What a Day at the Beach Looked Like in Vintage Los Angeles

Tina Lerno, Librarian, Digital Content Team,
1934 colorized picture of people at the beach with typewriters
Office work on the beach, [1934]. Security Pacific National Bank Collection

It's summertime in Los Angeles and the mercury is rising. Are you beach ready? Have you packed your sunscreen, hats, coolers, snacks, umbrellas, folding chairs, kites, frisbees, bikes, trikes, boogie boards and blankets? Do you know how you'll get there? Beach bus, metro or freeway...or three? Will you be taking the 405 to the 10 to the 1(PCH)? Maybe your route is the 210 to the 2 to the 134 to the 101 to Kanan or Malibu Canyon Road, or the 5 to the 605 to the 1.

If you aren't prepared for all that planning or don't want to spend autumn vacuuming the summer sand out of your car, just sit back and enjoy these photos of vintage Los Angeles at the beach from our amazing photo collection.

Though the fashions sure have changed, the sentiment remains the same. It's a hot summer day, let's go to the beach!

Bathers, picnickers, beach goers, and horse and carriages share a crowded beach in this early scene of Long Beach outings.
Bathers, picnickers, beachgoers, and horse and carriages share a crowded beach in this early scene of Long Beach outings, [ca 1900]. Security Pacific National Bank Photo Collection
A group of bathers - men, women and children - pose at the water's edge in Newport Beach
A group of bathers - men, women, and children - pose at the water's edge in Newport Beach. One bather holds a pug as he sits. Behind the group is the pier and Newport Beach terminus, [ca 1900]. Security Pacific National Bank Photo Collection
Two brothers enjoy a day in Seal Beach
Two brothers (one identified as Alexander Williams on the right) enjoy a day in Seal Beach. Both men are wearing rented swimwear on which two otters and the words, "Jewel City Amusement Co." are printed, [1916]. Shades of L.A. Photo Collection
Group of Mexican Americans at Pacific Beach, San Diego
Group of Mexican Americans at Pacific Beach, San Diego, circa 1920. Mamie Lopez is at center, Eugenia Salvador is at right, [ca 1920]. Shades of L.A. Photo Collection
Group of Korean Americans at the beach. Helen Hong is at top, third from left. C1925
Group of Korean Americans at the beach. Helen Hong is at the top, third from left, [ca 1925]. Shades of L.A. Photo Collection
two young ladies tossing their hoops at two others 1925
Photo shows two young ladies tossing their hoops at two others that are standing inside a rather deep ditch wearing face masks, in hopes of making a "ring-in-one". Several people can be seen standing around watching this lively game, which took place in Santa Monica beach; most spectators are dressed in their bathing suits, but some are wearing regular dress clothes. An enormous roller coaster can be seen in the background, [ca 1925]. Security Pacific National Bank Collection
Huge crowds on Venice Beach
The ocean water is filled with people swimming or playing, and the beach is likewise filled with people and umbrellas (to keep off the sun). The view is looking north towards Ocean Park, [1925]. Security Pacific National Bank Collection
L to R: Grace Williams, Albert Williams, Mary Mingleton, Willie Williams (no relation) in the segregated section of Santa Monica beach known as the Ink Well.
L to R: Grace Williams, Albert Williams, Mary Mingleton, Willie Williams (no relation) in the segregated section of Santa Monica beach known as the Ink Well, [1926]. Shades of L.A. Photo Collection
Beach goers in swim suits sit on a wicker sofa and on the sand at the 1928 Pacific Southwest Exposition in Long Beach.
Beachgoers in swimsuits sit on a wicker sofa and on the sand at the 1928 Pacific Southwest Exposition in Long Beach. One woman, middle, strums a ukulele. Bare feet are on a ledge above the group, [ca 1928]. Security Pacific National Bank Photo Collection
Two young women are sitting on a raft as they drink tea in the ocean at Venice beach.
Two young women are sitting on a raft or other type of floating device as they drink tea in the ocean at Venice beach. Although the water where they are floating appears to be calm, the tides are slightly bigger in the background. Writing on the white raft reads Marshalls, [ca 1928]. Security Pacific National Bank Collection
The family that plays together stays together. An unidentified family enjoys their day out at Venice beach.
An unidentified family enjoys their day out at Venice beach. In this photo, we see the two oldest boys and one of the girls doing calisthenics on the sand. On the left of the photo, the Ocean Park roller coaster can be made out, [1930]. Security Pacific National Bank Collection
A young woman enjoys a sunny day on the beach with her dog
A young woman enjoys a sunny day on the beach with her dog, [ca 1930]. Security Pacific National Bank Collection
a woman plays ball with her dog. 1936
An animal show, primarily of dogs, on Venice Beach. Here a woman plays ball with her dog, [1936]. Security Pacific National Bank Collection
Fred Mickaelian, Jr. with his cousins at Hermosa Beach
Fred Mickaelian, Jr. (front, center) with his cousins at Hermosa Beach, [1936]. Shades of L.A. Photo Collection
The Okada family of Wilmington, California, enjoy a day on the beach at Magnolia Pier in Long Beach
The Okada family of Wilmington, California, enjoy a day on the beach at Magnolia Pier in Long Beach. From left to right: Chuck, Charles, Joel, Misao, and Alice, [1952]. Shades of L.A. Collection
Fanny with her husband Jose and a friend at the beach, possibly in Long Beach. Ca 1968
Fanny with her husband Jose and a friend at the beach, possibly in Long Beach, [ca 1968]. Shades of L.A. Collection
Three young women standing in front of a stand selling sunglasses, at Venice Beach, 1980
Three young women standing in front of a stand selling sunglasses, at Venice Beach. In the middle is Adrienne Howell; on the right is Angela Holliday who is visiting from Detroit, [1980]. Shades of L.A. Photo Collection
Friends and family spend the day at the beach in Santa Monica, 1983
Friends and family spend the day at the beach in Santa Monica, [1983]. Shades of L.A. Collection
Venice Beach on a hot summer day, 2002
Beyond the packed boardwalk, grass, skaters, Police Station, swing sets, basket and racquetball courts, graffiti wall and sand crowds of people from all over the world come to swim in the ocean water at Venice Beach in a hot summer day. In this photo, hundreds of bathers, male and female, young and old, and as far as the eye can see, are having fun playing in the sand and in the ocean, [2002]. Cheryl Himmelstein/ Los Angeles Neighborhoods Collection

 

 

 

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