Manhattan Beach CA

Even though the beaches I grew up on where quiet, undeveloped and relatively wild, there’s something strangely appealing to me about the busy, urban beaches of Southern California. Like Manhattan Beach, in the busiest coastal metropolis of all: Los Angeles. I think it’s the strong sunshine and the iconic life saving towers. The perfect smooth pale yellow sand that, despite it’s urban location, is never polluted with rubbish, or even seaweed. The bike paths and the surfers. The palm trees and the beachfront gardens. It’s the fact that people here get to live right on these beaches. And lots of and lots of them.

Two men rinse their bare feet, washing the sand off, outside a toilet block on the beach with palm trees, houses and large power lines behind them, Manhattan Beach, CaliforniaA blue lifeguard tower on the beach with all the tools of the lifeguard: rescue surfboard, flippers and the iconic red floatation device, ready for action, Manhattan Beach, California

Two men rinse their bare feet, washing the sand off, outside a toilet block on the beach with palm trees, houses and large power lines behind them; A blue lifeguard tower on the beach with all the tools of the lifeguard: rescue surfboard, flippers and the iconic red floatation device, ready for action.

A couple ride their bikes in the sunshine along a concrete path on the sand, with relief wave shapes on the concrete wall beside them, Manhattan Beach, California

A couple ride their bikes in the sunshine along a concrete path on the sand, with relief wave shapes on the concrete wall beside them.

Children play on swings and families ride bikes along the sandy beachfront, with hilly streets jammed with houses, cars and large power lines just behind them, Manhattan Beach, CaliforniaSwerving tyre tracks in the sand from a lifeguard rescue car, leading towards the lifeguard tower on the smoggy beach, Manhattan Beach, California

Children play on swings and families ride bikes along the sandy beachfront, with hilly streets jammed with houses, cars and large power lines just behind them; Swerving tyre tracks in the sand from a lifeguard rescue car, leading towards the lifeguard tower on the smoggy beach.

A big commercial airplane takes off from LAX over the beachfront houses, large power lines and beach volleyball courts on the sand, Manhattan Beach, California

A big commercial airplane takes off from LAX over the beachfront houses, large power lines and beach volleyball courts on the sand.

Looking over coastal grasses and white roses to the surf lifeguard tower on the sand, with yellow rescue car parked beside it and the American flag fluttering in the ocean breeze, Manhattan Beach, California

Looking over coastal grasses and white roses to the surf lifeguard tower on the sand, with yellow rescue car parked beside it and the American flag fluttering in the ocean breeze.

A red hibiscus with green leaves growing in the strong sunshine on the beachfront, Manhattan Beach, CaliforniaThe road comes to an end when it hits the beach, with three silhouetted palm trees, a lifeguard tower, and the shimmering ocean, Manhattan Beach, California

A red hibiscus with green leaves growing in the strong sunshine on the beachfront; The road comes to an end when it hits the beach, with three silhouetted palm trees, a lifeguard tower, and the shimmering ocean.

A couple ride their bikes along the concrete path on the edge of the sand, looking up at the beachfront houses with their palm trees, Manhattan Beach, California

A couple ride their bikes along the concrete path on the edge of the sand, looking up at the beachfront houses with their palm trees.

Houses line a hilly street leading up from the beach, with a mess of power lines above, a smoggy blue sky, and a couple crossing the road near the top of the hill, Manhattan Beach, CaliforniaLooking through the gate, between two beachfront houses, to a palm tree and the sparkling ocean, Manhattan Beach, California

Houses line a hilly street leading up from the beach, with a mess of power lines above, a smoggy blue sky, and a couple crossing the road near the top of the hill; Looking through the gate, between two beachfront houses, to a palm tree and the sparkling ocean.

Looking through a beachfront garden with yellow and red flowers to a group of friends playing beach volleyball on the sand, with the white sails of a yacht on the ocean behind, Manhattan Beach, California

Looking through a beachfront garden with yellow and red flowers to a group of friends playing beach volleyball on the sand, with the white sails of a yacht on the ocean behind.

A small American flag planted among roses in a beach front garden, with the sand and ocean behind, Manhattan Beach, CaliforniaA black scooter parked near the beach with a rack on the side for carrying a surfboard, Manhattan Beach, California

A small American flag planted among roses in a beach front garden, with the sand and ocean behind; A black scooter parked near the beach with a rack on the side for carrying a surfboard.

A unique set-up, with a public walking path between the beachfront houses and their even more beachfront gardens, Manhattan Beach, California

A unique set-up, with a public walking path between the beachfront houses and their even more beachfront gardens.

Looking over foreshore grasses to a group of friends playing beach volleyball on the sand, the ball high in the air, with an empty beach and unattended lifeguard tower behind them, Manhattan Beach, California

Looking over foreshore grasses to a group of friends playing beach volleyball on the sand, the ball high in the air, with an empty beach and unattended lifeguard tower behind them.

Peeking in the gate of a high-walled house on the beachfront to see a surfboard just waiting to get down to the beach, Manhattan Beach, California

Peeking in the gate of a high-walled house on the beachfront to see a surfboard just waiting to get down to the beach.

A lush beachfront garden filled with a variety of plants including red and yellow flowers and succulents, Manhattan Beach, CaliforniaA big Chevy truck parked on a hill street that leads up from the beach, with a mess of power lines and power poles casting shadows, Manhattan Beach, California

A lush beachfront garden filled with a variety of plants including red and yellow flowers and succulents; A big Chevy truck parked on a hill street that leads up from the beach, with a mess of power lines and power poles casting shadows.

Two young guys stand on the concrete path at the beach front and watch for waves while a girl sits in outdoor furniture in her garden on the path edge in front of them, Manhattan Beach, California

Two young guys stand on the concrete path at the beach front and watch for waves while a girl sits in outdoor furniture in her garden on the path edge in front of them.

Green succulents on the beachfront with yellow flowers as people ride bikes along the concrete path, with a lifeguard tower on the sand beyond, Manhattan Beach, CaliforniaRows of cars and parking meters on the beachfront, Manhattan Beach, California

Green succulents on the beachfront with yellow flowers as people ride bikes along the concrete path, with a lifeguard tower on the sand beyond; Rows of cars and parking meters on the beachfront.

Looking over white roses planted on the beachfront to a helicopter flying down the beach over the shimmering ocean, Manhattan Beach, California

Looking over white roses planted on the beachfront to a helicopter flying down the beach over the shimmering ocean.

An old van with old surfboards on top parked amongst cars at the beach, with stickers advertising 'learn to surf', Manhattan Beach, California

An old van with old surfboards on top parked amongst cars at the beach, with stickers advertising ‘learn to surf’.

A young guy with no shirt, a backwards baseball cap and a big truck sends a text message, his surfboard and wetsuit on the ground on front of him waiting to hit waves, Manhattan Beach, California

A young guy with no shirt, a backwards baseball cap and a big truck sends a text message, his surfboard and wetsuit on the ground on front of him waiting to hit waves.

Looking over purple and green foreshore vegetation to pale yellow sand and blue ocean, Manhattan Beach, California

Looking over purple and green foreshore vegetation to pale yellow sand and blue ocean.

Despite plenty of space on the beach, a family sit in a close group on the sand beneath beach umbrellas, while a person learns to surf on the very small waves right in front of them, Manhattan Beach, California

Despite plenty of space on the beach, a family sit in a close group on the sand beneath beach umbrellas, while a person learns to surf on the very small waves right in front of them.

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