Southern California is known for year-round sunshine, beautiful people, and gorgeous beaches. Let’s face it, isn’t that the reason we all live here. Some of the prettiest and well-maintained wide beaches are right here in the South Bay, which include Manhattan Beach and El Porto, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance Beach, and Malaga Cove at the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Each of these seaside hotspots has their own personality, characteristics, and local haunts that bring people out in droves.
Named “One of the Top 21 Sexiest Beaches” on The Travel Channel, the beach in Manhattan Beach is a two-mile stretch of flat beach terrain, including El Porto (the beach starting at Rosecrans Avenue). These pristine beaches attract sunbathers, volleyball players, swimmers, surfers, and cyclists. The beaches are near enough to Los Angeles and get rather busy in the summer months, with most of the tourists gathering near the pier area where parking spaces are more easily found.
There are dozens of sand volleyball courts up and down the beaches and most are netted year round. Great surf spots dot the coast, and lifeguard towers every few blocks mark designated areas for swimming and surfing to keep people safe.
At the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier is the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium. The Aquarium is open to the public and during the summer months, camps are run for local children.
One can bike along the beach all through the South Bay on the paved Marvin Braude Bike Path (also known as The Strand) for 22 miles from Santa Monica to Torrance Beach. Likewise, a walking path, which is part of The Strand, is safe for walking or jogging from El Porto to Torrance Beach as well. Stop along the way in Downtown Manhattan Beach or the El Porto area for food, drinks, and shopping before hitting the trail.
Lively Hermosa Beach stretches from Manhattan Beach to the King Harbor Marina in Redondo Beach. Like Manhattan, it is filled daily with beach-goers soaking up the sunshine, swimmers splashing in the ocean, and surfers catching waves. Volleyball is also a huge part of the beach scene in Hermosa, which is home to the Hermosa Beach Open tournament, along with dozens of amateur tournaments throughout the year.
Each summer, during the month of August, free concerts are held on the beach just south of the Hermosa Pier. The Hermosa Beach Summer Concert series features live music each Sunday in August from 5-8PM.
Meanwhile, pedestrians mill about the promenade area, known locally as “the pier”, seeking entertainment or simply just people watching. The crowd here is typically a bit younger due in part to the bars and live music venues on the Pier’s promenade, however, the restaurants and shopping along the ‘pedestrian only’ area is suitable for all ages. Venues like the longstanding Deck, formerly known as the Poop Deck, and the Lighthouse with their dive-like vibe are considered institutions, while slightly more sophisticated options can be had in local hot spots like Palmia or Zane’s.
The aforementioned Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Trail runs through Hermosa Beach all the way to Torrance, as well as the path used for foot traffic.
Redondo Beach Pier and the Veterans Park mark the start of the beaches in Redondo Beach and South Redondo Beach. Beautiful bluffs make the geography a bit different from Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach. From the Esplanade, steep ramps and stairways leading down to the beaches make for easy access to the sand from ample parking spots, as well as making a nice addition to your workout routine when climbing the stairs for exercise.
Lifeguard stations and volleyball courts are aplenty along the shore; meanwhile, surfers, paddle boarders, and kite surfers enjoy the many surf spots along the way. On either end of the beach in Redondo are many establishments for food and entertainment; the Redondo Pier where one can enjoy a meal over the water among dozens of restaurants, or opposite in the Riviera Village for classic Mexican food or a Bouzy Brunch at the local gastropub.
Torrance Beach lies between Redondo Beach and Malaga Cove, beginning at Miramar Park. It is the last large beach in the Santa Monica Bay. It too, has multiple lifeguard towers, lots of surfing, and even a beach cafe called Perry’s with butler service where one may rent beach and water sports equipment and bike rentals for a day of fun in the sun.
The beach immediately south of Torrance Beach is known as RAT Beach (Right After Torrance).
Palos Verdes Peninsula beaches are often steep and rocky, yet lovely Malaga Cove is the sandiest and most enjoyable beach in which to luxuriate. Located just south of Torrance Beach on the Palos Verdes Peninsula one will often see scuba divers exploring the thick, healthy kelp beds and rocky reef for interesting sea life. Meanwhile, surfers enjoy the left-breaking surf spot called Haggerty’s.