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Manhattan Beach, along with its neighbors, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach, is a long continuous, sandy, beautiful beach. It is also developed as a publicly accessable beach. Unlike Malibu, Manhattan Beach, and the South Bay, are thankfully wide open for public enjoyment. Broad access to the world class beach and surf are what makes this place magical. It may have a frat boy reputation, but go for a walk along the beach (and pick up some trash while you're at it - surfers will notice) and you'll be regenerated. Better yet, go for a swim or take a surf lesson or three...
To get to El Porto, at the north end of Manhattan Beach, take Highland Ave. to 45th St., drive downhill to the pay parking lot (free before/till 8a.m.). Check the surf report before you go. Winter has larger surf than summer and El Porto has bigger surf than other breaks in L.A. A great place to check the surf report, along with local environmental beach events or issues is Surfrider South Bay's website.
Knowledge about a place as ecologically diverse as the beach, where the ocean meets land, makes you a smarter traveller. By being aware, you can reduce your travel footprint through rethinking small choices.
Two basic ways to respect any beach you visit:
Don't take the beach home with you.
Don't remove shells or rocks from the beach. These eventually become sand. These contribute to the beach and are part of the fragile eco system.
Don't leave trash behind.
Take out what you bring in. Best yet, use reusable containers and bags. You'll look like a local if you do. Borrow from your hotel if need be.
Do's and Don'ts for visiting Manhattan Beach:
DO watch the surfers. These gals & guys are amazing athletes and put on a great show.
DO take a surf lesson. You'll meet locals who are teaching to support their habit.
DO wear wide-spectrum, waterproof, eco-friendly sun screen. One that won't harm the water. A rash guard is great too (and an athletic fashion statement).
DO wear/buy good sunglasses with UV protection. A great souvenir! Cheap ones will open your eyes to UV damage.
DO reduce, re-use, recycle food and drink containers you bring to the beach. You'll look like a respectable local.
DO pick up after yourself when leaving the beach.
DO pick up 3 extra pieces of trash when you leave the beach. Surfers and locals will notice.
DO check out the tides online. See when they're high and when they're low. This can affect your ocean enjoyment.
DO use the public restroom when you have to go. Not the ocean.
DON'T COLLECT SEA SHELLS. These are part of the beach. They contribute to the sand when they breakdown.
DON'T COLLECT ROCKS. Don't take the beach with you!
DON'T be a kook. Not cool.
DON'T trash or get publicly trashed.
DON'T go swimming within 72 hour after a rain storm. (Storm drains drain to the ocean unfiltered.)
DON'T FIGHT A RIPTIDE. If caught in one, swim parallel to the coast until you swim out of it, then and only then, can you swim back to shore.
DON'T smoke or drink alcohol on the beach or Strand. Both are illegal and you will be ticketed.