Marina Del Rey

Marina del Rey is a seaside community in Los Angeles County, California with a pretty sizable harbor and a capacity for about 5,000 boats. It features a Fisherman’s Village with shops and restaurants. When I went in November, it was pretty dead. But that made it even more quaint. However, there were plenty of people enjoying the restuarants and music playing in the lighthouse plaza. They had a funk band playing and the ocean front cafe was crowded.

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With the bright buldings, cobblestone paths, and the lighthouse, I felt like I was taking a trip to New England.

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There are several companies to rent boats — both sail and motor, kayaks, wind-surfboards, etc. See this link for more information:
Seems like a really fun place to come in the summer and play on the harbor.

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Fishing trips are also available at :

It was really nice to stroll the village and enjoy the marina view and as I mentioned, this day was not crowed but I think in the summer it can get packed.

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There are a few hotels along the harbor that can fit any budget, with The Ritz-Carlton being the swankiest. But it IS nice. Might be a spurge some weekend especially when Venice Beach and Venice Canals are only a few miles away.

We drove all around the harbor and viewed Fishermans village from across the bay.

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I found it interesting that all around the harbor there are apartments or condos and plenty of them. No homes that I saw. This is in contrast to  someplace like Newport Harbor where all are pretty much homes.

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There are also plenty of strolling places on each side of the harbor and you can take your dogs too.

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All in all a great place to go for the day to take you away for a little while. Visit this web site for more information.


Naples Canals and Alamitos Bay California

A little known area in the Long Beach area is the Alamitos Bay and Naples Canals. The first photos below are of Alamitos Bay with its wider channels and it’s entrance to the open sea. In the horizon you can see Catalina. This day happened to be a very warm day in December with one of the better sunsets of the year.

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Nestled a couple miles from Long Beach, the Naples canals are unlike the Venice canals because they are wider and deeper. More small to medium boats can travel in the canals.

Built on three islands located in Alamitos Bay, most of the streets on the island have Italian names. The center of Naples features a large fountain which serves as a popular meeting spot.

During the holidays the houses on the canals are lit up which reflects on the water and makes the area even more beautiful. I went on December 1st, so not all the houses were decorated yet but plenty had a vast array of decorations and lights.

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Each canal has a sidewalk so you can leisurely stroll and view the beautiful homes. Dogs are allowed on the walkway.

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Another way to view the canals is by a romantic or family Gondola ride. Check this link: This is one of only a few places in California where you can take a gondola ride through canals.

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I didn’t see one ‘For Sale’ sign and I can see why. You wouldn’t want to leave there. So peaceful and serene. I felt like telling everyone that was sitting on their porch how jealous I was but I held back.

In the channels of Alamitos Bay there where Christmas Tree barges set up about every 50 feet. Made the bay look magical.

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The buildings of Long Beach you will see below in the photos is just a few miles away but this area has a whole different atmoshere. I loved it there.

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Here is a link for things to do in that area including Long Beach:

In the Southern California area, a fun one day excursion.

More Alamitos Bay:

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Viejas Casino and Outlet Mall for the holidays.

Visited Viejas casino and outlet mall this past weekend( November 30th)

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After 5:00 they have a water show that is awesome. Moving to the sound of holiday music, the water program is elaborate and entertaining. It is a great kid attraction with intervals of fake snow coming from above.

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The outlet has all your favorite stores including Nike, The Gap, Tommy H, etc. Plus s food court including my fave Rubios as well as others. To get you further in the spirit and if you have the energy, they have an ice skating rink and a huge Christmas tree in the middle of the outlet.

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The entrance to the casino is right across the street from the outlets. So if you have any money left from spending at the outlets you can gamble all night. Or is it the other way around?, if you have any money left from the casino you can spend at the outlet mall. Or if you are really hungry, eat at their buffet or other fine restaurants.

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Visit for more information and directions. A great place to take the family or to get in the holiday spirit.


Venice Canals in Los Angeles

The Venice Canals are man-made canals that recreate the appearance of Venice, Italy.

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Walk along the canal’s peaceful banks and admire the beautiful homes mixed in with quaint cottages. It a mellow setting and perfect for just strolling or walking your dog.

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It is about a mile from the famous and circus like Venice Beach where life is a little more hectic. You can easily do both in a day. Plus visit Marina Del Rey only about a mile from the beach. We will be doing a blog on Marina Del Rey soon. They tell me there are walking tours, I found this link:
Plus there are many events in the canal and around Venice Beach. Check this link.

Here are directions to the Venice Canals.
Begin at Pacific and 25th Ave.

Transit: From the Spring/1st stop in Downtown LA take the 733 Bus towards Santa Monica. Disembark at Main/Grand and walk about 10 minutes south on Pacific Ave. until you reach Ave. 25.

Car: From the 10 Freeway West merge onto the 405 Freeway South toward Long Beach/LAX. Then merge onto the CA-90W for 3 miles and turn right onto Lincoln Blvd. After 0.5 miles turn left onto Washington Blvd. Then after about 1.3 miles turn right onto Pacific Ave. Drive until you reach Ave. 25.

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Take a Flying Lesson

Great one day excursion. Many plans available check out Groupons. You get to sit in the pilot seat and taxi and then fly the airplane. He shows you the controls (not a lot to learn) and actually lets you take off. During flight you get to be at the full controls. He also lets you land. In San Diego, they let you go over the ocean which is awesome. On my flight we went inland because of the marine layer and visibility.

Below is a  video of my landing.