The Pier, where to start
The jump off… well not really, don’t jump off the pier, please.
But the pier is the perfect starting point for fun. Here you can access the beach easily, and still go back to your car when you realize you left all of your snacks in the trunk. (goodbye chocolate almonds…)
And, if you’re spending the day with the whole fam, the pier has a towering… well, tower… for lifeguards, and they’re usually patrolling in their pickups. This section of beach tends to have the most people gathered on it, so if you’re looking for a quiet area you may have to walk a little further.
The Pier at Manhattan Beach is a popular destination in L.A. We love heading towards the pier for a few reasons.
First of all, you can’t beat the view,
you’ll see dolphins, or porpoises? I think… A 400 ft. wide, 2.1 mile long groomed sandy beach. That’s right, I said groomed like a pet. This beach has L.A. County tractors frequently cleaning and flattening the sand on the beaches, especially near the volleyball courts. I’ve never seen any other beach with it’s own grooming tractors!
You’ll also see piercing blue waves, celebrities, volleyball players, people taking selfies galore, drones zipping overhead, and during the holidays, professional family pictures being taken with the pier in the background. In fact the pier is one of the coolest spots for a nice romantic sunset pic.
Second, your best chance for parking ANYWHERE at the beach is at one of the four metered pubic parking lots next to the pier, finding parking here is a major win.
Trust me, parking is at a premium in Manhattan Beach, especially on the weekends, summer time and holidays. Just past all of the downtown restaurants and shops on Manhattan Beach Blvd, you will see two upper parking lots and two lower parking lots. All spaces require payment via individual meters using a debit/credit card or coins. Be prepared to pay, there are no free parking spaces in downtown Manhattan Beach!
And lastly we love coming to the pier because it offers the most possible activities for the kids. You can walk the pier, go to the aquarium, walk the beach, walk the strand, and ride bikes on the bike trail.
Or, just relax.
The Manhattan Beach Pier is a slice of paradise in the cramped busyness of L.A. My wife and I usually find a bench on the pier, sit and take in the beautiful view. You can witness the waves sneaking out of flatness and suddenly rising as if trying to chop at the ankles of the giant pier pillars. It calmly creeps, builds, violently crashes and repeats… so amazing. This, is free therapy…
We love just cruising on the pier with a coffee and stopping to watch the surfers. Looking south you can see Palos Verdes and Catalina Island on a clear day. To the north you can see Malibu and sailboats drifting from Marina Del Rey.
Look down as you walk and see the Volleyball Walk of Fame, celebrating the winners of the Manhattan Beach Open. Towards the end of the pier is the Roundhouse Aquarium with live sea creatures to view and touch. It’s a non-profit educational aquarium so it’s free but donations are recommended.
If you came to stroll but don’t care for the sand, the pier intersects both The Strand pathway and the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, both of which are paved.
The Strand is for walking, running, and dogs are allowed on the path only (not the sand). The Strand is mostly flat and takes you south to Hermosa Beach (about .6 miles) or north to El Porto Beach (about 1.6 miles) Along the stretch you’ll see some pretty sweet homes/mansions/castles, just steps from the sand.
While the bike trail is for faster moving things on wheels only. “Motorized” things are not allowed, but people do use Pedego bikes, Bird scooters and Electric skateboards. I guess as long as you aren’t being reckless no one cares.
Just north of the pier are the public bathrooms, that are kept surprisingly clean. Seriously, I see them cleaning the bathrooms every morning, but I’d still wear sandals, c’mon that’s just common sense!
The outside of the bathrooms have a beautiful Mediterranean style tiled wall, with eight exterior showers that face the ocean. This is this perfect spot to end your beach trip. You can rinse your feet, rinse multiple kids at a time, rinse the boogy boards, and still watch the sun land gently across the water!