Distance: 6 miles round-trip
Time: 3 hours
Bring: Swimsuit, towel
There’s something exciting about a pier, the way it hovers above the waves, extending our reach past the coastal limits. This walk takes you to three—at Redondo, Hermosa, and Manhattan Beach—and offers plenty of sun and sand along the way.
Start on the south end and park near the Redondo Beach Pier (with its ancillary 300-foot-long Monstad Pier, said to be one of the best fishing spots in Southern California), and stroll past its restaurants, shops, and arcade. When you’re ready to move on, take the stairs to the pier’s upper level to Harbor Drive and walk north on the sidewalk, passing King Harbor, home to more than 1,100 pleasure craft. No beach town is complete without a Wyland mural, and here, across the road, you can’t miss the power plant with the marine artist’s enormous Gray Whale Migration.
Less than a mile from the starting point, you’ll hit Hermosa City Beach, where sanderlings, willets, and other shorebirds gather and where the walk’s second pier juts 900 feet into the sea. A series of bronze plaques embedded in the pier marks the Surfers Walk of Fame, which pays homage to the sport’s pioneers and Hermosa’s surfing legends.
Continue north on the wide stretch of sand, making sure to look for coots, grebes, and pelicans in the waters near shore. When you reach Manhattan Beach Municipal Pier, which offers fishing and the sight of dolphins swimming among the surfers, head to the pier’s tip and enter the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium, situated in an octagonal Mediterranean-style building. Sunsets can be glorious here, with silhouettes of the Palos Verdes Peninsula to the south, the Santa Monica Mountains to the north, and Catalina Island floating on the western horizon.
Photograph by Dustin Snipes