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Life's a (Venice) beach in L.A.

07.06.12

Venice Beach in L.A. is famed for many things; Muscle Beach, those 'Baywatch' lifeguard towers, the zany boardwalk, and of course, its alternative, grungy vibe, which is a million miles away from Hollywood's preened and polished Beverly Hills. The perfect place to while away the hours, its entertainment knows no bounds. During our trip to L.A. we loved it and spent the day entranced by 'Skate or Die' tattooed skateboarders and lycra-clad roller bladers, not to mention the beach-striding lifeguards and miles of powder-pale sand.

A Californian icon, the lifeguard towers, made famous by Nineties TV show, Baywatch, line the sand at Venice Beach.

Keeping a watchful eye over the sunbathers and surfers are those red short-wearing lifeguards, who were more than happy to ham it up for our tourist-snapping cameras.

Venice beach is popular with surfers of all abilities, with pros competing for waves against body-boarding amateurs.

If you prefer to board on solid ground (or in the air), then the Venice Beach skate park will be your haven. We were impressed with the dips and flips these boys were pulling out of the bag.

Typical 'skater boy' uniform was adopted, alongside extreme tattoos and manes of tumbling locks.

On the beefier end of the scale is the legendary Muscle Beach. By no means an exaggeration, this honed and toned, pumped and ripped segment of Venice is literally throbbing with testosterone.

We attempted a few feeble chin-ups and bopped the punch bag a few times before moving on.

Of course, off-beach is where Venice really comes into its own, the multi-coloured shop fronts are bold and bright, with spare wall space usually graffiti-emblazoned.

The bohemian community thrives here; you may meet a man telling stories of poetry-spouting pelicans, watch street performers dancing, juggling and jostling for attention or simply be blown away by the vibrancy on offer.

Hire a rainbow bright bike and cycle the mile and half long boardwalk. We hired a fabulous pillar box red tandem - it was either that or roller skates, we're afraid.

There's no shortage of seaside entertainment; from fortune tellers, to tattooists and artists working on your very own grain of rice, it's bursting with tourist tack.

Of course, if it all gets a bit much, escape to the sand and take a walk, paddle in the gently lapping waves or bathe yourself in a breath-taking Venice Beach sunset.

So there you have it - Vencie Beach, love it or loathe it, there's no place like it, we promise.