If you walk southeast from Venice Pier along the beach or the boardwalk, you will come to a large fenced off section of sand. Why? It's a preserve for the California Least Tern so that the birds have somewhere on the beach to nest.
Every time that I walk by the area, I think, "That's what this entire beach must have looked like a long time ago." Inside there are small sand dunes, native plants, and a distinct lack of tire tracks.
It's pretty much exactly like the sand dunes we used to camp on when we were kids. Those sand dunes were somewhere near Ensenada, Mexico and are probably completely covered by condos and hotels.
In any case, the sand outside the fence is completely different. It doesn't have any vegetation and is completely flat. I'm not exactly sure how the City of Los Angeles maintains it in that state, although I do know that a machine combs through the sand at least once a week dragging some tool that picks up trash.
I wonder what would happen if the entire beach were allowed to go back to nature? I wouldn't mind laying down my towel next to some plants. Although I would need to be careful around those least tern nests. . .