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Eye on L.A. explores L.A.'s beach cities

Eye on L.A. takes you on the ultimate L.A. road trip, exploring the beach cities along the Pacific Coast Highway.
May 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
'Eye on L.A.' takes you on the ultimate Los Angeles road trip, exploring all there is to do and see in the beach cities along the Pacific Coast Highway. Known as America's most beautiful drive and America's best free attraction, travelers fly in from all over the world to drive our incredible stretch of PCH. Often, locals take for granted or don't even know what we have right on our doorstep.

"Eye on L.A." caught up with award-winning travel writers Mike Gerrard and Donna Dailey, creators of PacificCoastHighwayTravel.com to give a few tips for our PCH road trip.

Malibu

"Eye on L.A." kicked off its Pacific Coast Highway road trip in Malibu and discovered why so many celebrities call it home. Featuring incredible vistas, beaches and lagoons, Malibu is at its best when you get out of your car and take a hike down to some of the beaches to really explore the tide pools and secluded spots. It also features incredible shopping destinations, restaurants and yes, even vineyards [Watch video].

Leo Carrillo State Beach, Ranch

Leo Carrillo State Beach is named after the late actor who played Pancho in the 1950s TV show, "The Cisco Kid." This stretch of the beach features 1.5 miles of beach for swimming, surfing, windsurfing, surf fishing and beachcombing. You can explore tide pools, coastal caves and reefs. You can also camp, go on nature walks or do some back-country hiking. It provides campfire programs and children's programs in the summer.

Leo Carrillo Ranch, also known as Rancho de los Kiotes, is a historic ranch in Carlsbad. Inspired by his childhood, Carrillo developed the ranch to honor his Hispanic heritage and ancestors. The tranquil hacienda is reminiscent of early California and has become a great local attraction.

Malibu Lumber Yard

The Malibu Lumber Yard is an eco-friendly shopping center that was created with the laid-back surfing culture in mind. Featuring the largest cylindrical aquariums in the U.S., the comfortable outdoor courtyard encourages locals to just hang out and offers many free community events, such as art showings, musical performances, outdoor movies and charity events.

Shops, cafes and services include: Alice and Olivia, Andrianna Shamaris, Maxfield Intermix, J. Crew at the Beach, James Pierce, Kitson Malibu, La Perla, Planet Blue Kids, Theory, Tory Burch, Canyon Beachwear, Dance Star, Spindle and Canister, Prive Salon, Salon at the Yard, Caf? Habana, Chocolate Box Caf? and Crumbs Bake Shop.

Caf? Habana

Located in the Malibu Lumber Yard and inspired by La Habana in downtown Mexico City, a bustling, bohemian space known for its customer base of Cuban and Caribbean expatriates, musicians, celebrities, and politicos, Caf? Habana Malibu seeks to recreate the same upbeat and welcoming ambience for which this legendary dining destination is known. Owned by famed restaurateur, Rande Gerber, Caf? Habana has also become famous for its spicy, cotija cheese-rolled corn on the cob. Their most popular nights are Taco Tuesdays and Karaoke Wednesdays. It's also a great spot for A-list celebrity sightings.

Rosenthal Tasting Room

Forget going to Napa. Just off PCH, you can pull into the Rosenthal Tasting Room for a roadside sampling of Rosenthal's award winning wines. Sip and lounge outside with a view of the ocean or engage in a little social interaction around the tasting bar. You can sample their Regular Tasting Flight (4 wines for $12) or their Premium Tasting Flight (6 wines for $15).

For a limited time, "Eye on L.A." viewers can receive half-priced tastings. Just say you saw the deal on "Eye on L.A." and ask for the Rosenthal EYE deal.

Bob Morris' Beach Caf? in Paradise Cove

Pull off PCH into Paradise Cove and you will literally find a little slice of paradise. Set on one of the most breathtaking beach locations, just yards from the soft breaking waves and surrounded by a bougainvillea covered mountainside, Bob Morris' Beach Caf? might just be the perfect dining experience. With a more formal, yet comfortable indoor dining area that looks out at the beach and outdoor dining right on the sand, you will feel like you're on vacation as you watch the kids play in the sand, the birds fly by and the sunbathers laid out along the outdoor beds and Adirondack chairs that line the beach. Be sure to order the calamari, served atop crispy fries in a gigantic margarita glass.

Neptune's Net

Established in 1958, Neptune's Net is a seafood restaurant located right off PCH in Malibu. Nicknamed "The Net" by regulars, it's a popular spot for surfers, locals and even celebrities, but what this roadside restaurant is best known for is as a favorite pit stop for bikers. The customers come for both the laid-back beach atmosphere and the famous clam chowder and with the beach only a few feet away, it makes for an all-around great time.

Pepperdine University

The lucky students at Pepperdine University get to enjoy the beautiful Malibu scenery every day. Sitting atop 130 acres in the Malibu Hills, it's safe to say that Pepperdine University has one of the most gorgeous views of any college in the world.

Santa Monica Pier

The world-famous Santa Monica Pier offers a variety of entertainment and shopping venues including the Pacific Park amusement park, Heal the Bay Aquarium, a historic 1922 Carousel plus specialty shops, carts, eateries, an old-fashioned soda fountain and full-service restaurants [Watch video].

See a list of events at the Santa Monica Pier.

Venice Beach

"Eye on L.A." toured the West L.A. neighborhood of Venice to learn about its bohemian beach culture and history directly from its locals. Among our stops are Danny's Deli, Ocean Front Walk and Venice's scenic canals.

Hermosa Beach

"Eye on L.A." made a PCH roadside stop in Hermosa Beach. For the past 39 years, the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce has produced Fiesta Hermosa, the largest arts and crafts fair in Southern California. More than 270 artists and crafters are featured, including painters, photographers, ceramicists, jewelers, sculptors and handi-crafters. The festival takes place every Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) in downtown Hermosa Beach, Calif. With the ocean as a backdrop, Hermosa Beach is an ideal place for a summer festival with temperatures around 80 degrees and balmy sea breezes. It's also home to the Hermosa Beach Surfers Walk of Fame, honoring local surfing legends who have left their marks in surfing history.

Redondo Beach

"Eye on L.A." couldn't resist a roadside photo op on our road trip down PCH, at the Hair Foliage Statue in front of the Joe Oliveri Salon in Redondo Beach. For 40 years, this upscale hair design studio has had the ultimate image attraction for its craft, a 13-foot-high, artfully sculpted head that has the hair shaped in foliage. The brainstorm of the owner, internationally known Joe Oliveri, it often stops traffic and is a photo op for many a passersby [Watch video].

Long Beach

Long Beach is the fifth largest city in California, located on the Pacific coast between Orange County and Los Angeles. It's a beach town that blends big city sophistication and small town charm. Best known as the home of the Queen Mary, Long Beach offers visitors many other attractions - on land and on the water.

Crown Jewels of Long Beach

Visitors from all over the world travel to Long Beach to board the Queen Mary. This historic ship is a one-of-a-kind treasure offering guided tours, lodging, dining, and shopping.

Shoreline Village is one of Long Beach's most popular waterfront destinations offering great views, shopping, entertainment and a variety of dining options.

Just east of downtown Long Beach, you'll find The Aquarium of the Pacific, the fourth largest aquarium in the country. This Long Beach treasure attracts visitors from throughout the Southland and beyond to explore the ocean and its inhabitants. The aquarium also hosts whale watching tours and tours of the local port.

Long Beach also has plenty of big city appeal, but part of the city's charm comes from its hometown restaurants found just off the beaten path.

San Pedro

San Pedro is a seaside community in Los Angeles, located just 20 miles south of downtown. There's plenty to see and do in this port town. San Pedro's downtown area is newly revamped with stores and restaurants you won't want to miss.

Huntington Beach

Known as "Surf City U.S.A.," Huntington Beach is the quintessential seaside spot that defines Southern California's beach culture. "Eye on L.A." visited the first and oldest standing business, Dwight's, located right off the pier, then headed to the International Surfing Museum and last;y, stopped at Old World Village, a quaint European-inspired village, located on the north side of the city [Watch video].

Newport Beach - Pelican Hill Resort

The Pelican Hill Resort, located on the coast of Newport Beach, sits on more than 500 acres of green hillsides, and is the perfect getaway from L.A.'s hustle and bustle. The Tuscany-inspired resort's claim-to-fame is its stunning architecture, but equally impressive are the ocean views you get from almost every angle of the resort and the mega Coliseum pool, which is the largest circular pool in the world. Many of the Pelican Hill Resort's amenities are open to the public including its golf course, which was recently named the No. 1 California Golf Resort by the travel magazine Cond? Nast Traveler.

Get contact information and addresses of all the places featured on this week's episode.

[Original air date: May 21, 2011]


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