Best Giant Pile of Sand (2010)

Sand Dune Park

There’s nothing like a giant pile of sand to play in, especially for those who love to indulge their inner child or treat themselves to a killer workout. And for that the Manhattan Beach sand dune is the ticket. Just south of LAX, at Sand Dune Park, sits a 100-foot-high dune perfect for climbing and playing. Fit folks of all ages run up the tall slope, working their quads, calves and feet (it’s better if you do it barefoot). The tip-top of the dune offers views of Santa Monica, the Hollywood Hills and huge jets taking off and landing. The only distraction is the giant power plant in neighboring El Segundo, which mars the view with its industrial structures and plumes of smoke. Because of overuse of the dune by athletes, which led the city of Manhattan Beach to close it for many months, online reservations and a $1 entry fee are required to climb the dune, which is bordered by a small park with a swing set and other playground fare. 33rd Street and Bell Ave., Manhattan Beach. ci.manhattan-beach.ca.us. —Christine Pelisek

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