Redondo Beach is not exactly one of your sleepy coastal California towns. Located minutes from LAX airport in Los Angeles County, it is one of a few beach towns that comprise of what is called the South Bay. Along with Hermosa and Manhattan Beach, Redondo is where L.A. goes to the beach. As you can imagine it can be incredibly crowded in the summer.
On one extremely warm day in early March, you could have sworn it was smack in the middle of summer. People flocked to the beach that day as if it was a boiling hot July weekend. With parking often a problem in these Los Angeles beach towns, it was nice to find a space in the first parking lot we drove through. Because of the crowds, the pier offers multi level parking and additional lots are scattered around the nearby area.
The Redondo Pier is a hub of activity with all the shops, restaurants, arcades, boat rentals, and more. Seafood was abundant as local vendors were selling it out in an open market, or you could dine at one of the many sit down restaurants. I am not a fan of seafood so my face scrunched up a few times as a plate full of sea urchin or crabs passed by on its way to a table of anxiously waiting dining guests. I was in the minority though as the restaurants were packed full and the lines to buy the fresh seafood were especially long.
Small shops selling various items were lined on one side of the small marina while on the other side sat the gaming arcade which was alive with all the usual sights and sounds of video games old and new. At the entrance of the new cement section, you can rent kayaks, SUP’s, paddle boats, book a boat tour, or take a ride on a glass bottom boat.
The new pier section was rebuilt after storms and an electrical fire destroyed it many years ago. It has a new contemporary look to it in my opinion, yet I don’t know if that was the look they were trying to achieve.
Strolling and Sea Life
Strolling along the pier you can see the paddle boats and stand up paddlers enjoying the calm waters of King Harbor. As you make your way around the horseshoe shaped pier you’ll see the numerous hotels that line the beach to the south.
The shallow water under the pier as well as in the small marina is crystal clear and a beautiful tint of blue which allows you to see the wonderful sea life just below the surface. We watched a baby seal playing in the surf and over by the jetty the clear water allowed us to see a bright orange Garibaldi Perch swimming lazily around the rocks.
Continuing south on the pier, you will soon hear the rocking beat of a 4 piece band belting out the hits of the seventies. On any given weekend, musicians perform in the middle of the pier to entertain the crowd with a variety of music. You can sit and watch or enjoy your stroll to the chart-buster sounds of any given era.
Kites and Music
Looking west, motorboats and sailboats glided across the horizon and the warm ocean breeze was perfect for a day of kite flying. As it turned out, that weekend was the “41st Annual Festival of the Kite” so there were hundreds of kites in every shape, color, and size that were taking advantage of the perfect wind coming from the sea.
Redondo Pier is a great place for every age. Let the kids loose in the arcade while you sit and listen to the live band, rent a paddle boat, take a tour, swim, fly a kite, shop, or dine at the variety of restaurants.
If you love seafood, this is your place. Luckily they had a El Torito at the base of the pier to satisfy us Mexican food lovers. There’s nothing like a taco to take away the vision of a sea urchin waiting to be eaten.
Enough of my bellyaching about edible sea life, the fact of the matter is… Redondo Pier is a wonderful place to visit and highly recommended by Staycations California.
Story and photos: Debbie Colwell
Wildlife is abundant around the pier.
The old section of the pier shaped like a boat.
The beach was packed on this early March afternoon.
The entrance to the harbor.