This is Justin writing today. Although Olya usually writes the travel logs, I wanted to step in and write this post as an observer from the side. Any mom knows how to make kids happy, but moms need breaks too, especially on vacations, so this is our experience from a man’s point of view who took over most of the “mommy duties” for the weekend.
This last weekend we got the chance to make our way down to Southern California, and instead of staying in the main LA area we headed just a little further south to find a little hidden gem at Redondo Beach. The hitch in the plan was that our wonderful San Francisco weather decided to follow us, bringing with it much cooler temperatures and rain. The locals always say, it hardly ever rains, yet it always seems to whenever we come to visit. :)
The little ones, especially Evyianne was so excited to be getting on the plane, he kept asking if the next one he saw was ours :)
The great thing about Redondo Beach though, is that even if the weather isn’t the best, there are plenty of things to do. Some of these things we got the chance to do, and some will be on our list for next time we visit. Our first plan of the trip after settling in at the hotel was to take a family bike ride along the beach. Due to the weather we opted to experience the SEA Lab, a sea-life education center for kids. Everyone loved it, especially Evyianne who just couldn’t get enough of the outdoor tanks where you could see and touch the sea life. The older ones also loved learning about the coral life, and other sea life. It was also interesting to see how many of the fish would come up and swim halfway out of the water to interact with the kids. An interesting fact: did you know that Halibut are not born staying on their sides? They actually choose which side they want to stay on later in life, and then their eyes shift to both be on top. Amazing how different creatures adapt!
A few other fun ocean adventures included whale watching, paddle and pedal boat rides, and the Looking Glass Boat. Unfortunately the wind and rain kept those from running this time around, but we can’t wait to experience them next time we are here.
Another fun place at Redondo Beach is the Redondo Pier. Filled with shops, restaurants and the old-style Fun Factory, there is plenty to do when an outing on sea just isn’t in the picture. On one of the evenings, while giving Olya some much needed resting time at the hotel, I took the kids to Fun Factory for some arcade fun. Everyone loved the time there, especially Elia who didn’t want to stop riding the little merry-go-rounds they had. Nikola and Vasilisa even got lucky on one of the ticket games and won over 1000 tickets, so they all got to pick some great prizes that they haven’t put down ever since.
On our last day in the area the weather cooperated to allow for a fun bike ride, at least that was what we thought it would be. I’m sure that for many, the beach bike riding would be great, but ours was quite literally an epic fail. :) We needed to get a bike trailer for the little ones, and Elia wailed the entire 15 minutes we tried to ride. We got out and found that all she wanted was to be sitting on the bikes with us, not in a trailer, and Vasilisa couldn’t quite figure out how to use the ride-on attachment they have for younger kids. So nonetheless it didn’t quite work out. The older ones still had fun though, maybe next time will be better. :)
Some other fun experience to note for future trips or for those planning to go, would be the Wilderness Adventure in the Hopkins Wilderness Park, as well as the Seaside Lagoon (open during the summer months)
The first activity for the trip, and all were excited to go on the tour at the SEA Lab.
Evyianne loved this tank so much, he kept running back to look :)
Some great creations by the girls
The epic bike ride...
Even being short ... still tons of fun
The kids even found Chitty Bang Bang come to life :)
The kids found a fun Psychic Reader in a coffee shop while exploring the Riviera Village.
Yeva spots a great little shop to check out
With gifts in hand everyone left happy
From seafood to traditional cuisine, Redondo Beach offers a wide variety of restaurants and other food options to choose from. I’ll just highlight some of our favorites as we will share more about eating in Redondo Beach in a future post to come soon.
One place that stands out (we went there twice at the request of the kids) was Locale 90 Pizza Market. Offering a menu filled with fresh tasty choices, Locale 90 is definitely a place to check out when you are in the area. With a couple locations in the area, kids and adults will love their take on pizza and other offerings.
For a fresh food option, one of our favorites was Sacks on the Beach. The kids all loved the veggie sandwiches, and gelato on a stick for dessert was a great treat they all enjoyed.
After some fun activities, Sacks on the Beach was a great stop to eat.
Everyone loved the dishes at Bettolino Kitchen
One thing that can definitely make or break your trip is the hotel you stay in. Fortunately for this trip we got to stay in two places that can be aces in my book. For our first two nights in Redondo Beach we stayed in the Redondo Beach Hotel, and everyone loved it, especially the kids. The decor was clean and presentable and fit right in with the airy beach vibe of the area. The rooms were just the right size and each offered very insulated walls which canceled out all the sound of anything going on next to you. This is really nice to let you baby sleep and know that the “party” next door won’t wake her up, and also for those times when your baby cries at night, at least you have the peace of mind as a parent to know that you aren’t disturbing anyone else.
The kids loved going to the pool every day we were there (since the beach was just too cold this time around). They have restrooms right there at the pool, and laundry so you can dry those swim suits to ready for the next swim. The hot tub was nice and large, and the little ones loved to hang out there as it had two steps and a bench that wraps all around that offers lots of room to walk and play around in the water while keeping nice and warm, even with the wind outside. Elia never wanted to leave each time we put her there.
On our third day we checked into the Portofino Hotel and Marina, and initially I was a little worried at how good it would be for the kids because it seemed to be very adult-oriented with live music, and restaurant-style dining, but it only took us 2 hours to realize how much the hotel cares about kids. On top of some fun sea lion stuffed animals in the room, the staff child-proofed the room so that the balcony wouldn’t get opened by curious little hands, and also removed all the mini bar items (alcohol in cute little bottles is not safe around kids), and one of the staff members arrived with a fun cart filled with toys and games when Elia had a meltdown after Olya went to the beach with the older girls and Elia got left behind.
Talking about the restaurant-style dining, we took the kids for breakfast and the staff went out of their way to make the meals just right for the kids and everyone enjoyed the time. We also were treated with a nice surprise our first night with a beautiful tray of fresh fruits and sparkling water, which everyone enjoyed. Thank you Portofino Staff!
The highlight for the kids of course at the Portofino was the pool, which all enjoyed, except Evyianne this time around, he was too cold to want to swim, but I was treated with several cannon ball contests by the older ones, and Vasilisa and Elia loved playing in the little spa they had. The views were just amazing from the pool area as well, so all in all, it was a great time for everyone.
Checking out all the activities after checking in at The Redondo Beach Hotel
Our little water baby for some pool time fun.
A little jumping outside the Portofino Hotel
The girls get ready to surprise Olya for a little pre-Mother's Day gift.
What beautiful view!
Should You Visit Redondo Beach?
Absolutely yes, especially if you are looking for a low-stress style getaway, Redondo Beach is a perfect choice. With many different options for activities for good or bad weather, it offers a wonderful stay and experience for the whole family.
Be sure to tune in for our post on the foods for the area as Redondo Beach offers many wonderful choices for dinning with the family, so stay tuned. Until next time, Happy Travels!
Thank you, Visit Redondo for partnering with LivingNotes on this post.