Los Angeles’ Beaches: Hermosa and Manhattan

Hermosa Beach, LA 2
Hermosa Beach, LA.

Hermosa Beach, LA 3

We spent a recent weekend in Los Angeles and it was Kathryn’s first experience of LA’s beaches.
Here are her thoughts.

We are based in Las Vegas currently and staying in an extended stay hotel. Last weekend the hotel room rate tripled because of a popular electronic music festival was on in town, so we decided to skip Vegas and drive to LA for the weekend.

I have transited LA multiple times over the years but the last time I actually stayed there for a few days was when I was 24 years old. I remember having a great time visiting Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and Beverly Hills. Perhaps I’m showing my age but I felt like a more sedate experience this time. Queuing at a theme park was not what I was after – the ocean was! I come from New Zealand, an island nation with a temperate climate, so living in the hot desert is a challenge for me. I couldn’t wait to get to the beach, smell the salty breeze and walk on the soft golden sand.

We stayed at a 2.5 star hotel in Inglewood which we booked through a Priceline Express Deal for US$112/per night after tax, though we will get some cash back via
Inglewood is a good area to stay as it’s near the airport and only 15 minutes drive from the beaches.

We loved our visits to Hermosa and Manhattan Beaches over our 2.5 days in LA. They really are one big long beach, extending south to include Redondo Beach as well. The beaches were expansive stretches of golden sand, and Hermosa has a pretty pier.

Hermosa Beach Pier
Hermosa Beach Pier

I had expected each beach to have a busy street between sand and shops but was delighted to find only broad pathways for pedestrians and cyclists, and no shops at all – only beach homes that pedestrians can admire as we stroll by. No shops or cars – how inspired and refreshing? If you want to shop or go to a cafe or restaurant you need to walk away from the beach and up the hill a little.

Hermosa Beach, LA
Hermosa Beach

Beach houses, Manhattan Beach,LA
Beach houses, Manhattan Beach

Walh back up to car, Manhattan Beach
Good excercise getting back to the car!

The beaches are a great place to get some exercise in. You can walk,run, skate or cycling along the purpose built pathways, stroll or jog on the beach, play beach volleyball, swim or surf. I really enjoyed watching the beach volleyball – I’m sure some of the players were at least semi-professional as the standard of play was very high.

Volleyball at Hermosa Beach, LA
Volleyball, Hermosa Beach

Another thing I had expected was for the beaches to be very crowded, considering they service a population of millions. We were there on the weekend, and although there were plenty of people enjoying the sand and surf, the beaches are so big that it never felt crowded. It was great to see the occasional large clump of fresh seaweed wash up on the beach – it made me feel (perhaps erroneously) that the Pacific Ocean off LA is alive and not too polluted. The water temperature was certainly refreshing but not cold enough to put off most swimmers, except perhaps Kate :-) The only thing that disappointed me was the visual pollution of the two power plants at far ends of Manhattan and Redondo Beaches. Did they really need to be built there?!! I just had to avert my eyes from that direction and pretend they were a figment of my imagination.

Manhattan Beach, LA 2
Manhattan Beach, looking south

Manhattan Beach, LA
Mantattan Beach looking south to Hermosa

Manhattan Beach, LA 3
Manhattan Beach looking north

Eyesore, Manhattan Beach, LA
Unfortunate eyesore north of Manhattan Beach

The beaches are popular and so you can imagine finding a free car park is a challenge. We spent about 15 minutes driving around the small back streets above the beaches before we found a park on the weekend. It was easier when we visited on Monday.

So if you’re in Los Angeles and you need a break from the theme parks and Tinseltown, I recommend escaping to the beaches. I loved them and look forward to coming back again.

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