Tag Archives: California Beaches

LA Heat Wave Hot Even At The Beach Cities

There’s Little Weather Relief Even In Places Like Hermosa Beach

It’s hot – but also beautiful – at the LA beaches like Hermosa Beach.

I’m wearing the thinnest clothes I own.

Taking showers with no hot water.

Sticking my head in the freezer to cool off, even if it’s for a brief moment.

The heat wave that has hit Los Angeles is hot at the beach and in many ways it’s worse here than in other parts of the city.

That’s because the Beach Cities have no air conditioning. Usually, we only need it a few days a year and it’s not worth the expense, so no apartments or houses have that chill in the air.

There is also only a faint whisper of a breeze, too. Normally, this cools things down considerably by keeping the temperature factor in the comfortable mid-70s range.

But it’s 85 degrees now and feels every like every bit of it. Step outside and it’s like walking into a giant oven.

Many businesses don’t have A/C, either. Especially bars and restaurants. All you get is a fan, which doesn’t provide much relief.

One notable exception is Sharkeez in Hermosa Beach. They have the A/C cranking inside. Maybe that’s where Surfside Sam should be hanging out – is it 5 o’clock somewhere yet!?

Refugio State Beach Recovered From Santa Barbara Oil Spill

Campers Enjoying Pristine Shoreline On The California Coast

Refugio State Beach California
Refugio State Beach has recovered from the 2015 oil spill.

Here’s some good news.

No, make that great news.

There’s no evidence of the oil spill that tarnished and closed Refugio State Beach and neighboring El Capitan Beach north of Santa Barbara  just prior to Memorial Day Weekend.

Surfside Sam knows this first hand because I stopped their on my way driving from Los Angeles to Monterey.

I wanted to see for myself what damage may have been caused and what remained and am glad to report that you would never know anything ever happened to the place.

The campground was nearly full and it was a weekday (this despite a rather ambitious $40 fee just to put down a tent, let alone a camper).

Refugio State Beach California
Looking south at the rocky shore of Refugio State Beach in California.


Refugio State Beach California
Refugio is a tropical, pristine setting along the Southern California coast

This was actually my first time at Refugio, despite having driven by there dozens of times in the past. It has camp spots, a small store, a basketball court and picnic tables and BBQ grills right at the ocean.

What it doesn’t have is much of a beach – the shoreline is comprised mainly of rocks, far bigger than pebbles but a lot smaller than boulders. Those rocks did not show any sign of oil on them.

So naturally, the cleanup crews are to thank for getting this beautiful part of the California coast returned to its natural beauty. And in such a short amount of time, which a remarkable achievement.

Wine Tasting Tours On A Bicycle In Hermosa Beach, CA

Beach Cities Bike Tours Has Special Tour For #WineLovers

Baleen Kitchedn Redondo Beach wine night
The final stop of the wine tasting tour brings cheers King Harbor marina.


Wine Lovers have something to celebrate in the the Los Angeles South Bay.

But instead of being on the popular #WineWednesday hashtag, it’s on Thursdays.

Beach Cities Bike Tours, which gives guided tours of Hermosa, Manhattan and Redondo Beach, also has a wine tasting tour on Thursday evenings.

The tours starts at 5 p.m., at the Hermosa Beach Pier.

From there, it’s onto wine tasting at Uncorked in Hermosa Beach, followed by wine tasting at The Bottle Inn just off The Strand in Hermosa. It finishes at BALEENKitchen in King Harbor, Redondo Beach, for its half-priced wine night which includes live music.

The tour lasts two hours (you can stay all night at Baleen if you chose, of course) and is the price $50 for groups up to 4 people. Each additional person is $10, plus it’ s$10 for each wine tasting and the wine consumed at Baleen Kitchen, of course.

You must supply your own bike; rental shops can be recommended. Tips are accepted.

Here’s how to contact Beach Cities Bike Tours:
• E-mail: kwilkersn@aol.com
• Facebook: Beach Cities Bike Tours
• Twitter: @CABikeTours
• Phone: (310) 990-4020

The Story Behind Noble Park Along The Strand In Hermosa Beach

Site Of Former Biltmore Hotel Is Prime South Bay Real Estate

Hermosa Beach, CA Noble Park
It was a noble effort to put in Noble Park, but there’s no rooftop bar!


If you are going along The Strand– the beachfront walking/running/bicycling path – in the Los Angeles beach town of Hermosa Beach, you may wonder why there’s a patch of manicured dirt with a few palm trees just north of the pier.

After all, with a full view of The Strand, sand and Pacific Ocean, this is prime real estate. You might expect to see a business there, say a small hotel or big restaurant or bar.

Well this is the (short) story of why there is not a hotel there and why it is instead humble Noble Park.

There used to be a hotel on this site. It started out as the private Surf and Sand Club in 1926, then became The Biltmore Hotel in the 1930s.

It was an elegant place – it seems as if most elegant places back then were called “the Biltmore” – that attracted celebrities and political dignitaries. It had a fancy restaurant, an Olympic-sized pool and a bar with rooftop dancing.

Rooftop dancing!? How did they have that back then when today we can’t even have a rooftop bar in Hemosa!?

Hermosa Beach, CA Noble Park
The park contains palm trees and a small dirt bike path.


Hermosa Beach, CA Noble Park
Noble Park is two blocks from the pier and right on The Strand in Hermosa Beach.


Hermosa Beach, CA Noble Park
A small, almost hidden plaque, shows a brief history of the Biltmore Hotel.


Eventually, the hotel fell into decline and became home of a Mexican restaurant, La Playta. That place was great; it was pretty much a slab of concrete where local singles would go for beers on sunny weekend afternoons.

Well one day in the late 80s, a developer came along and wanted to build a hotel. So La Playta was moved back a few yards – it’s almost hidden now but it’s still there – and plans went ahead for a modern version of the Biltmore.

This was supported by some locals and fought by others. The city was as divided over this as it was recently over an oil drilling issue.

Eventually it passed, was contested, went to court and it eventually ended in a tie!

Since the developers had to win the measure, it lost in the tie. The hotel was defeated by a single vote.

Now not knowing what to do with the property the city entertained other ideas and eventually, almost by default, settled on a small park.

It’s a nice park, to be sure, but it would generating a lot more revenue as a hotel or some other business.

A rooftop bar with dancing would, of course, be as popular at night as the beach is during the day.


Southern California Has Some Of The World’s Widest Beaches

In Hermosa Beach, It’s A Long Way Across The Sand To The Pacific Ocean

Hermosa Beach, CA
This is just half of the distance across the sand to the water in Hermosa Beach, CA.


I’m coming to you while sitting on the sand in Hermosa Beach, one of the little beach towns in Los Angeles County.

But I can barely see the Pacific Ocean, even though it’s right in front of me. That’s because Hermosa – like most of the beaches in this area – are so wide it’s the equivalent of three city blocks from the sidewalk to the water.

In fact, Southern California has some of the widest beaches in the world.

In other places, you can step on the sand and be steps from the water.  Here, you could put the Rose Bowl on the beach and still not reach the ocean.

The only other beach I can compare it to is Siesta Key on central Florida’s Gulf Coast.  A couple of places on Siesta make for long walks to the water.

But here, every beach is wide – Santa Monica, Venice, Manhattan, Hermosa, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, etc.  It’s only when you get down to Laguna Beach do things become more standard.

In San Diego, the beaches are not wide. Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are a Frisbee throw from wakway to water. But they are in L.A. County. And also in Santa Barbara.

A wide beach has its advantages, of course. In Hermosa and Manhattan, there’s plenty of space for two-wide volleyball courts and they don’t come close to sunbathers and surfers.

Hermosa Beach, CA The Strand
You could put the Rose Bowl between The Strand and the shore in Hermosa.


The sand is not crowded, either. There’s always plenty of room to put down your towel.

The disadvantage is that you can’t sprint from the sidewalk and make a dramatic plunge in the ocean. It’s too far of a run; you’ll be worn out long before you get to the water.

Plus – and here’s another thing about these beaches – they have the deepest sand in the world. So trying to run on it is a truly exhausting experience.

California Beaches Buzzed By Airplane Ad Banners Like Florida Beaches

Companies & Movies Advertising Along The Coast Instead Of Bars

Airplane advertising banners at the beach
Planes towing advertising banners are now in California, but are different than in Florida.


Something very “Florida-ish” has come to California.

And that is small single-engine airplanes pulling advertising banners behind them buzzing the beaches.

This has been going on for decades at places like Daytona Beach and Ft. Lauderdale, but it’s fairly recent in California.

In fact, they are  part of the beach culture in the Sunshine State. I had always figured the Golden State would think of itself as too refined to do such things (and to copy Florida – gasp!).

Of course, there’s a difference in the banners the planes are pulling in Florida and California.

In Florida, they are long and thin, have block letters that can be replaced and are all about bars: “2-4-1 Drinks At The Beachcomber!”

I actually like this; I can find out where to get cheap drinks later without leaving the beach. Or picking up my phone.

In California, the planes tow large banners advertising movies, beers and other corporate things. It’s not the same.


Hermosa Beach Sunday Summer Concerts A Real Treat For The South Bay

Hot August Nights Are A Big Picnic On The Sand For Local Residents

Hermosa Beach summer concert series 2015
Several thousand locals turn out each Sunday for the Hermosa Beach concerts on the sand.


It’s the good ‘ol summertime and in this Beach Boys lifestyle that is life in Southern California, there’s one event that stands above all others to remind us how great it is to live in this part of the world.

It’s the Summer Concert Series in Hermosa Beach, one of the trio of South Bay Beach Cities in Los Angeles County.

These are free shows highlighting local bands warming up for national touring bands (the Pine Mountain Logs and Young Dubliners are among the 2015 acts) that becomes the focal point for this beach community from early afternoon to evening.

Walk around the pier and along The Strand on Sunday and you can just feel the excitement. There’s a vibe that, even if you didn’t know what was going on, you would sense that something fun was about to take place here.

People are putting blankets and beach chairs out in the early afternoon to claim their spot, much if they were at Jazzfest in New Orleans.

Pine Mountain Logs Hermosa Beach summer concert series 2015
The Pine Mountain Logs entertains and people dance by the stage.


There’s groups of people rolling coolers up and down The Strand,  the patios of houses on The Strand and the Sea Sprite motel are full of people partying and there’s a constant stream cars moving through the streets looking for valued parking spaces.

By about 4:30, most everyone is in place, sitting on the beach as if at a giant picnic in a park. At around 5 the warm-up band strikes the first chord – local band Barley won a “Battle of the Bands” at host Saint Rocke live music venue to open the first concert – and it’s a block party on the beach.

Most people are sitting on beach chairs or towels, sharing the food they’ve brought with friends in their group. Others are by the stage, dancing in the sand.

Single people such as myself wander around to meet and talk with other single people.

It’s the perfect way to end the weekend on a summer’s evening on the beach. The concerts take place each Sunday in August.

Click the link for a lineup of bands and a full review of the Hermosa Beach summer concerts.