Wanderlust: 48 Hours in Manhattan Beach

By Megan MacNee (Guest blogger)

Megan MacNee
Megan MacNee

While I love the Northern California coastline and the beautiful beaches, there is nothing like actually being able to lay out in the sun or play in the waves of Southern California.

Whether you rack up those Southwest points or ask for gift cards for the holidays, it’s possible for a weekend in Southern California to be as affordable as any up North. Even if you don’t have the points, you can stalk the sales and fly to LAX for $120 roundtrip.

And Manhattan Beach is the perfect destination for a beach vacation. Sacramento is blessed to have an airport close to downtown, making it easy to get you door to door in about three hours.

It’s an even better beach getaway when you realize there’s no need to rent a car. Take a $20 cab ride/Uber/Lyft, and you can rely on walking or biking everywhere in the Manhattan Beach area.

Manhattan Beach Pier
Manhattan Beach Pier

Where to Stay

The Sea View Inn is a mile off Manhattan Beach blvd and two blocks from the beach. On top of being a stunning property, the Inn provides free rentals for their guests; including beach towels, chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards and bikes. For those of who choose to fly in, not having to worry about packing these items in your carry-on makes all the difference. Rooms run as little as $125 a night.

Where to Eat

Breakfast & Brunch: For breakfast, a block over from the Sea View Inn is the North End Café, where you’ll find all the locals hanging out. Their breakfast sandwiches are delectable, and the amazing combinations make it hard to pick just one. My favorite was the brie, jam, and bacon egg sandwich. For brunch, try Uncle Bill’s Pancake House for a casual and tasty meal. Or, if you’re feeling indulgent, treat yourself to the Manhattan Beach Post, ranked one of the best brunches in the nation.

Lunch & Snacks: For a light lunch hit up Lemonade back on the main drag. They are a healthy cafeteria-style restaurant with fresh salads, soups and sandwiches. Don’t forget to try a few of their lemonade flavors before you go. It’s worth it just to pop in just for the lemonade, if you don’t have time for lunch. For a heavier lunch try Simmzy’s Pub – they have a relaxing patio and it’s the perfect place for sports fans to catch a game. And if you’re looking for an afternoon treat, grab a tasty ice cream sandwich from the Manhattan Beach Creamery.

Dinner & Dessert: From the Sea View Inn, take a walk down the Strand (the boardwalk on the beach), to Mama D’s for a casual Italian dinner. You might have to wait, but they’ll be passing out bread and fried ravioli. I have yet to order something I disliked, but a safe bet is anything covered in their pink sauce. It is the perfect blend of creamy and rich.

To truly indulge, try the Izakaya by Katsu-ya. Arguably the best sushi restaurant I’ve found with remarkable quality and reasonable prices. For two, including a bottle of wine, we walked away completely satisfied for under $90. Make sure to order the Rakumori, the chef’s selection, it was filled with incredible fresh flavors. If you’re there on a weekend make sure to get a reservation, they book up fast.

Looking for a view? Hit up the Strand House for dinner (or drinks and dessert) the only restaurant in Manhattan Beach with a real ocean view. 

Manhattan Beach Weekend - Sushi

Things to Do

I’ll always recommend spending a day at the beach without more than a good book. So grab the rentals from the hotel and set up for the morning. 

If you want to do a little more than lay on the beach consider taking a surfing lesson with Camp Surf or renting a paddleboard at Razzle.

You can also check out the pier and head down Manhattan Avenue for two of my favorite spots. Pages: A Bookstore is a perfect independent bookstore with friendly staff, a great selection and fun book reviews. Then pop into Bacchus Wine Made Simple for a wine tasting.

You can also take a bike ride and explore more of the region. Grab one of the bikes from the hotel and ride down the Strand, also known as the Marvin Braude Bike Trail. This pathway is twenty-two miles long. If you head right it will take you all the way to Santa Monica, or left takes you to Redondo Beach. Pick a direction and ride a couple miles. Make sure to enjoy watching all the extravagant homes and decide which one you’ll be living in next. 🙂

An Affordable & Hassle Free Beach Weekend

Whether it’s being able to walk everywhere, or having all your beach accessories provided, heading to Manhattan Beach for the weekend can be all of the fun without any of the difficulties that often come with travel. Enjoy relaxing in the sand, playing in the waves and exploring the food scene of this laid-back beach community.

Overall, the weekend was a steal for the two of us. The cost breakdown:

  • Airfare – Southwest Points
  • 2 Nights in the Hotel – $250
  • Cab rides there and back – $40
  • Dinner at Mama D’s with wine – $40
  • Breakfast at North End Café – $15
  • Lunch at Lemonade – $15
  • A book for later – $10
  • Dinner at Izakaya – $90
  • Drinks and dessert on at the Strand – $30
  • Breakfast at Uncle Bill’s – $20
  • Snack at MB Creamery – $10

Total for two people – $530

What really makes this trip the value is the airline points, but if you don’t have them and you watch rates closely, you can still get flights for as little as $120 round-trip. It’s worth it. 

From nine to five guest blogger Megan MacNee works for a trade association here in Sacramento, but on evening and weekends spends time exploring the West Coast and more. All while encouraging others to join in on the adventures. You can also find Megan over at her blog Traveling Nine to Fiver. You can follow her on InstagramFacebook or Twitter

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