The Best Film & TV Beach Locations in LA

Neptune’s Net | Photo courtesy of carlfbagge, Flickr

Thanks to its famous sunny weather, LA’s scenic coastline is an ideal destination any time of the year. Los Angeles is home to iconic seaside filming locations like Pirate’s Cove and Paradise Cove, but there are countless other oceanfront spots to discover. Read on for a list of ten coastal locations that have appeared in movies and TV series.

Neptune’s Net | Photo courtesy of carlfbagge, Flickr

"The Fast and the Furious" - Neptune’s Net

One of LA’s most famous beachside restaurants is a tiny shack-like eatery known as Neptune’s Net. It was originally established as Jake’s Diner in 1958 by an aerodynamicist named Eastman Jacobs. The seafood spot has only changed hands twice since its inception - first in 1974, when it was purchased by Paul and Dolly Seay (who doubled the space and renamed it Neptune’s Net), and in 1991, when it was sold to Michelle Lee and her husband, Chong Sun. Besides the name change and expansion from almost four decades ago, as well as a patio addition in the early 90s, very little of the landmark has been altered. Neptune’s Net offers a unique dining experience. Patrons choose their own fresh shellfish from the restaurant’s tanks and hand it to the cooks, who steam it for them on the spot.

Besides being a celeb hangout (Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Michelle Pfeiffer and Cameron Diaz are all fans), Neptune’s Net is also a popular filming location. Its most famous onscreen appearance is in The Fast and the Furious (2001). In a scene filmed at Neptune’s Net, undercover cop Brian O’Conner (played by Paul Walker) tells hijacker Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) that he wants in on the action. The restaurant also appears in Losin’ It, Point Break, People Like Us, So Little Time, Gossip Girl and The Hills. For the filming of Iron Man 3, which took place in Florida, the exterior of an existing Dania Beach restaurant was altered to look like Neptune’s Net.

Capturing the sunset at Leo Carrillo State Beach | Photo: Joseph Voves, Flickr

"Grease" - Leo Carrillo State Park

At the beginning of the 1978 classic Grease, summer lovers Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) get friendly in the sand at Leo Carrillo State Park. The 1.5-mile coastline, which features rocky cliffs, reefs, tide pools and caves, has been immortalized on screen countless times over the years. Named after actor and conservationist Leo Carrillo, the beach is also where Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) meets Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) and later learns balance in The Karate Kid. In She’s All That, Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook) hangs out there with Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and his popular friends. Most recently, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and the gang say goodbye to Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) at Leo Carrillo in the bittersweet final scene of Furious 7.

Photo: The Waterfront

"Million Dollar Baby" - The Waterfront

Opened as On the Waterfront Cafe in 1995, the Boardwalk hangout is now The Waterfront, a sun-splashed multi-room space with a lounge, oceanfront bar, beer garden, and back patio. At the beginning of Million Dollar Baby, On the Waterfront Cafe plays the restaurant where Maggie (Hilary Swank) works as a waitress (and takes home her customers’ leftovers).

The world-famous Venice Beach Boardwalk is a bustling coastal marketplace that boasts numerous restaurants, shops, and kiosks. It’s an extremely popular location with filmmakers. Ashley Judd’s house from Heat is at 119 Ocean Front Walk, just north of The Waterfront. Jason Segal’s house from I Love You, Man is located around the corner at 26 Rose Ave. The café where Segal gets into a fight with Lou Ferrigno in the same movie is now Venice Ale House, located at 2 Rose Ave. And the classic Three’s Company opening credits (Seasons 1-3) were shot on the boardwalk near Rose Avenue.

Santa Monica Pier | Photo courtesy of Shabdro Photo, Flickr

"The Net" - Santa Monica Pier

In a gripping scene near the end of the 1995 thriller The Net, Sandra Bullock meets up with a nefarious cyberterrorist who tries to kill her on the Santa Monica Pier. The picturesque structure, which juts out over the Pacific Ocean, was originally built as two separate adjoining piers, one constructed in 1909 and the other in 1916. Today, the landmark site boasts midway games, rides, a Ferris wheel, a historic carousel (as seen in The Sting), restaurants, shops and a viewing deck. The Santa Monica Pier, which marks the western end of historic Route 66, was also featured in Cellular, Forrest Gump, The Majestic, Ruthless People and a Season 1 episode of Modern Family.

El Matador State Beach

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

"The Notebook" - El Matador State Beach

One of LA’s most visually stunning beaches, El Matador State Beach provides the backdrop for the famous “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird” sequence in Nick Cassavetes’ The Notebook. Though most of the 2004 flick was shot in South Carolina, producers chose El Matador’s arresting rocky landscape for the romantic scene between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. El Matador makes two brief appearances in A Lot Like Love and plays the Mexico beach in the closing scene of True Romance. Madonna dances at El Matador in her Cherish music video. Although it’s not the easiest beach to access - beachgoers have to travel down a steep dirt path to reach the sand - El Matador’s sparkling blue waters, large rock formations, scattered boulders and unique caves make it one of LA’s most picturesque sites.

El Segundo Beach | Photo courtesy of carmenmitchell, Flickr

"Point Break" - El Segundo Beach

Typically less crowded than its neighboring beaches, El Segundo Beach boasts volleyball nets, permanent bathrooms (though only open from Memorial Day through Labor Day each year) and is a popular spot to watch planes take off and land from LAX. A 4.7-mile long bike path runs adjacent to the site from Playa del Rey to Manhattan Beach, affording cyclists ocean views as they pedal. El Segundo Beach also boasts an unusual backdrop, thanks to the smoke stacks from the El Segundo Power Plant that flank its western end.

Though many of the ocean side scenes in Point Break were lensed at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu, the sequence in which Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey collect hair samples from local surfers in an attempt to catch the Dead Presidents was shot at El Segundo Beach. The site is a favorite of surfers in real life, too. The beach is also featured in the 2007 horror film 1408.

Photo: Annenberg Community Beach House, Facebook

"Revenge" - Annenberg Community Beach House

The site that is currently known as the Annenberg Community Beach House was originally a five-acre oceanfront property belonging to William Randolph Hearst and his mistress, Marion Davies. The lavish compound was designed in the Georgian Colonial-style by architects Julia Morgan and William Flannery and featured a three-story main house, three detached guest houses, servants quarters, dog kennels, tennis courts and two swimming pools. The couple's legendary parties had guest lists that often numbered in the thousands. Luminaries such as Howard Hughes, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, Carole Lombard, Cary Grant, Winston Churchill, and Gloria Swanson all spent time at the massive estate at one time or another.

The site operated as the popular Sand & Sea Club for decades, then sat vacant and boarded up for years until the city of Santa Monica announced plans to renovate and reopen it as a public beach facility. Renowned philanthropist Wallis Annenberg donated $27.5 million to the cause. During the renovation, all of the remaining original structures from the Hearst days were demolished, except for a 110-foot Italian marble swimming pool and one of the guest homes, now known as the Marion Davies Guest House. The Annenberg Community Beach House opened to the public on April 25, 2009. The site is open daily and is also used as a special events/wedding venue and filming location.

The Annenberg Beach House appears regularly on the television series Revenge as both the South Fork Inn and a swanky beach club. During its days as The Sand & Sea Club, the site masked as the Beverly Hills Beach Club on Beverly Hills, 90210 and the Malibu Sands Beach Club on Saved by the Bell. The Sand & Sea Club also makes a brief appearance in the 1990 movie Side Out.

Westward Beach from Point Dume State Park | Photo: Matt Kieffer, Flickr

"Summer School" - Westward Beach

In the 1987 comedy Summer School, Mark Harmon takes his class on a field trip to one of Southern California’s most popular filming locations, Westward Beach. Harmon shares a kiss with Kirstie Alley on the beach at the end of the movie. Westward Beach is located on the northwestern side of Point Dume and the views of the 200-foot cliff provide the site with a dramatic backdrop. The half-mile long beach, which is also known as Point Dume State Beach, has been home to countless filmings over the years. in a scene from Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore) and Alex (Lucy Liu) first encounter fallen angel Madison Lee (Demi Moore) at Westward Beach. Major Nelson (Larry Hagman) finds Jeannie’s (Barbara Eden) bottle there in the classic I Dream of Jeannie, and Taylor Swift filmed portions of her 22 music video there.

Paddleboarding at Malibu Pier

"Taken 2" - Malibu Pier

After getting her driver’s license at the end of Taken 2, Kim (Maggie Grace) and her father, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), head to Ruby’s Shake Shack on the Malibu Pier to celebrate. The ending of Taken 3 was also shot on the historic 780-foot pier. Ruby’s closed in 2011 and its former space now houses the Malibu Farm Pier Café, a farm-to-table eatery that serves American fare. The pier, which was built in 1905 and overlooks the famed Surfrider Beach, also boasts a gift shop, an observation deck and is a well-known fishing spot. The site also appears in Back to the Beach and Beach Blanket Bingo, as well as in episodes of The Rockford Files and Columbo.

The Marvin Braude Bike Trail at Will Rogers State Beach

 |  Photo: Joshua Johnson

"Valley Girl" - Will Rogers State Beach

While working on her tan at the northern end of Will Rogers State Beach, Julie Richman (Deborah Freeman) first lays eyes on Randy (Nicolas Cage) in the 1983 classic Valley Girl. The beach and its surrounding 186 acres were owned by actor Will Rogers during the 1920s. The state of California purchased the land in 1941 and subsequently turned it into a public beach. The 1.75-mile long shoreline is popular with surfers, swimmers and bikers, who make use of the 22-mile bike trail that begins at the site. Will Rogers also features volleyball courts, a playground and gymnastics facilities. The flat sandy beach appears frequently on the television show Baywatch. Though the series made use of several Southern California coastlines, Will Rogers was its most common filming locale.