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A Bit About LA's South Bay Beach Towns
The area that Angelenos call "south bay" is located on the south side of the C-shaped Santa Monica Bay. The beach towns south of LAX are Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach.
California Highway 1 is the principal street passing through these towns. It's called Pacific Coast Highway in Redondo and Hermosa Beach. Its name changes to Sepulveda when it enters Manhattan Beach north of Artesia Blvd.
In all three of these fun towns, the beach is accessible to everyone, with a paved oceanfront path that's always full of walkers, runners, bicycle riders and skaters. They each have a pier to enjoy, too.
Where to Stay: Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach or Redondo Beach?
You can base your choice of which town to stay in based on hotel characteristics and price. They're all so close together that you could stay in any of the three towns and enjoy them all within just a few miles of your hotel.
If you're looking for a specific style, this may help:
If towns have a personality, Manhattan Beach is the hoity-toity one, with upscale shops and a fancy hotel.
Hermosa Beach is the local surfer dude, a little rough around the edges, but friendly.
Redondo Beach has a split personality, with a busy pier full of old-fashioned amusements and fishermen, but at the same time it calls its shopping area the "Riviera."
Hermosa Beach Hotels
The further you get from the ocean, the less expensive your hotel room will be.
Hotels along Pacific Coast Highway and Sepulveda are on a busy, commercial street. Their rates will be lower and they generally don't charge for parking.
Despite its "surfer dude" personality, Hermosa Beach has the nicest beachfront hotel in the area, the Beach House. You can walk out the front door of this place and have sand in your shoes in seconds.
You'll also find less-expensive places to stay along Pacific Coast Highway. To find the best place for you and your budget, start by reading reviews and comparing prices at Tripadvisor.
Redondo Beach Hotels
You'll also find places to stay in Redondo Beach near the marina, among them the Redondo Beach Hotel and Crowne Plaza. Both are just across the street from the marina and a short walk to the Redondo Beach Pier. The Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club sits between the marina and the breakwater wall and has views of both the marina and ocean.
Manhattan Beach Hotels
The "fancy" hotel in Manhattan Beach is Shade Hotel. Located a few blocks from the beach, it's a newer, hip place whose lobby bar can be overrun with noisy non-guests on weekend nights.
You'll also find some hotels along Sepulveda Blvd., North of Manhattan Beach Blvd. the beach town feel declines. Nevertheless, you may find the best place for you and your budget there.
Other Locations Nearby
If you're looking for a great weekend hotel deal, expand your search north away from the beach and into hotels in El Segundo. It's not much of a beach town,but has several good places to stay in the area on Mariposa Avenue. With few business travelers there on weekends, they're some of the best bargains in town - and close to a Metro Green Line station, which connects you to the rest of Los Angeles without needing to drive.
Finding Other Places to Stay in Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach
You won't find traditional bed and breakfast inns in the beach towns, but there are plenty of options on Airbnb, including "floating apartments" on someone's boat. Search Airbnb for any of the three city names and then move the map around to see what's available in all of them.
If you dream of staying "at the beach," don't let a listing with pictures of the beach fool you. They might be a half mile or more away from the sand. Be even more skeptical of listings that say "beach style" or "beach view." Check a map or ask the host before you book.
Houses on the walking streets near the ocean in Manhattan Beach can make an especially fun place to stay. The magic words to find them are "walk street" or "walking street." But not all such streets are close to the ocean, and again, you should check a map to be sure you know exactly what you're getting.