- Location: West Los Angeles on the Santa Monica Bay, south of LAX. See directions below
- How Long: Allow a few hours for a look around, up to a day for beach play and a meal
- Best Time to Visit: Like most of the Los Angeles coastline, Hermosa Beach can be shrouded in foggy "June gloom" for days or weeks on end. Rainy, winter days may be best spent elsewhere, but on a clear day just after a rain, the views are stellar.
Of the three beach towns in the area Angelenos call the "South Bay," Hermosa Beach is the least formal, a place where you're more likely to see a skateboarder than a spa. It's our readers' highest-rated of the trio, listed by the Travel Channel as one of the best in the U.S.
Things to Do in Hermosa Beach
- Hermosa Pier: One of several piers jutting into the Santa Monica Bay, it affords great views and is a favorite spot of local fishermen.
- The Strand: The beachfront sidewalk called The Strand is the Hermosa Beach thoroughfare for the active set, filled with bicyclers, runners and walkers. Joining them in some form of people-powered locomotion is the obvious activity, but people-watching is also excellent.
- Shops on Pier Avenue: You'll find locally-owned shops selling beach gear and casual clothing, as well as some inexpensive places to eat. We also like the laid-back ambiance at Java Man Coffee Shop, about two blocks above the pier.
- Comedy and Magic Club: Lots of locals know this, but few outsiders realize that Jay Leno performs here regularly on Sunday nights, trying out new material.
Hermosa Beach Tips
- You'll find paid parking lots at Hermosa Ave and 11th St, Hermosa Ave & 13th St and 13th Ct at 13th St. Otherwise, most other spots are metered - bring lots of coins to feed them.
- Rent bicycles and other beach gear at Jeffers Beach Rentals (39 14th Street) or Hermosa Cyclery (20 13th Street). Shops on Pier Avenue also rent surfboards and some offer lessons.
Hermosa Beach Review
We rate Hermosa Beach 3 stars out of 4 for its casual attitude and beachfront ambiance.
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Getting to Hermosa Beach
From LAX, the most enjoyable (albeit a bit slow) way to get to Redondo Beach is to drive straight west toward the ocean on Imperial Highway and turn left at the end. Follow the beach as closely as you can as you drive north through Manhattan Beach to Hermosa Beach.
From I-405, take Artesia Blvd. west to Pacific Coast Highway and go south. Turn right on Pier Ave. to reach downtown Hermosa Beach and the pier.