Marina del Rey

Aerial view of the marina, the world's largest man-made small craft harbor

Marina del Rey is a small community on the West Side of Los Angeles that is best known as the world's largest man-made small craft harbor, capable of berthing 5,300 boats. Today it is also home to a wide array of hotels and restaurants, and its close proximity to Los Angeles International Airport and popular local destinations makes it an excellent option for visitors looking for a base to explore the Los Angeles area.


Prior to the development of the marina the area was a massive salt marsh, remnants of which can still be seen in the neighboring Ballona Wetlands Reserve. The ancient Gabrieleno Indians were likely the region's first fisherman and hunters, living along the bluffs above the ocean. The Spanish arrived later, followed in the 1800s by the first Angelenos. During the first half of the 20th century automotive races were held in the area, running from Playa del Rey to Venice along a roadway on the Marina peninsula now appropriately known as Speedway. Oil was discovered in the 1930s, and oil rigs can still be seen in the Ballona Wetlands near Playa del Rey.

Plans for development of a harbor date back to 1888, although other areas were deemed more suitable for a commercial port and the Port of Los Angeles is today located in San Pedro. It wasn't until 1953 that the county allocated funds and construction of the current marina began, with the Army Corps of Engineers in charge. A massive storm in the winter of 1962-1963 caused extensive damage and led to the addition of the breakwall at the harbor entrance. On April 10, 1965 the marina was formally dedicated.

Get in

Marina del Rey is less than four miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), within walking distance of Venice Beach, and less than ten minutes by car from Santa Monica.

For those driving, the Marina Freeway (State Route 90) leads to Marina del Rey from the east, while Lincoln Boulevard (Highway 1) is a more congested option when approaching from the north or south.

Various shared vans will also take visitors from the airport to local hotels, and taxis are prevalent at the airport and will cost $20-$25. Several hotels offer complimentary airport transfers, so ask when making a hotel reservation. Most major rental car companies have offices in town. Public parking is plentiful and inexpensive.

Three bus systems service Marina del Rey:

Get around

There are walking and biking paths throughout the marina, but while biking is a great way to get around, the area is large enough that walking from one side of the marina to the other is probably not feasible. During the summer months (weekends, holidays and concert nights), the Marina WaterBus operates between Fisherman's Village, Burke Marina Promenade, Marina Beach, Burton Chace Park, and several other stops. This water taxi is just $1 (one-way) for each boarding and is a convenient way to leave the car and visit several other areas in the Marina.

Also during summer weekends, the free Marina Beach Shuttle runs from the neighborhood of Playa Vista (south of the Marina) through Marina del Rey and to Venice Beach Pier; again leave the car in one place and take this shuttle bus all around the Marina/Venice Pier area. Buses operate approximately every half hour. Printed schedules are available at local hotels and the Marina del Rey Visitors Center.

Bike rental

Biking is popular in Marina del Rey thanks to the flat, well marked bike trails through the Marina and beyond. In addition to trails within the marina, the Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Trail, known by locals as "The Strand", travels for 22 miles from Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades south through Marina del Rey and all the way to Torrance County Beach in Torrance. Along the way there are hourly bike rental locations, restroom facilities, water vending machines and food concessions.



Water activities

Boating, fishing, sea kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding and whale watching are the most popular water activities, and numerous businesses throughout the marina will provide services, particularly around Fisherman's Village. In addition, there are several dinner cruises and party boats that set sail each night, making loops around harbor.


Acres of sand extend to the north and south of the entrance to the marina along the Pacific Ocean, offering plenty of room for sunning, beach sports, or lounging. The waters are great for bodysurfing and swimming, although a wetsuit might be a good idea in winter months. Technically, the majority of the ocean beaches around Marina del Rey are in other cities - Venice Beach (to the north) is one of the most famous beaches in the world, and Dockweiler State Beach (to the south) is a great option for those looking for less of a carnival-atmosphere than what is found in Venice.

Within the marina there is one non-ocean beach for those looking for sand and a calm place to swim or paddle:


The Burke Marina Walk Promenade begins at Marina Beach and leads past waterfront hotels, restaurants, picnic areas, bike rentals and yacht clubs. Another lovely area is at the south end of the Marina, along Fiji way, starting at the cobble stone paths of Fishermans' Village to the Ballona Creek path. Walk along the path, passing the UCLA Marina Aquatic Center and the various university rowing teams' paintings. Then heading along the Main Channel path to go towards the South Jetty. You can either walk out on the South Jetty watching the boats coming and going, or cross the bridge over the creek and head over to the white sand beach. In addition, the Marina Peninsula Neighborhood has an interesting walking trail. This residential community is separated from the mainland by Ballona Lagoon, and is an attractive area to explore on foot. Besides the interesting architecture, there are residential gardens to admire and of course, bird watching.


There are several local events (both ongoing and yearly) including:


Marina del Rey offers neighborhood shopping within walking distance from local hotels.

Day spas

If you're looking for a special treat for your body and soul, look no further than Marina del Rey.


This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under $10
Mid-range $10 - $25
Splurge Over $25

One of the best things about Marina del Rey is the numerous restaurants and cafes that are clustered around the waterfront. Offering a rich diversity of gourmet cuisine, this could be the one place where eating out at every meal is a joy rather than a chore.






The casual environment of the Marina lends itself to coffee shops and cafes, which can be found in abundance. The normal complement of Starbucks and other chain stores are present, as well as places with more local flavor:


Marina del Rey's most popular restaurants become the city's epicenter for nightlife. Live music, dancing and lively bars spring to life at night.


Marina del Rey's close proximity to Los Angeles International Airport makes it an excellent lodging option for business travelers.


Several cafes offer WiFi-connection including Panera's Bread Bakery Cafe, Cafe Buna and the local Starbucks, as well as all the hotel restaurants.

Go next

The cities and neighborhoods that share borders with Marina del Rey include the following:

Routes through Marina del Rey

Santa Monica Venice  N  S  Westchester Long Beach

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 27, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.