Category Archives: California

Features, news and fun destinations on and around California’s beautiful beaches.

What Hermosa Beach Should Know About Short-Term Rentals

Residents In Shared Houses Are Helping Local Businesses

Hermosa Beach sign Hermosa Ave.
Hermosa Beach doesn’t know everything it should about short-term rentals.

Like many cities – especially along the Southern California coast – Hermosa Beach officials are holding heated City Council meetings to ban short-term rentals.

These meetings are filled with anti-short term residents who complain (wrongfully, in most cases) about “wild parties” and such taking place while the owners are out of town.

But here’s something that Hermosa and other cities should know about short-term rentals: in most cases the owners or tenants are not out of town while the place is being rented.

If you look on Airbnb, for instance, you’ll see dozens of places in the South Bay that are shared rentals. This means that the residents are there while the renters are there, and they impose strict rules on how their guests must behave during their stay.

Yes, the residents are there with the guests. They are renting out either a spare room or are even giving up a room and sleeping on the couch.

The reason they are doing this is not to make a fortune – the only people doing that are the ones renting out entire houses – it’s to make up for skyrocketing rent prices. One house was hit with a $1,000-a-month rent increase and the tenants simply use short-term renting to make up for that huge increase.

The tenants are there the entire time and have reported to Surfside Sam they have had very pleasant experiences and have met new friends from around the country as a result of this situation. More importantly from a Hermosa Beach standpoint, not one neighbor has make a single complaint to the residents or to the city.

So not all short-term rentals are vacated properties; several are still occupied by Hermosa Beach residents and those residents make sure their visitors respect the house, the city and the neighborhood.

Those tenants are also helping Hermosa Beach businesses by recommending local restaurants, bike shops, shopping spots, Happy Hour and nightlife spots and events.

This positive experience for the visitors leads to good reviews, which leads to more visitors coming to Hermosa Beach and spending their money.

Hermosa has very few hotels and needs tourists. Without Aribnb and other shared short-term rental properties, people coming to Los Angeles would be staying in Torrance (for business), by LAX or out of the South Bay entirely in places like Santa Monica or downtown L.A.

Hermosa Beach’s City Council needs to keep all this in mind as do those vocal anti-short term rental residents.

5 Ways To Tell I’m Not A Native Californian

These Top Lifestyle Differences Stand Out To  A Southerner

Hermosa Beach sunset volleyball Goodyear blimp
In California, they play volleyball on the beach, sometimes under the Goodyear Blimp.

Despite living in California for 20 years, there are way to tell that I am not a native of the state.

I am from the South and there are just certain differences that to me – and others who know these things –  always make it apparent that I  am definitely from somewhere other than here.

1.) I Don’t Clean My Porch With A Water Hose

This is one thing I’ll never understand about Californians. They clean their porches and decks with a water hose.

They bring out the hose, spray the deck over and over, side to side, get everything wet within a half-block radius, then roll it up and do it again the next week. This, in a drought-stricken state where water is at a premium, mind you.

I’m not a native Californian. I use a broom.

2.) I Don’t Eat Avocados Or Guacamole

Californians consume avocados – and guacamole in particular – the way Canadians consume beer. Which is to say a lot.

They put avocados in salads and dishes at house parties and serve it as a side dish. Eating guacamole with Mexican-style chips is a true element of California lifestyle and people also put blobs of it on things like burritos.

When you mention the fact that avocados and guacamole are fattening, a native Californian will look at you as if you should be locked up in an insane asylum. Then they will say, in a low breath but definitely defiantly, “well it’s GOOD fat.”

3.) I Don’t Eat Artichokes (Especially The Raw Leaves)

Soon after I moved to the state, I got a girlfriend who was a true native Californian. When we went to restaurants, sometimes all she would order would be an artichoke. It’s a big, leafy thing that looks not unlike the big onion thing they serve at Outback Steakhouse.

She would pull off the leaves and scrape off something from the inside of them with her front teeth. This would be her entire meal.

That’s one of the first signs I knew that no matter how long I lived here, I would never be a true Californian.

4.) The Beach Is Used For Exercise Not For Partying

In California, people go to the beach to exercise. They run on it, play beach volleyball, even do yoga. They party after all this activity.

Not so in the South. There, the beach is for partying! Taking coolers full of beer and drinking in the sunshine. Hitting the dive beach bars after drinking on the beach.

Of course, in the South it’s legal to drink on the beach and not so anywhere in California.

5.) I Know About And Care About College Football

People in California have too much to do rather than to worry about  and follow their college football team on a year-round basis, as do people in the South. Why, they are scarcely aware there’s even a recruiting season, let alone spring football.

And when their teams play, they think the Pac-12 is the greatest conference in every sport, has the best football teams and always point out that it has won way more national titles than any other conference.

True on that last point, but how many other conferences play spots like water polo?

Surfers & Photographers Flock To Redondo Beach For Big Waves

Surfing Meets Photography In The South Bay

Redondo Beach big waves surfer
A surfer gets a full, long ride on a perfectly-shaped wave in Redondo Beach, CA.

A big winter swell hit the South Bay beaches of Los Angeles on the first Friday of February, and this brought out not just surfers, but surfing photographers and even television stations to a spot along the seawall in Redondo Beach.

As waves slammed into the jetty, people gathered to watch nature’s show throughout the day.

Three TV stations – KCBS, KCAL and KTLA – sent out cameras for that evening’s newscasts and a half dozen photographers lined the chest-high concrete wall next to the Chart House to get still images.

Surfers seemed to arrive from nowhere, suddenly appearing with boards under their arms on the little beach before charging into the water.

Redondo Beach big waves photographer
A photographer, who is a also a surfer, takes aim at surfers in the waves.
Redondo Beach big waves photographers
Photographers line the seawall on a high surf day in Southern California.
Redondo Beach big waves photographers
A surfer gives a glowing report on the conditions to those on shore.
Redondo Beach big waves
Spectators watch from rocks by the Chart House.
Redondo Beach big waves
The hard-working reporter from KCBS & KCAL captures the surfing action.

Some of the waves were perfectly-formed tubes and the surfers go long “lefts,” extended rides that carried them well into neighboring Hermosa Beach.

The odd thing was that this took place not on a wind-swept chilly day – certainly nothing close to the high winds that battered the same jetty the previous Sunday – but on a warm, sunny day.

The sky was clear, the temperature was in the upper 70s and is was a true Endless Summer day.

As a result, the  true lifestyle of Southern California was on full display in the South Bay.  People were suntanning and playing volleyball on the beach and going for leisurely bike rides along The Strand.

If you happen to be a visitor in town, you would get no better synopsis of the Beach Cities than on this February Friday.

On days like this, “life’s a beach” is not just a saying, it’s, well, the life.

Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup 2016 Dates & Information

Scuba Divers Converge On Catalina For Trash Removal

Avalon Harbor Catalina
Avalon Harbor is certainly scenic from the surface.

The 2016 Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup is Saturday, Feb. 20.

Registration is open now, with a cost of $50 before Feb. 15. After that date, or on site, it’s $60.

This is the annual trash pickup in the harbor that is one of the largest gatherings of scuba divers in Southern California. More than 500 divers participate on an annual basis.

It is also the only time scuba diving is allowed in Avalon Harbor.

And it’s something that the harbor needs – in 2015, nearly 3,000 pounds of trash was removed from the water. That’s literally a ton of trash – and them some.

While it’s good for scuba divers to take part in this cleanup, those who leave all that trash need to be there, as well, to see how much crap they are putting in the water.

Dive locations are Casino Landing, Green Pier and Lover’s Cove.

Here’s the schedule of events:
• 7-9 a.m. – Check-in; day-of registration takes place at the Wrigley Stage
• 9 a.m. – Dive Master orientations at the dive locations
• 9:30-11 a.m. – Dive cleanup
• 1 p.m. – Door prize drawing (Wrigley Stage
• 1-3 p.m. – Awards and wine tasting (Wrigley Stage)

The event, which has been going on since the 1970s, is put on by USC’s Catalina Huperbaric Chamber and Wrigley Institude for Environmental Studies – Catalina Conservancy Divers.

To register in advance, go to:

California Beach City Limiting Drone Flights

Manhattan Beach Restricting Drones To Protect Residents’ Privacy

Manhattan Beach sunset pier
Sunsets like this make Manhattan Beach a magnet for drone photographers.

While not grounding them  entirely, the Los Angeles beach city of Manhattan Beach has created basically restricted air space for the flying of drones.

A favorite tool of photographers  who love using drones to shoot the scenic city’s beaches and ocean, the devices are being restricted where they can fly in Manhattan Beach.

And this means pretty much just on the beach.

A new law prohibits drones from operating anywhere they can be perceived to be invading one’s privacy, which is on The Strand and into and over houses.

They must also keep their distance from manned flying objects such as private planes and helicopters. And there are many private helicopters that fly over Manhattan Beach on a daily basis (too many, if you ask Surfside Sam).

They also can’t buzz surfers and suntanners, as they must stay 10 feet away from people except when taking off and landing.

All these are good measures, because drones can be irritating and annoying and  you never actually know what the operator is shooting or filming to protect one’s privacy and, let’s face it, private space.

This means drones can still fly over some of Manhattan Beach’s signature events, the pro beach volleyball tournament, the 6-man beach volleyball touranment and, of course, the spectacular Holiday Fireworks.

Now let’s see if other South Bay cities – Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach – in the area will follow the lead of Manhattan Beach.


Super Bowl 10K A Top South Bay Winter Event

Redondo BeachFun Run Kicks Off A #SundayFunday

Super Bowl 10K Redondo Beach startt
The colorful nature of the Redondo Beach Super Bowl 10K is evident from the start.

In the Los Angeles South Bay Beach Cities, life is often defined by events.

There are so many fun ones, it’s easy to build a social life around them. And one of the best happens at the start of the new year, the Redondo Beach Super Bowl 10K.

This is no ordinary foot race.  More than 7,000 people participate, many who make it an annual ritual.

Several people dress up in costumes, be it themes or funny takes on politicians. The event actually kicks off with a costume contest.

There’s a beer garden.

The course is gorgeous.

It start out in King Harbor, turns up palm tree-lined Catalina Ave., peels behind Riviera Village (feel free to stop in one of the bar for a refreshing beverage, by the way!), has its stretch run along The Esplanade with a full view of the Pacific Ocean, and finished back in King Harbor.

The beer garden is in adjacent Seaside Lagoon. When the sun it out – which is usually the case – this is simply the best way to start your Super Bowl Sunday.

The scene is lively, social and everyone is in a great mood. And you don’t have to feel guilty about eating all those chips and fattening dip later at the Super Bowl parties because you’re run six miles!

Or maybe you only ran three, or even walked it, for there is also also a 5K walk/run and even a baby buggy 10K.

The 2015 run is Sunday, Feb. 7.

Here registration and a complete review of the race and the beer garden. click this link: Super Bowl 10K Race & Beer Garden Review.

Beach Cities Bike Tours The Perfect Holiday Gift

Guided Bicycle Tours In Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach & Redondo Beach

Beach Cities Bike Tours LA bicycle tours
Your friendly guide provides Beach Cities information along The Strand.

You don’t need to get Black Friday or Cyber Monday or even go to the mall or Internet to find the perfect Christmas gift for your beach-loving relative or friend.

Instead, go to the beach!

Give the person the Beach Cities Bike Tours, a guided tour of the Los Angeles South Bay towns of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. Or, if you get the Deluxe Package, up to Venice Beach and Santa Monica.

All on a bicycle!

The tour – given by long-time Los Angeles beach veteran Kevin Wilkerson – goes along The Strand, a beach walk and bike path that parallels the sand and Pacific Ocean.

The tour points out Hollywood movie and film locations, top surf spots, the mecca of beach volleyball, South Bay historical sites and the Southern California beach lifestyle.

The guide also gives recommendations on his favorite restaurants, bars and nightlife.

The tours cost just $25/hour (bike rentals extra), and that’s for up to groups of four (most tours last two hours).

So there’s a bonus – in addition to having a unique and great present for relative or friend, you can have a gift for yourself, as well.

Beach Cities Bike Tours:
• Facebook: Beach Cities Bike Tours
• E-mail:
• Phone: (310) 990-4020