The South Bay of Los Angeles—once considered Southern California’s best-kept secret—is finally enjoying its place in the sun. This stretch of beautiful coastline just south of LAX and north of the Port of Los Angeles offers a tempting mix of warm beaches, breathtaking Catalina views and coveted Pacific real estate. A spring getaway to this desirable playground couldn’t be more timely, especially if your ideal adventures align with the culinary, cultured and outdoors.
Where to Stay
Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes makes the perfect starting point for your South Bay escape. On first impressions alone, Terranea’s 270º view of the Pacific just beyond the lobby makes the perfect prelude to your seaside journey.
If you’ve timed your visit for Easter weekend—and we recommend you do—the resort will offer a full itinerary of family fun and delicious dining options. Brunch takes center stage on the holiday, with special menus at all the on-property venues including mar’sel, catalina kitchen, Solvivia and a banquet-style sit-down in the ballroom.
Down on the Palos Verdes meadow, Terranea’s Eggstravaganza will feature an Easter wonderland filled with eggs and prizes for children to take home. Every diner enjoying brunch at mar’sel, catalina kitchen, and the ballroom, as well as all resort guests, will have complimentary access to all Easter activities including the egg hunt. These family-friendly daytime activities are perfect for children and include a petting zoo, lawn games, face painting and music.
Easter Ballroom Brunch at Terranea Resort is by reservation only; make reservations online at terranea.com/store. Reservations for all other dining options can be made by calling Terranea Resort at 310-265-2836.
How to Get There: From LAX, take the 405 South to Hawthorne Boulevard. Head west toward the coast and turn left on Palos Verdes Drive South. The entrance to Terranea Resort awaits just up the road off Terranea Way. (100 Terranea Way in Rancho Palos Verdes)
Where to Visit
The Palos Verdes Peninsula shares the southern portion of the Santa Monica Bay with several other beach communities. From neighboring Redondo Beach all the way up the coast to sparkling Manhattan Beach, there’s plenty of surf, sand and shopping to enjoy.
The Marine Mammal Care Center (MMCC) in nearby San Pedro acts as a hospital for ill, injured and orphaned marine mammals. In addition to supplying this worthy organization with much needed funds, Terranea associates and guests participate in rescued seal and sea lion releases just off the resort’s shores. Check it out for yourself with a visit. (3601 Gaffey Street in San Pedro. 310-548-5677, marinemammalcare.org)
Down the hill off Palos Verdes Drive, swing through Catalina Avenue, one of the area’s most fashionable retail destinations, with boutiques including stylish Alandrea, children-centric Lollipop and gourmet depot Catalina Cooking Store. (1809, 1813 and 1951 Catalina Avenue in Redondo Beach, rivieravillageredondo.com) Famous Dive N Surf has been offering SCUBA courses locally for over 50 years, not to mention boat charters, equipment sales and other rental. They also carry one of the largest selections of Body Glove wetsuits and other merchandise anywhere. (504 N. Broadway in Redondo Beach. 310-372-8423, divensurf.com)
North on Pacific Coast Highway you’ll encounter Redondo Beach’s famous pier and marina, host to sailing and boat tours for those wanting an even closer encounter with the Pacific. Early spring is primetime for grey whale migration along the Southern California coast, so don’t miss this beautiful annual ritual of nature. The pier is also home to popular seafood markets serving the local community and Old Tony’s, a salty restaurant and bar right on the water. Pull up a stool on the second floor, order a famous mai tai and enjoy conversation with a few of the locals. (210 Fisherman’s Wharf in Redondo Beach, oldtonys.com)
Beyond Redondo, discover Hermosa Beach at the bustling corner of Hermosa and Pier Avenue. With an endless parade of flip-flops and surfboards, follow the lead and hit the beaches for some volleyball, take a stand-up paddleboard lesson from Tarsan (936 Hermosa Avenue, tarsanstandup.com) or do some people-watching at one of the bar or restaurant patios lining the pedestrian-friendly pier. Favorites in this area include a nutritious pitaya bowl at Paradise Bowls (1246 Hermosa Avenue, paradisebowls.com), a casual, Aussie-inspired alfresco lunch at Gum Tree Café (238 Pier Avenue, gumtreela.com) or a stylish sit-down with a sirloin and Scotch at Steak & Whisky by Chef Tin Vuong. (117 Pier Avenue, steakandwhisky.com)
Work off your meal by grabbing a bicycle from Hermosa Cyclery (20 13th Street, hermosacyclery.com) and pedal up The Strand to Manhattan Beach. The iconic rotunda and community aquarium at the base of the photogenic pier awaits your visit, as does a collection of trendy shops and restaurants along Manhattan Beach Boulevard. Favorites include colorful Trina Turk (333 Manhattan Beach Boulevard, trinaturk.com) and eclectic Wright’s. (232 Manhattan Beach Boulevard, wrightsmb.com)
Easy and breezy beach fare can be found all around, including the famous burger at Simmzy’s or a frozen treat at the charming Manhattan Creamery at the base of the pier. Manhattan Beach is also home to Chef David Lefevre’s MB Post, a popular sit-down eatery with an amazing menu and coveted reservation list. The cheddar bacon biscuits are worth the visit alone. (1142 Manhattan Avenue, eatmbpost.com) If you prefer delicacies of the sea, LeFevre’s Fishing With Dynamite down the block serves a mean oyster on the half-shell. (1148 Manhattan Avenue, eatfwd.com)