Family Vacations in California

Family Vacations in California: Venice Beach

The epicenter of California cool, Venice Beach waves attract surfers and sunworshipers.

The Los Angeles neighborhood of Venice and its fabulous beach were once home to Ocean Park, a Coney Island-like amusement pier that attracted throngs of fun-seekers. While the park went out of business in the 1960s, Venice Beach has remained a magnet for people from all walks of life.

Venice was founded in the 20th century and was named and modeled after Italy's Venice. Its three-mile beach is in many ways an afterthought. A few people come for the sand and surf, but many more come to shop, talk, or just wander and people-watch. The beach's boardwalk is the heart and soul of California cool, with merchants hocking an array of eclectic art, cheap sunglasses, souvenir T-shirts, and much, much more.

Venice Beach has been called the "Roller Skating Capital of the World"; it's fronted by a skating and bicycling path that runs along California's coastline, uninterrupted for 22 miles. There's also Gold's Gym, the famous outdoor weightlifting hotspot commonly called "Muscle Beach." Perhaps Mike Bonin, a staff member for the Los Angeles City Council, put it best: "There's lots special about Venice. It is internationally recognized as a place of free expression, diversity, tolerance, and incredible artistic talent. Not to mention funky weirdness."

Venice Beach Information

Address: 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA

Telephone: 310/399-2775

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Los Angeles City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit Los Angeles.
  • California State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in California, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.