Santa Monica, Venice, and Malibu
When many people from around the world think of “L.A.,” what they’re really picturing are the beach communities skirting the coastline to the west and Los Angeles proper to the east. Some of the most famous (and most expensive) real estate in the world sits on this stretch of sand and earth. Of the communities that call the northern coast of L.A. County home, the focal points are Malibu to the north, Santa Monica, then Venice to the south.
Malibu doesn’t look like a town or a city in the conventional sense. If you’re searching for the historic downtown or the town center, give up. There isn’t one. Instead, the “town” of Malibu stretches for more than 20 miles, hugging the beach the whole way.
A few huge homes perch precariously on the mountains rising up over the coastline, also part of Malibu. Many beach-loving superstars make their homes here, and the price of a beach house can easily exceed $20 million.
A few more liberal and social stars prefer to purchase from among the closely packed dwellings of Venice Beach. A bastion of true California liberal-mindedness and the home of several famous landmarks, Venice might be the perfect (if expensive) place to take a movie-style L.A. beach vacation.
Santa Monica comes as close to a community of moderate means as you’ll find in this region. With its fun-but-not-fancy pier, its inexpensive off-beach motels, and a huge variety of delicious inexpensive dining options, Santa Monica is a great choice for a family vacation.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition