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Our guide to chic shopping at Southern California beaches

July 8, 2012 |  6:02 am

Amarees
With summer in full swing, it's time to hit the beach — for sunning, yes, but also for shopping.

There's a new level of sophistication in shopping along the coast. Locally owned boutiques with a curated point of view are changing the flavor of beach towns from beer-soaked spring break haunts to chic retail and dining destinations.

The style renaissance is fueled in part by the success of Venice's Abbot Kinney Boulevard, which this spring was dubbed by GQ magazine the chic-est street in America. With stores in Craftsman-style houses and beach bungalows, along with ping-pong tables and comfy outdoor seating that encourage visitors to linger, even the retail scene has a friendly sense of community.

I visited some oceanside communities where stylish, new independent boutiques have been cropping up and came up with coastal shopping itineraries that sample stores on Abbot Kinney and in Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, the South Bay and Long Beach. You'll find my full report here.

Happy browsing.

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--Booth Moore

Photo: One of the cool shopping venues in Southern California beach towns is A'maree's, a high-end, artsy boutique located in a historic building on the water in Newport Beach.  Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times 

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