Hiking is one of the most easily accomplished outdoor activities in Los Angeles. Griffith Park offers rolling hills in the heart of LA, with the short trek to the summit of Mt. Lee affording a view of the city and an up-close look at the famed Hollywood sign. To the west, Topanga and Malibu Creek State Parks offer rugged mountain terrain for more experience hikers.
Surfing culture grew up at Venice Beach on Los Angeles's Pacific coast. There one will find surf shops that offer classes for beginners and boards for rent. There are also specially designated surfer-only beaches at Venice City Beach.
Exploring the Coast
West of Los Angeles, the Pacific Coast Highway leads from the sandy beaches of Malibu to some rocky inlets and coastal tide pools. These areas are easily accessible from the road and contain a variety of wildlife such as crabs, starfish, and, just offshore, seals and dolphins.
Camping in Los Angeles is actually an easy prospect, with the proximity of the Angeles National Forest to the city's immediate northeast. There the high elevations make a cooler climate where dense forests offer an experience that is less typical of the hot, dry region.
Santa Catalina Island
Just off the Los Angeles coast is Santa Catalina Island. There, visitors who arrive by ferry can explore the island, which is part of the Channel Islands chain. Catalina includes a huge variety of plants and animals that are not found on mainland California, as well as hiking terrain, natural harbors and beaches.