The morning that I woke up to go to Redondo Beach, I checked the weather. Rain and lightning storms. I thought about canceling my plans, but luckily I didn’t. I knew it wasn’t a long drive, so I decided to go for it. Redondo Beach is only 40 minutes south of where I live in LA, and I was dying to get back on a paddleboard. When I arrived at the Redondo Beach Hotel, the sky was blue and it was surprisingly warm. I hoped the storm had blown past. I started my day with plans to paddleboard (or SUP as some people call it), then later, hit some restaurants and take a boat trip.
I rented a board from Tarsan, a shop right in the marina. Heading out with a few others, we were instructed by Elizabeth, who brought special equipment so that we could clearly see through the water to watch the marine life. We paddleboarded right through the marina, spotting sea lions, crabs and garibaldi fish. One man in our group fell off his board, but the rest of us had smooth sailing in the waveless marina. We even ran into Annabelle Anderson, the Women’s World Stand Up Paddle Champion, who often trains in the marina.
Just as we pulled back into the dock, I felt a rain drop on my cheek. Luckily, we had an afternoon of eating ahead of us. We took cover from the rain by trying out some of the best local restaurants. R10, a trendy, Brooklyn-esque restaurant, featured everything from rich Irish soda bread, to excellent charcuterie and the best mussels I’ve ever had. And I’m a mussels and clams enthusiast. They were cooked in a light thai curry sauce.
Kincaid’s, an upscale spot with massive windows looking out onto the ocean, had some of the best appetizers I’ve ever had. Sipping a lavender martini, we indulged in cups of lobster bisque, amazing beef tenderloin and ridiculously good key lime pie.
The sky cleared up, just in time for us to take a walk down the pier and get some fresh sea air. The pier is covered in engravings of marine life, including whales, sea lions and jelly fish. There are tons of shops and restaurants along the pier, but one of the most famous eateries is Tony’s. Our next stop.
The view at Tony’s is a force to be reckoned with. The restaurant has a crow’s nest bar on top of it, with a 180 degrees of ocean. I called it the Redondo Beach version of The Top of the Rock in New York, but with traditional maritime decor. We sat down for a platter of crab cakes, calamari and coconut shrimp. Their signature drink, the mai tai, is perfect for relaxing in the crow’s nest, and the coconut shrimp cannot be missed.
Walking a bit further down the pier, we made it to our final foodie stop: Barney’s Beanery. This pub-style restaurant is a Los Angeles classic, but this is the only Barney’s I have seen with an ocean view. For any beer fan, Barney’s is the place. I got the SoCal sampler, and tried six beers, all from Southern California. The Coachella Valley Desert Swarm was amazing, only to be outdone by the delicious coffee taste of King Harbor Abel Brown. The chili fries and the wings were delicious and made great food for a group. But the highlight of Barney’s was the WeHo. Named after the original Barney’s location in West Hollywood, the WeHo is a blended drink, served in a pineapple. I likened it to a pina colada with a strawberry twist. This drink is perfect for the beach. I shared it with a friend and we fought over the last few sips!
Now that the sky had cleared up, it was time for the final stop of the day: a boat trip! Body Glove, the prominent water sports gear company, is based in Redondo Beach. We had the privilege of meeting up with Ronnie Meistrell, son of the founder of Body Glove and Dive n’ Surf, for a trip on the Body Glove boat. We headed out through the bay toward open ocean. We enjoyed delicious sandwiches and salads from Sacks on the Beach, we took a sunset cruise. The clouds leftover from the rain made for some of the most beautiful light, and one of the best sunsets, I’ve ever seen! We munched on a light dinner and watched the sailboats enjoy the windy day.
Dolphins and sea lions swam happily around the boat. Also, although I didn’t see them, several people told me that whales are a daily sight in Redondo Beach. Apparently, the plankton that they love to eat come very close to the shore in a deep crevice, and the whales follow them in.
Chatting with the other people on the boat, I began to talk with Tony Vanore, the Director of Scuba Operations from Dive n’ Surf. Whale watching, from under the water, and swimming through shipwrecks are both common diving activities in Redondo Beach. Apparently, there are even multiple shipwrecks to choose from!
My next trip to Redondo will be a diving trip, for sure!