Marina Del Rey boasts that it has the world’s largest man-made small-craft harbor––up to 7,500 boats are docked here. Built in wetlands in 1960, the main channel is 18 to 24 feet deep, 1,000 feet wide, and a mile long. Among the attractions are Marina Beach (known as Mother's Beach); Burton W. Chace Park; Aubrey E. Austin Jr....
Marina Del Rey boasts that it has the world’s largest man-made small-craft harbor––up to 7,500 boats are docked here. Built in wetlands in 1960, the main channel is 18 to 24 feet deep, 1,000 feet wide, and a mile long. Among the attractions are Marina Beach (known as Mother's Beach); Burton W. Chace Park; Aubrey E. Austin Jr. Park, with an accessible jetty walkway and an overlook of the Marina Lagoon; and Fisherman’s Village, a collection of tourist shops and limited food venues. The colorful village was pretty from a distance, but up close we found it rather deserted and run down; access was limited.
Inside the marina, at the north end, is Marina Beach, a small, sheltered swimming beach. There is no surf here, so the water tends to be dirty. The main attraction for wheelchair riders is an accessible 150-foot-long ramp to the water's edge. Depending on the tide, the far end of the ramp will be a few inches or a few feet underwater. A concession stand is north of the restroom building; other dining options include a beachside restaurant or bringing food to barbecue near one of the sheltered picnic tables. A play structure at the beach’s south end, near Panay Way, has an accessible rubber surface in places.
Pretty Burton W. Chace Park overlooks the marina and hosts numerous events throughout the year. Its 50 acres contain shade trees, rolling lawns, sheltered picnic tables, barbecue grills, and a snack bar. Its paved walkways are good for strolling or jogging. Public fishing docks are along the park's edge and there’s a dog run next to the parking lot. The park office displays historical photographs of Santa Monica, Playa del Rey, and the canals of Venice in 1905, when they were new.
Because there’s no contiguous walkway around the marina, it’s easy to feel lost when driving around it. You can’t rely on the shoreline for orientation because buildings often hide it from view, and the shoreline changes direction every few hundred yards. Just keep in mind that you can’t go too far wrong if you stay between Washington Street, Lincoln Boulevard, and Fiji Way.
Make a quick stop at this small information center, housed in a stucco building with a tile roof and a small lighthouse-shaped cupola, for maps and brochures.
Available on a first-come, first-served basis at the lifeguard tower;
At the lot for Marina Beach on Panay Way, the visitor center off Admiralty Way, Burton W. Chace Park, and Fisherman’s Village. Free parking is available for vehicles displaying a disabled placard or license plate on non-holiday weekdays at lots that are either staffed or ungated.
The only fully accessible restroom I found is at the park office and rental facility at Burton W. Chace Park (open daily, 7 am-8 pm).
Most restrooms in the marina have limited wheelchair access. Restrooms near the picnic shelter have front-transfer stalls with one side grab bar, but the stalls are too small to close the door with a wheelchair inside. Restrooms outside the visitor center have narrow front-transfer stalls and grab bars, but the entrance doors are heavy and the 90-degree turn into the stalls might be too tight for a large wheelchair. At Marina Beach, restrooms have three-foot-wide stalls with grab bars mounted too high, and the flush valve is hard to reach. There are spacious changing areas in these restrooms.
At Mother’s Beach and Burton W. Chace Park
Other Things of Interest
At the end of Fiji Way you can access the Ballona Creek Trail, which travels west nearly three-quarters of a mile to Dockweiler State Beach.