What is your favorite beach?

Redondo Beach, Summer 2009

Okay, I’ve been meaning to ask this question since the beginning of summer but work, parties, conferences and all sorts of other life events have gotten in the way of posting. And although summer is sort of almost over (at least for the academic crowd), Los Angeles summers really don’t start kicking in until mid-August and sometimes into September. There have been 100 plus degrees days in October too.

When I head to the beach it’s usually Hermosa, Manhattan or Redondo. Getting there is not too bad, 110 south to 105 west and then a short drive down the coast. There’s also a freeway bus that heads in that direction from Downtown Los Angeles. When we were kids, my dad always took us to Manhattan Beach. Lots of sand, fairly clean, nice vistas. And I admit, I’ve always appreciated the many bathrooms and showers. I prefer Hermosa for the ability to park quite close to the sand but the bathrooms are far and few between. In fact, are there any restrooms at Hermosa? Redondo is also nice, easy parking, lots of restrooms, lots of sand but the walk down the ramps can be hard for older folks (sorry, mom!) This area also has lots of places to eat but I’d stay away from the bars. Once I went with a group of Eastsiders to a Hermosa Beach bar and I thought we were gonna get lynched on the way out… I’m only sort of kidding.

I recently tried a beach in Malibu on one of my weekdays off. I stopped there because I noticed only other women on the beach and they were all reading like I intended to do. It was quite peaceful and soon other women, some with children, joined us, all with hats, umbrellas and books, minding our own business, enjoying a quiet day and then…The construction worker dudes got off work around 3pm and suddenly behind me there was an audience of men, just gawking and staring. One by one, the women got in their cars and drove away. It was very strange.

Then of course, there is the infamous Marrano Beach, a small bit of sand on the Rio Hondo River (or is it the San Gabriel?) where Eastsiders have been known to frequent when unable to make it to the coast. My dad claims he only took us there ONCE, he always makes sure to tell us that as if it was something to be ashamed of. I do have childhood photos of us frolicking in the murky waters of Azusa Canyon, another Chicano water destination. I guess I should appreciate they took us somewhere.

So LA Eastsiders, what are your favorite beaches and why? Also, what kind of food do you take? (My friend always has these funny stories about eating hardboiled eggs with sand.) And I have to ask, just cause, do you wear bathing suits or old clothes?

21 thoughts on “What is your favorite beach?

  1. Hermosa Beach…quiet in the mornings unless there is a volleyball tournament. I like the south end for its tranquility.
    I took my dear old dad to the beach. It was a daughter and father day….we loved those days. He is now in Heaven Beach….I know there is one and he’s probably wearing his beach outfit…..white Fruit de Loom T shirt, plaid down to the knees shorts, short black socks and his black oxford shoes, of course his fabulous dark rimmed glasses with duck tape on the nose rim. Ya, this time he dressed himself since mom was not home.
    Walking through the sand was hard and a group of preteen girls pointed and laughed at my dad. I was a teen myself. Anger rose up in me, I wanted to smash their faces. How dare they laugh at my precious dad. Dad unaware of this teenage exchange I gave them the stink eye as they giggled and walked by us. That’s when I took a good look at him and out slipped a giggle. Yes, he did look hermoso, my dad.

  2. I lived close to beach most of my life but kind of didn’t like going in the water to much. When I did Hermosa was a spot and Manhattan Beach as well. Cabrillo Beach In San Pedro is polluted because of the port so that sucks but the coast line is beautiful and just hanging out on the rocks is nice.

  3. I have skin that breaks out in hives in most ocean water in LA County, but I think I fell in love with Coronado Beach way down south.

    I too once played in the murky waters in the Azusa Canyon. Is there even still water there?

  4. Yup most beaches in LA county suck- for the polluted water.
    Last time i got in the water at any beach was when i was like 9 yrs old. Im in the beginning of my 3rd decade of life.
    I do like beaches but just to sit in the sand and watch the water and waves.
    If I want to get in some water i would get in a pool.

    my favorite beach is East Beach up in Santa Barbara.

    But really any beach between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara is cool.

    My little secret here in LA county is going to Malibu, but not in the summer you see, go in the fall/winter early in the morning.
    Sure its cold and cloudy but you avoid the heat and crowds.
    I use to go to Malibu 3 times a week when i dated this dude that lived in Santa Monica.
    I would pick him up at 4:30am and grab some take out breakfast,the newspaper,coffee,blanket and a portable radio, this was back in 1998 before ipods/mp3 players.

    We would just relax and lay there talking and taking in the fresh air.
    By 9-10am we were done and ready to go as the crowds were arriving.
    Damn i miss the beach,its been a year now since i been.

    Good Times.

  5. I used to frequent Hermosa and Manhattan Beach a few years back but not anymore. Zuma beach is nice for the occasional bodyboarding. It’s got some good waves, perfect weather, and never gets crazy packed.

    Point Mugu is also a nice place to park your car, take a walk around the cliffs and just chill.

  6. back in the day we used to pack in my tio’s van and head down to cabrillo beach in san pedro. never gave much thought to polluted waters back then. we had fun walking on the rocks and checking out the crabs. and the aquarium at cabrillo too! food usually consisted of sandwiches de jamon.

    eventually santa monica became a destination after the 720 rapid was introduced.

  7. My favorite beach is The Dog Beach in Huntington Beach in Orange County. I take my dogs there every few months. The water is semi clean but not the cleanest in the OC, but it is shallow. The beach is small but it is next to some nice cliffs. The surf is consistent like Santa Monica but the break is about 150- 200 yards off the shore. The best thing is, you can have your dogs off leash. There are hundreds of dogs different breeds and sizes all running around, playing in the water and sand. It is a very impressive site to see even if you do not like dogs. There is meter parking and they only accept quarters. There are no time limits on the parking so you could be there all day. Mornings at the beach at 6 am in the Winter are definately the best.
    I encourage people to go check it out.Just make sure to pick up after you dog. We do not want to pick up after you. 🙂

  8. Redondo’s cool, Chimatli. Love that boardwalk. Been there a few times. Lots of people fishing there, off of that boardwalk. I mean so many people to where there was no room to stand on the perimeter, while there was nobody over that fish market, and nobody renting those paddle boats. That romantic, Italian style boat just sitting there, splashing in the dock. This was a few years ago. Everyone fishing to put food on the table, no time for play. Sign of the times?

    Love the pic of the seagull, btw, Chimatli. I’m a seagull watching addict. Those birds are characters. That hip walk… I saw one flying back and forth over his flock with a whole McDonald’s bag once, like he was showing it off. I say ‘he’ because only a male would show off like that. They crack me up when they’re walking around me while I’m eating my ice cream cone, pretending they’re NOT waiting for me to toss it to them. You know, like they’re just in the area, going about their business. Your pic of that seagull, with it’s big ol fat neck, reminds me of the beach as much as any picture would.

  9. I prefer cutoff old pants at the beach, it keeps the locals from talking to you, cuz you know, it signifies other. I’ve also had boiled eggs at the beach, kept in a sturdy plastic produce bag, you know recycling like. Next time I’m gonna write “this is not a purchased bag” on it. One tip: it’s a better idea to peel the eggs at home rather than at the beach, you eat less sand that way. But if you forget and peel on site, you can wash the eggs in the ocean and then you don’t have to bring any salt with you! You know, think green.

  10. Thanks everyone for the comments! Special thanks to Yoli for sharing that sweet story of your pops!
    So based on the comments here and on LA Eastside Facebook, it seems I’m not the only one who prefers Hermosa and Manhattan Beach. And of course, there are the folks who chose Marrano Beach…
    I’d still like to hear from more of you! Is there a special spot for nighttime beach gatherings? For bonfires? Tidepools?
    If you grew up in the SGV or IE did you tend to visit OC beaches?

  11. Orale! my captcha word was “sideside”. you do love me!

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned the Salton Sea. That’s where I went when I got out of Calipatria.

  12. Bon Fires at Cabrillo beach are cool I can vouch for that.It is a trip that people used to travel all the way from LA with family to visit Cabrillo Beach haha I always thought that was weird like why don’t they go to a better beach, but that has been going on for years. Royal Palms State Beach In San Pedro is a cool spot too to BBQ it is more rocky then anything but nice.


  13. @Sidesider lol man the Salton sea is way polluted, it used to be a spot back in the 1960’s but it got messed up because it was too salty and the ecosystem keep killing the tilapia. There is an awesome documentary on the Salton Sea which I recommend. I been meaning to go down and take photos since I go that way often.
    Plagues & Pleasures On the Salton Sea (trailer)

  14. Not sure if anyone has ever been but a few people keep on praising the Lost Coast which is just south of Eureka. From the pics and videos that I’ve seen, it’s beautiful.

  15. For bonfires try Bolsa Chica. It is north of Huntington Beach and South of Seal Beach. Come early to reserve a fire pit and bring lots of firewood.

  16. A couple of posters have mentioned the San Gabriel River as a watery getaway. Brings back lots of memory’s of when my kids were young, when my Suegra was alive, and all my Cunado’s and Cunada’s and family got along, (being a typical Chicano family that due to some insignificant or imagined insult or slight got all aguitado and now haven’t spoken to each other for decades in some cases), and were talking to each other!

    At least a couple of times a month during summer we would throw everyone in the back of a few pickups along with coolers full of beer, food to barbecue, couple of watermelons, lanterns, a ghetto blaster and tapes for music,and we would caravan up to Shady Oaks on the East Fork of the SG River.
    I would always take a rake to clean up our camping area before we set up, raking up the broken beer bottles, old burnt weenies, baby pampers full of shit, old watermelon rinds, ect;, Shady Oaks wasn’t big on cleanliness back then.
    But we all had a great time, the kids swimming in the river (after I checked for glass from the broken bottles some little malcriado’s would break throwing rocks at the bottles on a boulder in the middle of the river, fucking pendejo parents sometimes watching!), eating all that good food and getting loaded and listening to War or Kool and the Gang (Summer Madness was the bomb), the Isley Bros at midnight singing Fight The Power or Footsteps in The Dark. We and the kids had a ball and everyone at Shady Oaks would be up all night around the campfires partying down.
    The kids would always ask me to tell them spooky stories, and I would scare the living shit out them with my tales of horror and ghosts(being the story teller that I am!), and even today I get a kick out of those same kids, who are all now in their thirty’s with kids of their own, when they tell me how much fun they had and how scared they were.
    Those were great times, and besides Shady Oaks, we would sometimes go to Soledad Canyon and camp at “The Oasis” where they always had funky and great country bands playing and the cement outdoors dance floor was under a giant parachute used for shade.
    As far as Ocean Beaches we would caravan 4 or 5 or more, pickups with all the familias and kids and go down to Estero or Corona Beach south of Ensenada where it was packed with LA and San Diego Chicano families having a ball. We would stay for a week sometimes, swimming in the ocean all day and night, going fishing in the morning on Gordo’s boat, bringing back sacks full of yellowtail, barracuda, seabass, and at night we would barbeque all that fish and drink gallons of beer and tequila and sometimes wake up so crudo we could hardly see straight, but then the Mexicano’s would come by selling elotes and tamales and menudo.
    Wonderful times back then

  17. As always, love the stories DQ! So is Shady Oaks, Marrano Beach? I keep asking my dad where it’s at but he gives me a vague answer.
    When my grandfather was alive (the one in the photo), we’d do annual family trips down to San Felipe, BC on the Sea of Cortez. They had these little palapas where you could sleep on the beach. It’s so beautiful there with the exception of the flying cockroaches that start buzzing around at night and the bats who come after them.

    Thanks too for the bonfire spots. I think we need to have an LA Eastside outing at the beach before summers end.

    Sidesider: Salton Sea? You are too much and I love it! 🙂

    Heather: Good question! Has anyone been to Azusa Canyon lately?

  18. Thanks Chimatli! To answer your question, no Marrano Beach isn’t Shady Oaks. Marrano Beach was (is?)in the area of Whittier Narrows and Shady Oaks is on the San Gabriel River in Azusa Canyon.
    Years ago and due to segregation and just tribal considerations Mexican American families camped and swam at areas like Marrano Beach, Shady Oaks, Hansen Dam and the stream behind it, Green River in the Fullerton area, Tin Can Beach,(now Seal Beach), which had railroad tracks running through it and at one time was a dump that still had old tin cans and broken glass all over and under the sand.
    You know, segregation was a fucked up time but in some ways it was fun and made you feel more a part of something with hundreds of Chicano family’s all having a good time in those old recreation spots.

  19. El Matador Beach. I get bored at the beach. Tidal pools, rocks to climb, caves and rock formations galore! The water is clear and hardly any people. By the way, I wear mis chores con huaraches.

  20. Zonambulo,

    I agree with you about El Matador. The only thing is that I dislike the cold water.

    I grew up in Nayarit where the water temp is in the 80s, clean beaches and great waves riding inner tubes. 😉 We would take pescado to grill it sarandeado style.

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