If LA's South Bay beach towns were dogs, Redondo Beach would be a golden retriever: playful and always ready for a game or a swim. Its name is the first hint about what you can do there, but there's more to do in Redondo Beach than just what's available on the shores of the Santa Monica Bay.
Before you get started, get oriented. Part of Redondo Beach is inland. That's not where most people go unless they're locals running errands. The oceanfront section of Redondo starts on the north end at Herondo Street. Catalina Avenue is the street to take to get to the south end at Palos Verdes Blvd. The marina is at the north end, the pier is in the middle, and the so-called Riviera is on the south.
All of that oceanfront real estate and the things to do listed below make Redondo one of the best beaches in LA for a weekend getaway.
9 Things to Do in Redondo Beach
Visit the Redondo Beach Pier: The U-shaped Redondo Pier at 121 W. Torrance Blvd. bristles with fishing poles, and once in a while you'll see someone reel in a catch. You'll also find restaurants and fast-food stands. There are plenty of souvenir shops, too, one of which touts a 16-and-a-half-foot-long great white shark on display (which is, thankfully, dead).
Go to the beach: The sandy part of Redondo Beach is just south of the pier. Lifeguards are on duty, watching kids and adults alike bobbing around in the surf. It's a beautiful place for an oceanside stroll, too.
Head for the Riviera: Some people say that the unique, local shops, salons, and eateries along Catalina Avenue between Avenue H and Palos Verdes Blvd resemble southern France. That may be an overstatement, but the Riviera Village is very appealing. You can get there by walking south from the pier along the oceanfront sidewalk, driving south from the pier on Catalina Avenue or taking Beach Cities Transit bus #109.
Ride a Bicycle: Bring yours or rent one. You'll find Marina Bike Rentals on Harbor Drive north of the pier. The oceanfront bike path is flat and runs for more than 20 miles from Redondo Beach to the Santa Monica Pier. Or take it south from the pier to the Redondo Riviera, grab a bite to eat and bike back.
Go Sportfishing: Half-day and longer deep-sea fishing trips leave from the marina. No pole? No problem. Rent equipment at the tackle shops nearby. Catches around Redondo Beach include halibut, mackerel, bonita, sand bass, and yellowtail.
Rent a Kayak or Paddleboard: The marina and nearby harbor offer plenty of room to paddle around in the protected water and lots to see.
Go for a Swim: You can swim in the ocean, but if you like your water calmer, Seaside Lagoon near the marina offers a saltwater pool surrounded by a sandy, artificial beach.
Watch the Grunion Run: It isn't a 5K or a 10K foot race. Instead, it's the mating spectacle of small, silvery fish that spawn en masse on southern California beaches shortly after high tide shortly after a full moon. The peak spawning period is late March through early June, and you can get a schedule at California Beaches.
Tips for a Day in Redondo Beach
You can park in the lot at the pier. With street parking nearly nonexistent in the area, it's an easy solution. Many of the businesses on the pier will validate your parking.
The Redondo Beach Farmers Market takes up many of the parking places in the lot south of the pier on Thursday mornings.
You'll find public restrooms on the pier and above the oceanfront sidewalk south of it.
From May through July - but most often in June - Redondo Beach can be shrouded in fog all day. Spring and fall usually bring sunny skies. Winter is also clear, as long as it isn't raining.
Go early in the day for a quiet walk on the beach or later to enjoy the people.
If you go at night during the phenomenon called Red Tide, you might even see an eerie green glow in the waves.
How to Plan a Quick Escape to Redondo Beach
You'll need a place to stay if you linger for more than a day. You can find it faster if you use this helpful guide to finding the perfect place to stay.
If you want to eat near the beach, you'll find several restaurants at the Redondo Beach Pier. Kincaid's is a good lunchtime choice when prices are lower, and you can look out over the ocean. Captain Kidd's is a local's favorite, where you can order off of the kitchen menu or select a cut of fish directly from the fish case. Otherwise, restaurant selections change too fast to keep up with, and it's best to use your favorite app to find them, paying attention to the map to be sure you don't end up dining miles inland.
How to Get There
From LAX, take the scenic route to Redondo Beach. Go west toward the ocean on Imperial Highway to its end and turn left (south). From there, all you have to do is follow the oceanfront highway as closely as you can as you drive through Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach on your way south.
From I-405, take Artesia Blvd. west to Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and go south (left). From PCH, right on W. Beryl St. to reach the marina. Turn right at Torrance Blvd. to get to the Redondo Beach Pier. Continue south on Catalina Avenue to arrive at the Redondo Beach "Hollywood Riviera" area.