From the rugged Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu through Long Beach Harbor to Belmont, the Los Angeles County coast is richly varied, offering many opportunities for recreation and adventure. More than half of the coast is publicly owned, and much of it can be easily explored with a wheelchair. Where the terrain is difficult, there are often scenic drives.

Malibu’s 27-mile coast lies at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains. Steep slopes keep a few beaches inaccessible, but others are open for wheelchair riding. Camping facilities and nature trails at the foot of the mountains are outstanding, and the views from the Pacific Coast Highway are breathtaking.

South of Malibu, on Santa Monica Bay, wheelchair access is easy at Los Angeles city beaches. There are numerous piers and boardwalks, and beach wheelchairs are available in several locations for traveling across sand. The paved 22-mile South Bay Bicycle Trail runs on the beach between Will Rogers State Beach and Torrance County Beach.

Farther downcoast, the Pacific Coast Highway cuts across the Palos Verdes Peninsula, which separates Santa Monica Bay from the Long Beach Harbor area. Palos Verdes Drive provides dramatic views of rugged shores and the ocean.

The south end of the county is not to be missed, despite the utilitarian landscape at the shipping ports. Among several interesting stops in the Los Angeles Harbor area is Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, especially great for wheelchair-riding children. Long Beach has a wonderful larger aquarium and miles of paved walks along the shore.