Hidden Gems: California Beach Cities Travel Guide

Hidden Gems: California Beach Cities travel guide // feastandwest.com

A big welcome to Bri from Simply Savvy You and Life by Bri who is sharing a California Beach Cities Travel Guide today!

I never, in a million years that I would be living in Los Angeles. Or Los Angeles – adjacent because I mean, if you’re going to live by the beach you might as well live by the beach. Am I right? I’ve been in Redondo Beach for about a year and a half now since moving up from San Diego county. I’m about 14 miles from downtown L.A. which is like 45 minutes because, hello, traffic! So I rarely leave this little beachy area. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Compared to downtown L.A. or really anywhere else close by, it’s so quiet and calm and every little beach city along the coast has it’s own special feel.

Catalina Island
Catalina Island

Manhattan Beach is full of athletes, celebrities and tourists. It’s teeming with brunchers, surfers and people watchers (that’s me!). There’s fantastic shopping, amazing restaurants and, of course, the beach.

Hermosa Beach is what I refer to as the ‘frat house’ of the beach cities. In the summer, walking down the strand means people hanging out of balconies blasting music, drinking beer and smoking pot. Everyone’s out playing volleyball at the beach or riding bikes or grilling on the patio. In one word: fun.

Redondo Beach is where I live and it’s the best of both worlds. It’s quiet and family-friendly with amazing food and so many parks. Plus the pier and the beach. It’s really a wonderful place to be.

Click below to see Bri’s California Beach Cities travel guide! 

Hidden Gems: California Beach Cities travel guide // feastandwest.com
Sophie’s Place
Hidden Gems: California Beach Cities travel guide // feastandwest.com
Sophie’s Place
Hidden Gems: California Beach Cities travel guide // feastandwest.com
The Strand Bar
  • R10 Social House — Hands down my favorite restaurant. It has the most amazing design and atmosphere. It’s all farm-to-table, deliciously yummy food and HOLY COW the drinks. Local beers as far as the eye can see and hand-crafted cocktails that make my mouth water just thinking about them. Get the Spicy Margarita.
  • Sophie’s Place — Local beers and the tastiest mac & cheese in L.A.
  • Strand House — A fancy-pants restaurant and lounge in Manhattan Beach overlooking the beach and the pier. Delicious food, yummy drinks, and a really cool atmosphere.
  • Rock And Brews — Perfect for families. There’s a playground! It’s also all open and outdoors with heat lamps all over for chilly evenings.
  • Catalina Coffee — All the coziness of having coffee at home without the screaming babies or distractions.
  • Pier Bakery — Tucked in with all the shops and restaurants on the Redondo Beach Pier you’ll find the best churros you’ve ever had. Seriously.
  • Tony’s — No trip to Redondo Beach is complete without a trip to Tony’s. It’s got all the charm of a diner but right on the water and the tastiest salmon bisque.
  • Breweries — King Harbor Brewing Co., Strand, Dude’s, El Segundo Brewing Co., Brewco, Absolution Brewing, Monkish. The list goes on and on but these are definitely ones you need to know about.
Hidden Gems: California Beach Cities travel guide // feastandwest.com
R10 Social House
  • Wilderness Park — Not the most secluded park ever, but it’s definitely a fun place to take kids.
  • Point Vincente Lighthouse and Museum — We like to hike up about a mile to the museum and then have lunch in the grass overlooking the ocean. On a clear day you can see Catalina Island.
  • Catalina Island — If you have more than a few days to spend in the South Bay, visiting Catalina Island should be on your list. It’s truly an amazing place. Just a quick ferry ride from Dana Point, it’s full of amazing restaurants, fun bars, and beaches. Plus, it’s free on your birthday. Like, the entire island is free! Including the ferry ride.
  • Hermosa Beach Strand — If you’re looking for the most fun beach experience I suggest Hermosa Beach. It’s definitely full of fun beach-goers which makes for some good people watching. Plus the beach here is much wider than it is in Redondo.
  • Whale watching — For less than a dinner for two, you can go whale-watching for a few hours.
  • Sea Lab — A little aquarium tucked in a weird spot but it’s a fun place to take a family.
  • The Comedy and Magic Club — Wanna see Jay Leno perform stand-up? He’s there every week.
  • Sand Dune Park — Exactly what it sounds like. A big 12-story hill of sand in the middle of Manhattan Beach.
Hidden Gems: California Beach Cities travel guide // feastandwest.com
Point Vicente lighthouse
  • Plaza El Segundo — Is full of a lot of bigger retail shops like Anthropologie, Lululemon, Pinkberry, Whole Foods, The Container Store, And a YogaWorks. There’s also a local farmers’ market every Tuesday.
  • Framers Markets —Redondo Beach has the best market. It’s right next to a huge playground and park and overlooking the ocean. You’ll get fruits, veggies, baked goods, coffee, crepes, flowers, honey, lunch, popcorn, basically everything you could ever want!
  • Ava & Aliria — A great little shop with a mix of vintage and new bursting with uniqueness.
  • Gum Tree — A cute place where you’ll find stationery, decor, baby items, basically everything. It’s all curated beautifully.
  • Lollipop — Great little kids shop in Redondo Beach. Full of color and unique items!
Hidden Gems: California Beach Cities travel guide // feastandwest.com
View from Griffith Observatory
  • No trip to the Los Angeles area is complete without a trip to the Griffith Observatory. The view from up there is incredibly breathtaking!
  • I already mentioned Catalina Island but it’s worth another. It’s such a neat little place to visit!
  • Just taking a drive up the 101 to Malibu or further is lovely. Living in this area gets so congested, it’s nice to take a drive where you see nothing but ocean and mountains.

Bri TowneBRI TOWNE // hg-facebook hg-instagram
Bri is the writer behind Life. by Bri. Formerly a ‘mommy blogger’ Bri recently transitioned her blog to focus on other aspects of her life; not just motherhood. Although her two kids still show up frequently, of course. She is also the organizing pro behind Simply Savvy, where bloggers get the tools they need to get their editorial calendars organized and rocking. When she’s not working Bri is running on the beach or playing with her kiddos. She also has a severe coffee addiction.
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