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Ocean Currents

The best beaches for babies

You’ve probably heard, but we must reiterate: the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica is freaking great. It opened last year, with all the fixin’s: an outdoor heated pool (reservations required), a playground, a sprinkler garden, cabanas for rent (20$ for 2 hours), plus a neighboring indoor-outdoor restaurant, Back to the Beach. It’s also free, and has the cleanest potties we’ve ever seen. Parking is $6-$8 a day (depending on the day); spots fill up quickly in the summer months so reserve a space online.
Annenberg Beach House
Will Rogers State Beach
415 Pacific Coast Hwy, Santa Monica
310.458.4904; beachhouse.smgov.net

Know anyone who’s obsessed with airplanes and likes running in wide, open spaces? Yeah, we thought so. LAX is just around the corner from Del Rey Lagoon Park beach in Playa Del Rey, so kids can ooh and aah at the air traffic overhead while scrambling up the dunes. The beach is easy to access by foot, not usually crowded, and offers free parking and bathrooms, to boot. On the downside, there isn’t much shade—or food.
Del Rey Lagoon Park
6660 Esplanade Place, Playa Del Rey

Paradise Cove is hardly a secret, though most people just think of the restaurant. Truth is, the mellow cove is a perfect beach for tots. Parking is steep at $25 a day, but the price gets knocked down to $3 for 4 hours with restaurant validation. There are cabanas for rent ($350-$450/day), which could be great for larger play dates or birthday parties. We like that they are fenced in so little ones can’t run amok.
Paradise Cove
28128 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu
310.457.2503; paradisecovemalibu.com