The best things to do in Hermosa Beach, California

It's the best way to avoid chaos when stopping in Los Angeles.
It's the best way to avoid chaos when stopping in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Beach House Hermosa

Anyone who has driven from LAX to either downtown Los Angeles or further afield will know how the petrol-fuelled crawl eats away at your holiday excitement.

Here's some advice for next time you touchdown in LA: drive south.

In less than 15 minutes after leaving the airport, you'll arrive at Hermosa Beach. 

If you're a fan of La La Land, then you'll be familiar with some of the locations around here. If you grew up watching The O.C or Beverly Hills 90210, you'll get nostalgic seeing some of the houses in the area too.

I stayed at Beach House Hermosa, a classically Californian building with white window shutters like you've seen in movies and on TV shows. Manager Marje Bennetts told me Hermosa is "a quaint beach city", a world away from the busy nature of the concrete jungle of LA, despite it only being 45 minutes away.

"We've got the beach, a slower pace, great food, drinks and recreation - all that is in a Southern California lifestyle," she said.

Grab a bike from Hermosa Cyclery and ride The Strand.
Grab a bike from Hermosa Cyclery and ride The Strand. Photo credit: Dan Lake/Newshub

Even though I visited in winter (as if California has one of those), the temperature was pushing the mid-20s and sunscreen was essential.

So what are the options if you're spending time at Hermosa Beach?
 

1. Rent a bike

Grab a bike from Hermosa Cyclery, located just a block away from the beach. Ride up and down the Strand, which runs from Palos Verdes Peninsula in the south to Santa Monica to the north. The Strand itself is also a people watchers paradise.

2. Visit the Comedy and Magic Club

The comedy club is an institution in this part of LA. As well as a wide range of performances taking all week, Jay Leno still performs there every Friday.

I braved the waves in an attempt to surf with dolphins
I braved the waves in an attempt to surf with dolphins Photo credit: Dan Lake/Newshub.

3. Surf with dolphins

Despite my inability to swim and dislike of saltwater, I was persuaded to give surfing a go at Hermosa Surf Camp after a pod of dolphins began playing in the waves just off shore. I won't forget it in a hurry.

Grab your two shots of coffee from Kiwi owned Two Guns.
Grab your two shots of coffee from Kiwi owned Two Guns. Photo credit: Dan Lake/Newshub.

4. Have a good Kiwi coffee

Frequent travellers to the US will know just how bad the local coffee can get. Thank goodness for a couple of Kiwis who are attempting to change that. Two Guns Espresso takes its name from their coffee having two shots, something that's more common in New Zealand than other places. The café has not only become a meeting place for expats living in LA, but it's also building a strong base of local customers who have tasted a true Kiwi coffee and never turned back.

The design makes you feel more like you're at a homestead than a hotel.
The design makes you feel more like you're at a homestead than a hotel. Photo credit: Beach House Hermosa

5. Stay at Beach House Hermosa

As soon as you're in your room, open the doors and shutters and look out over the kilometres of sand in both directions. The rooms are a decent size, and in typical American fashion have two TVs, should you need your fix of local LA news. The staff are helpful and the design makes it feel more like a homestead than a hotel.

Hermosa Beach is just 15 minutes drive from LAX.
Hermosa Beach is just 15 minutes drive from LAX. Photo credit: Google Maps

Across the road is the Good Stuff Café. Here's where you get a real taste for how Americans serve coffee. Black, from a plunger and in a giant mug. The bonus is they keep topping it up, so energy won't be an issue until well into the afternoon.

Newshub travelled to Los Angeles as a guest of Discover Los Angeles and Air New Zealand who fly non-stop from Auckland to Los Angeles twelve times a week.

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