On my recent trip to L.A., I had the pleasure of staying in Manhattan Beach for a few nights. It is by far the best beach I’ve visited in the continental U.S. – and I’d move there in a heartbeat. As far as beaches go, I’m pretty spoiled. It’s hard to compare the cliffside views of Cinque Terre or unique attributes of Greek beaches with our beach options in the U.S., so you know that Manhattan Beach must be something to steal my heart.
And let me tell you – this place is pretty perfect. Situated southwest of Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach is full of clean and uncrowded oceanfront, cute cafes and shops, and lots and lots of money. It’s also known as beach volleyball mecca, with nets lining much of the beach area and many tournaments hosted there.
Should you ever find yourself in need of a quiet beach town with a dose of L.A. glamour, here are my recommendations for Manhattan Beach visits:
I hopped hotels in Manhattan Beach to give you guys the best of both worlds:
Sea View Inn ($): This no-frills hotel has everything you’d ever need for a low-key stay at Manhattan Beach. The management is so helpful, and you can borrow all your beach gear like towels, umbrellas, chairs, and even bikes (for free!). Rooms come with an ocean view and balcony, but without the typical ocean view price. If you’re going to park yourself in the sand with a cold beverage all day, you won’t be spending much time in their clean-but-small rooms anyway. There is a convenience store (with booze), yoga studio, and cafe on the same block, too! So convenient.
Shade Hotel ($$$): If you’re looking for a luxe hotel in Manhattan Beach, Shade is perfect. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know I’m a sucker for a place that hands me a glass of rosé at check-in. Surrounded by upscale shops and cute places to grab a bite or drink, this spot has plenty to keep you busy. What it lacks in ocean views, Shade makes up for in the rooms. I’m talking a fire cyclone and giant whirlpool tub with a customizable light show, y’all. If you get lucky like I did, you might even find a farmer’s market on the next block.
- – The Strand House is my pick for a nice dinner or bougie brunch in Manhattan Beach. The restaurant boasts gorgeous ocean views, a solid menu with plenty of healthy options, and great cocktails. Try to score a table around sunset!
- – While strolling around Manhattan Beach, I kept noticing happy-looking people with giant bowls of something. A little sleuthing revealed that these were acai bowls from Paradise Bowls, filled with goodness like pity, cacao nibs, and fresh fruit. They make the perfect breakfast or mid-day snack.
- – Lemonade locations can be found all around L.A., but this bright and cheerful cafeteria-style spot is the perfect place for a quick meal before hitting the beach. Stop in for fresh, seasonal food with vegetarian options, or just grab one of their lemonade blends (like watermelon rosemary or guava. Yum).
- – Walk The Strand. This biking/running/walking path offers views of mansions on one side, and the Pacific on the other. You’ll share your walk with lots of fit people and maybe some celebrities.
- – Visit Manhattan Beach Pier for great views of the sea and the California coastline.
- – Shop at Marine Layer for the softest shirts ever, or Aviator Nation for retro surf style.
Ever been to Manhattan Beach? Tell me the spots I missed on my quick trip!