The three Beach Cities in the South Bay are bustling, unpretentious havens of ocean adoration. Locals seem to have drifted into town for love of the sea and have stayed on for decades, abiding by it’s rhythms and managing their lives and families along The Strand. The Strand, a beach-side bike and walking path, connects the northernmost Manhattan Beach to the tiny Hermosa Beach to Redondo Beach and is the main artery of life along this chic shoreline. To the casual visitor, it’s all just a continuum of blessed out, sun-kissed people. Why not join in the fun for a few hours?
Here’s your guide to how:
Manhattan Beach is a far cry from The Big Apple, but we could draw a few parallels as far as this beach city being being the center of the South Bay’s action. Manhattan Beach Boulevard is the pulsating heart of the Beach Cities, and not only does every day feel like Sunday, but it also feels like the Endless Summer. The city boasts hotels, restaurants, bars and shops that carve their own young beachy style, as well as some of the nicest waterfront homes in California (think Malibu without the Escalades and celebrity drama).
Open space and a friendly crowd make these once-intimate towns perfect for families. It is super easy to walk around, so get yourself a parking spot and drag those beach togs to the shore. Stake a place on the sand for a few hours, digging tunnels, building castles, throwing a frisbee or swimming in the waves. When energies shift towards a bit of ennui, take a stroll or bike ride along the Strand to explore the shops and restaurants. After your retail break, head back to play on one of the piers, and make another go at getting up on your boogie board/skim board/paddle board, or surfboard!
PIERS: Elementary aged kids will love the Manhattan Beach Pier Aquarium, which is tiny but loaded with terrific local flora and fauna. Middle School and High School Kids will love the Redondo Pier’s amusement park (Redondo Fun Factory), but the food and shopping isn’t as good as it is further north.
WATER SPORTS: If you’re not into tanning and walking all afternoon, bring a surfboard, skimboard or boogie board to get your pulse pumping.
BIKING: Bring your bike or rent one if you want two wheels that are easy to park (because let’s face it, a spot for your car will probably be pricey and inconvenient). This will allow you to explore smaller boutique shops above The Strand, while on an excursion to bike the entire four miles from Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach Pier.
VOLLEYBALL WATCHING & SURF GAWKING: It’s everywhere…
EATING: No doubt, the food is best in Manhattan Beach. Our favorite summer treat is the shaved ice at Tiki Mon. If you’re looking for a more substantial meal, Manhattan Bread and Bagel is our go-to sandwich place. This isn’t on the pier and is actually a drive’s distance from the beach so you might consider stopping here first, but we promise it’s more than worth it.
For a healthy snack and all sorts of tasty twists on acai and pitaya bowls, check out Paradise Bowls. There’s one in Manhattan and one in Hermosa. Some other favorites for food are Martha’s 22nd Street Grill just off The Strand (on 22nd Street), which is especially good for breakfast. Good Stuff is right beside the pier, and is the epitome of beach casual with better than typical kid-friendly diner food all day long. If you’re a dessert family, you definitely can’t leave without stopping at the Manhattan Beach Creamery. On the corner of Manhattan Beach Blvd and Manhattan Ave, the creamery is renowned for its “creamwiches” and other frozen goodies. There’s sure to be a line, but after all, that’s a sign of popularity!
One More Thing: The actual beach in Redondo is just as lovely as Manhattan and Hermosa, but we weren’t as drawn to all of its dining or shopping options. What Redondo does have that the others don’t is a quaint little marina that’s fun to walk by, especially around sunset.
No matter what activities you take up in these vibrant Beach Cities for the day, we bet you’ll soon be dreaming of how to strike up an oceanside life of your own.