By Caleb Lunetta
Signal Staff Writer
The beach is a place used around the world for friends, family and loved ones to gather on and enjoy relaxation around one another. However, the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to change or alter that time, either closing off or strictly limiting how people could leisure while hearing and staring at the ocean.
But now that the pandemic is drawing closer to an end, given the high vaccination rates, those in charge of the internationally renowned beaches both here in Los Angeles County and in the Western Hemisphere are calling people back to their happy place.
Once again, people are descending on the white sand and blue surf, taking in the joy of salty air, the crash of waves and the smell of barbecue. Bonfires are flickering at night against the vast, dark backdrop that is the ocean, and familiar employees are serving towel-wrapped customers charred burgers, savory tacos and/or sweet treats once again at favorite beach restaurants and haunts.
The laughing of families together, the natural wildlife at hands-reach and memories that will last a lifetime are just a few miles or calls away.
Bonfires at the beach
“Obviously one of the highlights for many people is having a bonfire at Dockweiler Beach,” said Nicole Mooradian, a public information officer for the L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors. “We do have a limited number of fire pits available there.”
She also noted that there are limited areas where fires are legal.
“Bonfires are not allowed at the beach, except within those fire pits at Dockweiler. “(Illegal) fires are actually a huge problem because people have the fires and then they bury them in sand to smother the flames.
“Then the sand gets really hot and people step on it, because it’s really hard to see where there was one, and they can suffer third degree burns,” she added.
Mooradian, who works at the department office on the edge of Marina Del Rey, said the department has worked hard to ensure that even if there are not enough fire pits at the beach, there are plenty of activities to participate in, for kids and adults.
Dockweiler Beach is located at 12000 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey.
Shopping by the boardwalk
In recent weeks, the department has extensively cleaned up a handful of the beaches, allowing the cleanliness of the sand to complement the fun people are having.
“At Redondo Beach, we have Riviera Village a few blocks away, at Hermosa Beach on Pier Avenue, there’s several restaurants, Manhattan Beach has Manhattan Beach Boulevard and there are a lot of popular restaurants you can just walk down the block to from the beach.”
Mooradian said there are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat, and places such as Marina Beach have barbecues and picnic tables for people to cook their own food in.
Riviera Village is located at 1799 S. Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach.
Best fish taco spots
Everyone has their own fish taco preferences, but should you find yourself in the 805 area code, there are two places that are absolutely worth a stop for this popular California specialty.
The 101 Freeway separates two of the best fish taco spots in Southern California, The Beach House, which is located on Harbor Boulevard, and just across the highway, Spencer Makenzie’s is a family-owned favorite that locals have loved for years.
Don’t let the locations’ unassuming structures fool you. These are some serious fish tacos.
Beach House is located at 668 Harbor Blvd., Ventura; Spencer Makenzie’s is located at 806 E Thompson Blvd.
Looking for a lift?
For $3, Santa Clarita is providing a route to the beach through Santa Clarita Transit’s Summer Beach Bus, which heads to Santa Monica on Saturdays and Sundays.
Two bus routes will depart each Saturday and Sunday from various stops in Santa Clarita and take residents to the Santa Monica Pier. Shuttle departure stops include Canyon Country Park, Soledad Canyon Road and Solamint Drive, Soledad Canyon Road and Shangri-La Drive, Via Princessa Metrolink Station, McBean Regional Transit Center, Railroad Avenue and 15th Street, Newhall Metrolink Station, Newhall Avenue and Valle Del Oro and Newhall Avenue and Sierra Highway. Travelers can bring their beach chairs, coolers and surfboards.
For departure times, discounts and more information on Summer Beach Bus , please visit SantaClaritaTransit.com.
Safety first — and plenty of sunscreen
Officials said that while it’s been a while since people have been out in the sun, given the last year was spent largely inside, it remains important to be ever present of the dangers associated with the beach.
Wearing a hat at times and using proper sunscreen are definitely good ideas when out for the whole day on the beach.
Additionally, Mooradian suggested that for those who surf and swim to do it near an open lifeguard tower and to check with the lifeguard before hitting the water.
“For safety though, you’ll want to speak with the lifeguards,” she said.
From paddle boarding to digging for sand crabs to grabbing a tan, the beach is open to everyone.
“At this point, we have no pandemic related restrictions at the beaches, and we still do advise people to bring masks with them in case it gets super crowded or in case they need to go into the restroom and they’re not vaccinated,” said Mooradian. “At this point though, you’re free to have a party on the beach.”
For more information about what services and amenities are available at each beach, visit the county’s website at https://beaches.lacounty.gov.