Los Angeles Spring Break Crawl: Things to Do Beyond Hollywood

Manhattan Beach Pier
Manhattan Beach is a prime spot for surfing, volleyball and sunsets. Photo: szeke, via Flickr
While Old Man Winter still has much of the country in his chilly grip, barely-there bikinis materialize on the sunny beaches of SoCal. So slather on the SPF 30 and soak up a spring break that's uniquely L.A.

Get the All-Inclusive Treatment: Hornblower Cruise
Pay one price for a bundled food or drink experience

Sure, you can do Sunday brunch at any number of restaurants along the coast, but instead why not gobble blintzes and guzzle booze aboard a yacht? Sailing from Marina del Rey, Hornblower Cruises offers a two-hour Champagne Brunch Cruise ($63 per person) with bottomless bubbly to wash down your cinnamon-swirl French toast.

Worship Water:Manhattan Beach and Venice Beach
A fun water-centric activity

For surfing, body boarding, and volleyball action, try Manhattan Beach. For people-watching, it doesn't get any better than the world famous freak show that is the Venice Beach Ocean Front Walk -- a seaside boardwalk filled with funky shops, eateries, street performers and vendors, wide-eyed tourists, and all walks of Los Angeles life.

It's 5 o'clock Somewhere – Here: Tiki-Ti
Where to get a great tropical drink

Take a South Seas liquid vacation at East Hollywood's eclectic Tiki-Ti bar, which mixes what are universally hailed L.A.'s best (not to mention most potent) tropical cocktails -- from head-spinning mai tais to the rum-loaded knockout punch named Ray's Mistake ($9). The miniscule bar, opened in 1961 and packed with Polynesian kitsch, is owner-operated; always check the website or call ahead to make sure it's open.

Closer than Disneyland: Santa Monica Pier and Aquarium
A great activity for kids and families

The Magic Kingdom (located south of L.A. in Orange County) sees capacity crowds during Spring Break weeks. Instead, treat your tribe to old-school, fun-in-the-sun rides at Santa Monica Pier's Pacific Park. Take a spin on the solar-powered Ferris wheel. Suffer whiplash in a bumper car. Lose your lunch on the swinging pirate ship. Once the nausea subsides, poke anemones at the small yet nifty Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Or buy tickets to Cirque du Soleil's TOTEM (tickets start at $60, $50 for kids), being performed in the pier parking lot under a big-top tent through March 16.

Budget Beach Bites: Reel Inn
An affordable beachy or seafood meal

A tin-roofed seafood shack across from Malibu's Topanga Beach, Reel Inn hits the spot when the sun and surf trigger a craving for deep-fried shrimp and a cold one. Order from the chalkboard menu -- try the grilled fish tacos ($3.50) -- then grab a seat on the patio to enjoy views of the Santa Monica Mountains. For a chuckle, be sure to check the daily-changing seafood puns scrawled on the sign out front. Think: "Today's Special: Eel-ton John!"


Planning a Caribbean spring break instead? Check out our island finder >>


Eli Ellison is a travel writer based in Seal Beach, California. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, AAA TourBooks, and on numerous travel websites. His favorite LA spring activity is pulling up a chair, cracking a cold beer and listening to legendary Dodgers' announcer, Vin Scully.
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