Venice, Santa Monica or Malibu - which beach is best?

One of the best things about living in Southern California is its proximity to the beach. Some of the world's most beautiful and pristine shorelines are located mere minutes from LA's popular neighborhoods, offering summertime fun for kids and adults alike. Whether you're an avid surfer or you just like to soak up the rays, there are few things that are more enjoyable than spending an afternoon by the waves.

With dozens of beaches to choose from, sometimes the hardest part of hitting the shores is picking where to go. If you're looking for real estate in Los Angeles and you want to be close to the water, you'll want to know where should you be focusing your search. We'll help you decide from between three of LA's best beach towns.

Venice
Venice is one of Los Angeles' trendiest neighborhoods, with hip eateries, fun shopping and plenty of out-of-the-box activities such as tattoo parlors. With three miles of pristine shoreline to enjoy, Venice is the perfect place to take advantage of the area's 330 days of sunshine a year. The boardwalk is lined with fortune tellers, performers and musicians, making this area a fun place to go for some people-watching.

The average home price in Venice hovers around $878,000, making this community surprisingly affordable as Los Angeles waterfront real estate goes. If you want to live close to Venice without paying a premium for ocean views, you may also consider the nearby neighborhoods of Mar Vista and Culver City.

Santa Monica
Located just north of Venice, Santa Monica is one of LA's most famous neighborhoods, thanks to its popularity with the stars. It's also the home of the celebrated Santa Monica Pier, home to amusement park rides, a giant Ferris wheel and delicious carnival food. The Third Street Promenade offers fun shopping and dining, and a local farmer's market gives residents an easy way to grab delicious goodies for the whole family.

Of course, all of these amazing activities don't come cheap. The average home price in Santa Monica is just above $896,000 - not exorbitant by beach-front standards, but certainly not inexpensive for families on a budget.

Malibu
It's impossible to think of Los Angeles beaches without thinking about Malibu. This famous town is known for its blonde beauties, tan hunks and gorgeous real estate - with homes selling for upwards of $1 million, on average.

For those looking for unparalleled luxury and beauty in the heart of Southern California, you simply can't beat Malibu.