Manhattan Beach is a smaller beach along the Pacific Coast(and it doesn’t really have a pier or boardwalk) however it has a great little town filled with places to eat, places to shop, and some beautiful and interesting homes. Also, the beach is medium sized and is usually not too busy(especially compared to towns like Santa Monica). While the beach is not too overcrowded, the parking was challenging so be prepared, both in time and energy, when finding a place to park.
Also, I learned the hard way about tar on the beach. I’ve been to Manhattan Beach a handful of times in the past two years, however the last two times I have encountered tar, which can wash up on the beach and sticks to your skin and shoes. Luckily my shoes were rubber(it might be more difficult for other materials) so the tar was rubbed off without ruining them. I used baby oil to remove the tar and even neosporin works(I think basically any oil based substance will remove it). I would rub either neosporin(which is all I had in my bag one day at the beach) or baby oil into my shoes and feet and then wipe it off with a towel. I would avoid adding water which could just delay the tar removal process, as it can take a while to wipe off depending on how much tar latched on.
PS. It’s only 15 minutes from LAX: Manhattan Beach Location