We arrived in Los Angeles airport on a lovely warm evening mid February to begin our three weeks family road trip around California. After our eleven hour flight from London Heathrow, we wanted to stay relatively close to L.A. airport on our first night so we chose Venice Beach. Our two boys, Dylan (10) and Harry (8) had their first experience of this vibrant coastal American city and as we approached sunset we arrived at the Palm fringed Venice Beach to our beach front hotel, Su Casa at Venice Beach.

Venice Beach, California
View from Su Casa at Venice Beach
View from Su Casa at Venice Beach

The accommodation was easy to find as it’s literally a road back from Venice beach. We arrived and checked in with ease, enjoyed the sunset and settled in for our first night in LA. The room we had was ideal for a family of four, plenty of room for the kids, luggage and a decent sized kitchen area to sort some food after our long day of travel from the UK.

The next morning we explored the surrounding area of Venice Beach and Su Casa was ideally located just a few metres from the beach so we walked along the beach and enjoyed the sunshine and watching the skateboarders, roller bladers and runners enjoying the early morning sunshine. 

sunset at Venice beach

It was a real eye opener to see so many homeless people in the area of Venice Beach, a far cry from home in Cornwall where we live. Our boys have seen homeless people in London and other cities we have visited the past few years but the sheer number in L.A. had them asking us questions and rightly so. I read that there are a staggering 60,000 homeless people throughout Los Angeles County and approximately one thousand people living homeless in the area of Venice. It’s important to note that during all our time at Venice Beach and Santa Monica further up the coast, we never had any issues at all with the homeless. I wouldn’t want people to be put off by staying at Venice Beach or Santa Monica.

Travel teaches our children that although we may look different, sound different, eat different foods, have different values and observe different social and religious customs, we are also the same in many ways. Travel broadens the mind by seeing new places, new cultures and experiences. By the way, a brilliant book to help children learn more about similarities and differences is Mirror by Jeannie Baker. The book follows a parallel day in the life of two families – one from a Western city and one from a North African village. It’s a wordless picture book that is beautifully illustrated and delivers an important message. 

After exploring Venice Beach and some breakfast, we headed up the coast for a quick stop at Santa Monica and explore the famous pier which the boys loved.

Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica, California

We said goodbye to Santa Monica and headed up the coast to Malibu, Santa Barbara, Monterey bay and onwards on our road trip around California to San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite – it would be sixteen days until we were back in L.A. again.

Our last three days of our road trip were spent back in L.A. at Hermosa Beach. The area of Hermosa Beach is beautiful, laid-back, very clean, lovely restaurants, cafes and shops. By day, Hermosa Beach is filled with sunbathers, volleyball players and surfers. By night it has a vibrant bar scene just off The Strand, a walking/running/biking path that stretches along its coast.

Our accommodation was at a luxury boutique hotel called Hermosa Beach House Hotel. We checked in after driving down from Yosemite the previous day and what a welcomed sight the Pacific Ocean was. 

Hermosa Beach House Hotel
Hermosa Beach
volleyball players at Hermosa Beach

Our room was beautiful, we were lucky enough to stay in a stunning Ocean Front Room….wow did we have a super view.

Hermosa Beach House Hotel

Our room had a large pull out sofa bed for the boys and easily the most comfortable and biggest king size bed of our trip. The room also had a lovely fireplace along with an ideal kitchen area with coffee machine. However, the absolute best thing about this room was the ocean-front balcony. Waking up to the sound of the pacific waves crashing and palm trees was hard to leave, we could have stayed forever. One morning we sat in bed having coffee and spotted dolphins towards the end of the pier. Not only is the pier and the beach a stones throw from the hotel, it’s ideally situated for the abundance of restaurants, shops and coffee bars, all easily within walking distance. 

Hermosa Beach
sunset at Hermosa Beach
waves crashing in towards Hermosa Beach House Hotel
palm trees at Hermosa Beach

Hermosa Beach area has some brilliant shops, a huge amount of choice in restaurants and food and great coffee shops too. The hotels facilities and most importantly its location made the ideal spot for a family trip. 

The Point is a cool place to head for some retail therapy not far from Hermosa Beach

The two full days we spent in LA, we decided to take our boys across town to the Staples Centre. Here we had tickets to see the LA Clippers take on the Philadelphia 79ers. Safe to say our boys had the best time, what an experience for them and a new love of basketball to add to already growing list of sports my boys play is something they’ll take away from their time in L.A.

Loved watching a NBA game at The Staples Centre

We also decided to take the tour in the OUE Skyspace, here we went 70 floors to view the whole of L.A. What a view from the top! Now i’m not the best with heights so our eldest son along with my husband decided to try our the glass slide on the side of the building which they loved. 

OUE Skyspace
OUE Skyspace
views from OUE Skyspace
views from OUE Skyspace
view of Hollywood sign from OUE Skyspace

Overall our stay in L.A. was filled with fun, adventure, great beaches, lovely food and was relaxing which isn’t a word I’d have imagined using to describe one of the busiest cities in the World. I’m sure we’ll be back in L.A. again soon to explore more that this amazing city has to offer. Hermosa Beach will always have a special place in our hears and we’ll always remember that view from our bed of the Pacific ocean.

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