Hermosa Beach, meaning “beautiful” in Spanish, is a city within the city of Los Angeles. It offers many of the enjoyments that come with a beach such as swimming, surfing, beachcombing, sunbathing and games of beach volleyball. After the beach, see top-notch comedians at the Comedy and Magic Club on Hermosa Avenue then head for Fat Face Fenner’s Fishack or Memories of the Mermaid for its 60s ambiance and well-stocked bar. For inexpensive eats, take the family to La Playita for Mexican and Latin chow,or Java Man for American. Hermosa Beach vacation rental locations range from cute little bungalows and cottages with little backyards protected by wattle fences, to roomy villas a few blocks from the beach or even high-end condos with private elevators. Here are 12 of our favorite places to stay near Hermosa Beach.

1. Redondo Beach

Peaceful Redondo Beach has places set aside for strolling or bicycling and the pier has some recommended eateries such as Polly’s on the Pier. When you’re tired of the beach go and relax in Veterans Park. Here you can take the kids to SEA Lab, a little aquarium between Redondo and Hermosa that has touch tanks. They’ll also love the Seaside Lagoon, a water park near the beach.

2. Manhattan Beach

Like Hermosa and Redondo, Manhattan Beach has a pier. Locals love it because it’s not too long, wide enough for a good number of people, and has a little aquarium. After the pier, go shopping at the malls in downtown Manhattan Beach or take the kids to the Adventureplex playgrounds. As with Hermosa Beach, vacation rentals are charming, funky, and close to the water.

3. Torrance

Torrance is a city that is on the move. Take the kids to the Toyota USA Automobile Museum, the Western Museum of Flight, or rent a helicopter for a bird’s eye view of the city. For dining, go to the Torrance Branch of the Mitsuwa Market Place. If you’re in the mood to dress up and spend some bucks, head to Aliotta’s Via Firenze for fine Italian cuisine.

4. El Segundo

El Segundo is full of places where you can play and enjoy the pleasant weather of Southern California. Places to have a good time in El Segundo include the Old Town Music Hall, ArcLight Beach Cities and Scooter’s Jungle. Take the kids to the Automobile Driving Museum and afterward slip into Rock and Brews, which serves lots of rib-sticking food for everyone and specialty beers for you and the husband.

5. Hawthorne

Hawthorne is the birthplace of the Beach Boys and there is a monument to them on the site of their childhood home on West 119th Street. After that, you can take a tour over the city via helicopter or visit the Hawthorne Historical Society. Zacatecas Mexican Restaurant is the place to go for cheap, good eats.

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6. Inglewood

Stay in Inglewood for the vacation rentals and the restaurants, of which there are many. Randy’s Donuts can’t be missed, as it has a huge donut on its roof. For breakfast, take the family to Roscoes House of Chicken & Waffles and if vegetarian cuisine is your thing head to Stuff I Eat. Attend a concert at The Forum or a performance at Inglewood Playhouse. The latter is in Edward Vincent Jr. Park, which in itself is a lovely place to simply relax, jog, have a picnic or walk the dog.

7. Marina del Rey

This city contains the biggest artificial harbor for small craft in the world, so take advantage. Vacation rentals are conveniently found by the slips, and you can rent or charter boats to explore the coast. Marina del Rey has a beach called Mother’s Beach, which is great for the kids and has lovely food trucks. Jog or hike along Ballona Creek, pamper yourself in a spa or go shopping at the Waterside Shopping Center.

8. Ladera Heights

This neighborhood is the home of at least part of the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, where you can jog, have picnics and even get views of the Pacific. The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is just outside the town and will give you your daily workout by just climbing the stairs to the top. If you’ve brought Fido, a bonus is the Boneyard Dog Park at the park’s southern end.

9. Gardena

If you’ve come to shop, Gardena is the place to go. There are several shopping centers, including the Gardena Valley and Pacific Square Shopping Centers. Little Rowley Memorial Park is a great place for picnics. It also has a skating area, playing fields and an indoor gym.

10. Carson

This city is the site of the StubHub Center which is home of the LA Galaxy. It’s also the place to find Go Kart World, which the kids will love. They’ll also love the playgrounds at Anderson and Stevenson Park, and the public pool at Scott Park. For dining, head to El Pescador Carson for Mexican cuisine and seafood. If Asian is more your style, check out Hiccups.

11. Lomita

This city is noted for its train depot, which is a replica of one used during the Victorian era. Another pretty spot to visit is the Takaishi Garden, found right in front of City Hall. For chow, visit Twinkle Twinkle Kids’ Café which has an indoor playground. Vacation rentals range from detached “aunt houses,” to stand alone studios, apartments and beach bungalows with gardens in the front yard.

12. Venice Beach

Stroll around Venice Beach’s boardwalk and watch the performance art. Food trucks are plentiful, especially around Abbot Kinney Boulevard on Friday nights. Grab a snack for yourself and the kids. Do the usual beach things of swimming, relaxing and beachcombing. Watch the surfers, join in yourself or watch the crazy moves at the Venice Beach Skatepark.

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