamole is wonderful.