A couple weekends ago my Mom, my siblings and I went to California for a little weekend getaway. Our priorities were playing at the beach and having a fun time. Mission accomplished! I want to do more posts like this to show you where I go, what I do, what I eat, and what I recommend and don’t recommend when I travel! Maybe it’ll help some of you on your next trip. 🙂
We stayed at the Ramada Limited Redondo Beach, I think we found it online and decided it looked good. Being completely honest I think it was a little expensive for the quality of the room, but if you find a good price it’s a great location and does the job for a weekend! We didn’t spend much time in the room because we were out and about, so it served us well. Perks were the location (we walked to the beach easily) and continental breakfast in the morning (make-your-own waffles, yoghurt, fruit, muffins, etc.) Next time I visit California I think I might stay in one of the hotels in Carlsbad CA, they always look amazing and it would be nice to spend time in a different part of the state!
I Instagrammed this photo on our last day at breakfast at Polly’s on the Pier, more about that below!
We flew in on Friday afternoon and immediately wanted to hit the beach. We also immediately wanted Mexican food. A quick Yelp search led us to Los Caballitos Deli in Redondo really close to our hotel. Great burritos (next time I’ll ask for no lettuce, I can’t get used to burritos with hot lettuce in them!) the carne asada was delicious. Don’t be turned away because it’s located in a liquor store/convenience store, we enjoyed it!
Burritos on the beach.
We played at the beach for a few hours and it was almost EMPTY! I’ve never been a huge fan of California beaches, they have a reputation for being crowded and the water is cold. Apparently late August/early September is a great time to visit because the water was quite nice, not too cold at all and we had a great time splashing around! I would also recommend Redondo Beach because it seems to be less popular than the surrounding areas, but I don’t know why. The sand was great, and we had so much space to ourselves – loved it!
For dinner we found Bluesalt Fish Grill in Hermosa beach, again via Yelp. (Hermosa beach is right next to Redondo, so only a few minutes away.)
We all tried different things, I got sort of a seafood platter kind of thing, but I didn’t realize it would all be fried. It was tasty but I didn’t love that it was all fried, I just wanted the fresh seafood. :/ My brother got a delicious steak, my Mom got the halibut (DELICIOUS) and I believe my sister got chicken. Everyone else really enjoyed their meal! It’s not a server/restaurant, you order at the counter and they bring it to you, it’s more informal.
After dinner we had a sweet tooth so we got a treat at Paradis Ice Cream.
I really enjoyed the flavors, the chocolate was very rich and the stracciatella was very creamy, though they weren’t overly sweet. Very gelato-like. I loved it, but my Mom & sister were more lukewarm. They said they liked it but probably wouldn’t go out of their way to go back. To each their own, I’ll definitely go again next time I’m in Hermosa beach!
Saturday morning we had breakfast at the hotel. A waffle, some fruit and a yogurt really hit the spot and got us out and about quickly. It was an overcast California morning so we went and rented bikes to cruise around the coast.
I can’t remember exactly how much it was, but it was definitely reasonable and I believe we rode around for around and hour and a half, maybe 2 hours. We rode up and down the coast and it was a great way to spend the morning!
Momma, little brother Cody, & little sister Christy.
While we were bike riding we stopped and walked along the Redondo Beach pier. They have various shops and food along the pier and it was fun to see people fishing, and it wasn’t very crowded even on a Saturday. The churros were a necessity!
I feel like these men get together every Saturday and play this game, and have for 30 years. That’s the story I imagined anyways… 🙂
After the bike rides we went to the beach for a quick jaunt in the surf. We left in a hurry and drove to LA to try to go on a whale watching california tour, but were 3 minutes late and they left without us! Instead we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific, we did a combo deal that was Aquarium of the Pacific and a whale watching tour for $60 total. You can find that and some other combo deal options on their website. If you do that, make sure you leave plenty of time to deal with LA traffic getting there! Learn from our mistakes. 🙂 It worked out just fine for us to go to the Aquarium though and we wandered around for hours! Keep an eye out for the November finale of Cake Wars, we’ll be in the background as the winner is announced because they filmed it at the Aquarium while we were there! If you follow me on Snapchat (JackieWelling) you saw the winning cake and the film crew!
The Lorikeet Forest was filled with these kinds of beautiful birds! They would fly around and even apparently land on people sometimes! You can also feed them nectar, but we didn’t know that was an option until we were leaving the aquarium. I say definitely do that if you can!
Weirdly enough my favorite exhibit was the jellyfish. SO many different kinds, and I just think they’re so beautiful.
As far as the Aquarium goes, I think I was expecting more… If you haven’t been to many aquariums before then this is great for you. I’ve been to Shark Reef in Vegas numerous times, and we have a pretty decent aquarium in Utah near where I live. I’d built up “The Aquarium of the Pacific” a little bit too much in my head and was slightly let down. The shark enclosure was a little sad, and I felt like they could have had more… I can’t quite pinpoint it, but it was slightly underwhelming. Take that with a grain of salt though, you might go and absolutely love it!
We drove back toward Redondo Beach after the Aquarium and decided to eat at Killer Shrimp in Hermosa. It has 3 stars on Yelp and I think that’s about right. The “killer shrimp” appetizer we ordered was SPICY. I guess that’s what they mean by “killer” shrimp! I’m a wimp with spice but my sister and Mom really liked it. I got the lobster mac & cheese, it was tasty but definitely needed more lobster. My Mom got the clam chowder and we weren’t fans, something about the taste was odd. My sister got some tacos and seemed to enjoy them. Overall it was pretty good!
On Sunday we went to Polly’s on the Pier for breakfast, another Yelp find. This one was my FAVORITE place of the trip! It is located in Redondo on a pier (obviously) and is sort of a hole-in-the-wall place the locals go, my favorite kind of place to eat.
We watched people fishing as we waited for a table, you can eat inside or out on the pier and it was beautiful weather. The inside is very small, be aware of that. I got a pancake breakfast plate with your typical bacon, sausage, and eggs and ate every bite. My little brother got a blueberry muffin and it was SO GOOD. Warm and I think they make them there, because it was so very delicious. Everyone enjoyed it and I loved the “local” vibe of the place.
After breakfast we went to do the whale watching tour, this time we made it on time.
We didn’t actually see any whales, we cruised around for around 3 hours trying to find some but ended up just finding tons of dolphins. HUGE pods and the boat would go around in circles so the dolphins would jump through the waves and we saw so many, I absolutely loved it. I could watch them all day.
It was a really nice boat ride, we relaxed in the sun and really enjoyed the trip. We would’ve loved to see whales, but it was still such a great time.
After whale watching we headed to the airport to drop off my little sister.
Little sis, she lives in Las Vegas.
We stopped in Inglewood for a quick bite before her flight and stumbled on a small shop called ‘V’s Donuts’. It is probably the definition of ‘hole-in-the-wall’ – sketchy neighborhood, in a strip mall, etc. BUT we LOVED it! The sweet Asian lady who runs it made us the best sandwiches, they have massive croissant sandwiches and subs, fruit, and obviously donuts. Everything was so delicious! You just don’t know sometimes until you try, I was so impressed. If you need a quick lunch in Inglewood, go there for sure. It’s pretty close to the airport too.
After the airport we got to our hotel by the airport (a cheap Motel 6 for convenience to our early flight.) We needed just one more beach trip so we drove to Manhattan Beach which was really close to our hotel. We met my friend Margo and played in the surf. It was scary though because the waves were pretty intense and we just got rocked. We only lasted around 10 minutes before I said, “OK everybody out!” I got too scared my little brother was going to get pulled under or something. Although on saying that, we did have a great time playing in the waves at the beach, and it was great to catch up with Margo too. She told me that I should find a house in Manhattan Beach so that we had the chance to meet up more occasionally. I have to say, it’s definitely not a bad idea as California is one of my favorite places, but I’m not ready to make that big leap yet. Maybe one day in the future though, as long as the waves don’t get me first…
LOVE this new swimsuit from La Blanca – so comfortable and I can play around in the waves without worries anything is going to pop out. It is hard for me to find a good suit – so I definitely recommend this one.
We flew out of the airport early Monday morning! Such a fun weekend trip, we just loved it! Highly recommend heading to Redondo Beach for a quick trip. I hope you enjoyed this little recap! I’ve been in New York for a few days and I’ll definitely be posting about that soon.