The areas next to the pier (north and south within 200 yards in both directions) are a dump and way over-packed. The tourists and people coming from the inland apparently mistake the sand for a garbage can.
As you go North of the pier, it gets quieter and cleaner (any area north of lifeguard stand 10). If you're going South, another semi-less crowded spot to go is south of the volleyball courts at Ocean Park and North of the start of the Venice Boardwalk.
If you really want to experience beautiful beaches in So Cal, go to Malibu--Point Dume is absolutely gorgeous but it gets super crowded. Best to get there by 9am and leave when the early afternoon crowd starts rolling in.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.