At the section of sand known as Muscle Beach you can watch the latest Arnie-wannabees pump iron and give an open-air master-class in how to deliver a pounding to an array of gym equipment. Or, if you're feeling brave, you can buy a day pass and show off your own six-pack!
In 1905, Abbot Kinney, the father of Venice Beach, built a breakwater to protect his amusement pier. And so was born one of LA's favourite surfing spots, complete with waves breaking on both sides. With several local surf schools ready to show you the ropes, there's no excuse not to try out some boarding action on Venice Beach holidays.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Frequently cited as one of the coolest shopping streets in America, Abbot Kinney Boulevard, a few blocks back from the ocean front, is where hipsters some in search of vintage clothing, cutting-edge labels and designer homeware. Get with the in-crowd and make sure you take home a souvenir. It's a happening place for restaurants and night-life, too.
Albert Kinney's original vision for his 'Venice of America' included 16 miles of canals plus gondolas to travel along them. The dream never quite came true and many of the canals were filled in during the late 1920s due to engineering problems. Some have now been restored however, and a wander through this peaceful area provides quiet respite from the relentless pace of the boardwalk.
You can walk or cycle straight along Ocean Front Boulevard to the three-mile-long stretch of beach at Santa Monica. This is a pedestrian-friendly place, good for shopping, café-culture and museums. Make a beeline for its iconic pier, complete with rides, amusements and a nine-storey Ferris wheel.