• Activities:

    Chillin, Photography

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

Bathrooms
Beach
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic

El Matador is home to gorgeous rock formations and caves with amazing sunsets and sunrises. This is also a great place to try different lenses, exposures and action shots.

There's something magical about this strip of beach and it never fails to deliver at sunset. Lined with strange and jagged rock formations/caves, there are endless opportunities for finding unique compositions and new perspectives. Although it's become quite the popular spot for photographers and wedding photos, most people tend to clear out around sunset for some reason. My favorite sunsets here have been when the tide is low and the beach is easier to navigate. That being said, certain spots aren't really accessible by foot when the water level is too high. Either way, you can almost always expect to find birds perched perfectly on the tip of rocks and gorgeous colors in the sky.

I recommend utilizing free parking on the PCH (opposite side of the road from the beach) and walking past the state beach parking area (must pay before leaving your car) to the dirt trail that leads you down to the beach. You'll walk past a picnic table area and then down a slightly dangerous (thank you erosion) path that eventually turns into stairs that bring you to the sand. This beach is great for a picnic lunch, laying out in the sun with friends, finding a peaceful spot to read a book and of course, taking photos. Explore the rock caves (don't forget the ones built into the rock cliffs) and soak in the beauty around you. Note: You'll want to walk up the beach in a Northern direction away from the residential homes and stay off the steep staircases for your safety.

Photo Tips: I tend to prefer shooting during the 10-15 min after the sun slips over the horizon because the colors in the sky really pop during that time. Plus, the sun usually creates evil glares when you aim your phone's camera lens directly at it. From my experience, the lighting after sunset is usually perfect for capturing silhouettes and for long exposure photography.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Towels
  • Blankets
  • Flash light
  • Snacks
  • Water
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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We came here for sunrise and the quality of light filtering into the sea caves was stunning. this beach is truly beautiful and i would visit again in a heartbeat.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

This is my ultimate favorite beach in LA. The rock formations make a perfect backdrop to any photo, especially for the start photos. For free parking, try and park on PCH and walk to the entrance! However, if you're looking for a secluded beach, this is probably not it.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Relax you body. It's a place you can feel good vibes.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

One of the most scenic LA beaches!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Love this beach! It's a sweet little spot to take Someone who wants to experience the PCH

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This beach is incredibly beautiful both sunrise and sunset.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

When someone asks me what the best place is to view the sunset here in the valley, I always tell them El Matador State Beach. Great for taking sunset photographs, plus the rock formations in this beach completes the picture! Place can get too crowded so visit either very early or you can also stay til after the sun has set (nice place to go stargazing, too!)

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Make sure to go during the winter time. Same beautiful scenery and way less crowded. Park along the PCH as recommended by the author - as parking at El Matador is very limited.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

So pretty

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Depending on the tide, you can go in the caves and walk right through them to the other side. They are located in the large rocks n the water out from the shore. A beautiful place to go during the weekdays when it's less crowded. A very good chance you will see a professional photo shoot going on

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

This place is PACKED on the weekends. I try to get in early on a weekday and explore before the tide comes in.

almost 3 years ago
almost 3 years ago

Kyle Huber

Graphic designer. Obsessive creator.
 Missouri raised, California amazed.
 iPhone 5s & Drone (Phantom 2 Vision Quadcopter)

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