Marina Del Rey Travel GuideEdit This The best resource for sights, hotels, restaurants, bars, what to do and see
The Crowned Jewel of Los Angeles County, Marina del Rey
Less than four miles from LAX, walking distance to Venice Beach, and less than 10 minutes to Santa Monica, this waterfront jewel is the ideal destination for a family holiday or a weekend escape. Marina del Rey is one of the largest constructed small yacht harbors in the world, with anchorage for more than 4,700 boats. Tropical street names like Bora Bora, Bali and Fiji Way reflect the community's casual feel and its sunny skies and gorgeous scenery lure travelers from around the world.
Ocean breezes keep the community cool and pleasant in the summer, with daytime temperatures averaging in the mid 70's (F), dropping into the mid-60's at night. Rain is rare from May through October. Average daytime winter temperatures range in the low to mid-60's, falling to the low to mid-50's at night. Comfortable, stylish, casual clothing works well year-round.
Stay on the Water -- Accomodations
Marina del Rey boasts the best range of harborfront accommodations in Los Angeles, most with magnificent marina views. Ranging from budget to five diamond, they are on the water and within walking distances of the yachts, beach, waterfront restaurants and leisure activities. The six Marina properties are:
Marina del Rey Marriott -- 370 rooms: (800) 228-9290, (310) 301-3000
The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey -- 304 rooms: (800) 241-3333, (310) 823-1700
Marina del Rey Hotel -- 157 rooms: (800) 822-4000, (310) 301-1000
Marina International Hotel & Bungalows -- 134 rooms: (800) 529-2525 (310) 301- 2000
Jamaica Bay Inn -- Newly renovated with 111 rooms: (888) 823-5333, (310) 823-5333
Foghorn Harbor Inn -- 23 rooms: (800) 423-4940, (310) 823-4626.
Things to do
Whether you have an hour, a day or a weekend, there are lots of things to do in Marina del Rey! Stop by the Marina del Rey Visitors Center, open daily for the latest information, (310) 305-9545, operated by the Marina del Rey Convention & Visitors Bureau, for free information and maps.
Fisherman's Village Take a trip to New England without ever leaving the Marina. Fisherman's Village is a replica of a New England seaport and fishing town. Stroll along cobblestone paths to enjoy views of the Marina. Shop for souvenirs, catch a harbor tour, rent a boat, kayak, stand-up paddle board or even a jet ski; during winter months take a whale and sealife tour; eat at waterfront restaurants with outdoor dining or quick service cafes. Free weekend concerts on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. During the Summer months, the L.A. County Department of Beaches & Harbors offers the Water Bus, a "water taxi" that takes riders to different Marina locations via the water. Open daily; validated 2-hour parking (Admiralty Way south; turn right on Fiji Way.)
Burton Chace Park This beautiful 10-acre park is one of the crown jewels of Marina del Rey, jutting out into the Marina's main channel. Offering what may be the best vista point in the area, this is a great spot for walking and gazing out at the deep blue water, boats and Marina. Two blocks form the Visitor Center at the western end of Mindanao Way; metered parking enforced weekends only. Burton Chace Park is also home to many community events, the transit guest docks, and various water programs. In the summer months, the park offers free classical and pop concerts, family-friendly outdoor movies, along with the Water Bus offering transportation from other Marina locations to the park via the water.
Bike & Skate Rentals -- Los Angeles Beaches Bike Trail
Spend an hour or two riding along the flat, well-marked bike trails through Marina del Rey. Have more time? Pack a picnic and ride through the Marina, then head south to Playa del Rey Beach or north to world famous Venice Beach. The bicycle/skate trail is over 20 miles long, extending as far south as Torrance Beach and north to Will Rogers State Beach. Along the way there are hourly bike rental locations, restroom facilities, water vending machines and food concessions.
Boat Rentals by the Hour
Rent your own sailboat, powerboat, jet ski, stand-up paddle board or kayak and sail around the Marina! Waters are mostly calm in the harbor, and it's fun to head out with friends and family for your own do-it-youself tour on the water.
Marina Beach/Mother's Beach
If you're looking for a little sand and sun, try Marina Beach, also known as Mother's Beach. This non-ocean facing sandy beach offers 12 acres of a public swimming, windsurfing and boating lagoon. Staffed by Country lifeguards, the beach has no surf and is a safe and pleasant spot for family outings. This sunny spot features children's play equipment, picnic shelters with barbeques, benches and tables, restaurants and bicycle rentals nearby. A specially built ramp accommodates wheelchairs, and beach wheelchairs are also available from the lifeguard. During the summer months, the Water Bus stops here and offers riders transportation via the water to other Marina location.
Soaking up the sea air and sunshine is a way of life in Marina del Rey. Start with a stroll along Waterfront Walk, beginning at Marina/Mother's Beach, to get a feel for the community. Stroll pass waterfront hotels, restaurants, picnic areas, bike rentals and yacht clubs. View the boats, both large and small.
Just south of Marina Del Rey is the Ballona Wetlands, a 51-acre marsh system that is home to more than 73 native bird species, 3000 native trees and 10,000 native shrubs and grasses. The area provides natural habitat as well as helping to cleanse water by filtering out pollutants before they reach the oceans.
Spring time is a great time for bird watching at the wetlands. The staff at Burton Chace Park offers excursions to various habitats and nesting sites during the spring months. The excursions start with a lecture at the park Community Room, then a 15-passenger van, driven by a California licensed driver, will take you to the sites. Bring water, a snack, sunscreen, appropriate attire and binoculars. These trips are planned for adults but older children that do not require a car seat or stroller are welcomed. Call 310/ 822-8530 to reigister.
On selected weekends, the non-profit group, Friends of Ballona Wetlands ( www.ballonafriends.org), offers docent lead tours of the salt marsh and dunes, freshwater marsh, and restoration work parties for those interested in volunteering to remove invasive plants while learning about the wetland ecology.
Sport Fishing Excursions
For an exciting fishing adventure join a Marina del Rey Sportfishing open party trip. Fish 1/2 or 3/4 day for halibut, yellowtail, calico bass, sand bass, barracuda and white sea bass. Rod rentals, tackle, bait, fishing licenses available. During winter months, whale watching/sealife tours may be offered on weekends. Reservations required. Departure from Dock 52, where parking is free. Call (310) 822-3625.
After a day of touring the sights, unwind on a sunset cruise or relax on a waterfront deck. Then, when the sun goes down, Marina del Rey's nightlife ignites. Party at one of the nautical-themed bars, sample specialty martinis in a cozy piano lounge, cheer on your favorite team in a neighborhood tavern, or spice up the evening with an after dinner salsa dancing. Many venues offer live entertainment and some have dance floors.
If you're looking for a special treat for your body and soul, look no further than any of a number of day spas in the Marina del Rey area. From skin care, massages, artistic make-up for that very special ocassion, to yoga classes and health workshops, they are all here. Not to miss is Creative Chakra Spa, A Holistic Health & Fitness Spa (3401 Pacific Ave., 310/823-9378) right on the beach. Besides the massage and spa treatments -- which are extensive -- they offer specialty workshops and classes like yoga, Pilates and Chakra balancing, as well as holistic therapies such as QXCI Quantum Bio-feedback, acupuncture and chiropractic services. They also offer teas and elixers in their tranquil tearoom. Odyssey MediSpa (4832 Lincoln Blvd., 310/301-2500) offers dermatological services such as Laser Gensis to help restore the skins' natural glow, aromatherapy massage, manicures and pedicures as well as waxing. Christine Valmy (4772 Lincoln Blvd., 310/821-8892) is a BYOGENIS Skin Care Salon featuring scientific facials along with micro dermabrasion, cellulite control, body therapy and permanent make-up and lash tinting. The Body Clinic/ Blue Diamond Spa in the Villa Marina Marketplace (13455 Maxella, 310/577-2211) features Dermalogica quality products. It offers numerous options for women, men and teens including body wraps, bronzing and waxing.
There is lots to do in Marina del Rey, but these yearly events should not be missed;
Outdoor Adventures -- Early Spring through Fall. Outdoor educational explorative experiences for adults and children over 10 years. Sponsored by Los Angeles County, each program is 2 to 3 hours long. Space is limited so reservations are required. Activities include Bird Watching (free), Harbor Kayaking and Surf Kayaking (fee covers all equipment and guide). Meets in Burton Chace Park.
Anglers Annual Halibut Derby -- Early Spring. Usually held the first weekend in April, anglers of all ages are invited to compete in this yearly event. Prizes are awarded for catching the biggest fish on a rod and reel. Fishing starts on Saturday at sunrise. Public weigh-ins held at Burton Chace Park starting at noon on Sunday.
MarinaFEST -- Usually mid-June. A boat show and community celebration. In-the-water boat show plus more on land, featuring hundreds of the newest and largest recreational boats and personal watercrafts, and all the accessories to go with them. Various boating community groups have informational displays as well as the local westside high school bands performing at the festival. Pier 44 and G Basin areas (corner of Admiralty and Bali Way)
Fourth of July Fireworks --There will be NO traditional firework display due to goverment budget cuts, but there will be plenty to do in this popular seaside community. Hotels, restaurants, retailers and local attractions will be open, parks and beaches are popular and it's a great day to ger out on the water for fishing boating and cruising.
Summer Concerts in the Park Series -- Classical Thursdays and Pops Saturdays. This popular Summer series of classical and pop concerts is held in Burton Chace Park, one of the most spectacular settings in Los Angeles, which is surrounded on three sides by water. All concerts begin at 7p.m., take place outside on the green and generally last about 2 hours. Come early, bring your own low lawn chairs and blanket for first come, first-serve seating. Enjoy a picnic dinner and bring a jacket or sweater to stay comfortable near the water. Concerts are free; parking in pay lots in the Marina.
Summer Movies in the Marina -- On select Saturday evenings, family friendly movies are shown waterside under the stars. Seating is outdoors, and first come, first serve. Bring low chairs and blankets; dress for the weather. Free.
Old Fashioned Day in the Park -- Sunday, Mid- July. Displays of vintage yachts, antique classic cars, motorcycles, vintage steam engines and ship models. Free in Burton Chace Park.
Discover Marina del Rey Day -- First Sunday in October. Music, food, community booths, sailboat races, Coast Guard, County & Lifeguard demonstrations, children's activities and games ($5 wristband). Admission free. Burton Chace Park 11a.m. to 4p.m.
Tour of the Tall Ships -- 1st and/or 2nd week of December. Learn more about how 18th century sailors lived and navigated across miles of open seas; the crews are dressed in period costumes and tell rousing stories of the days before steam and diesel. Enjoy dockside tours, adventure sails, battle sails and the lighted boat parade sail. Berthed either at Fisherman's Village or at the Marina Fuel Dock, the ships are open to the public. For details and pricing call 800/200-5239.
Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade -- Usually the 1st Saturday of December. Festively decorated boats illuminate the main channel in of the the Marina's most visually exciting events for the Holidays. Preceding the parade on Saturday there is a short fireworks display in the main channel with the actual parade beginning at 6p.m.. Best viewing from Burton Chace Park or Fisherman's Village.
New Year's Eve Fireworks -- Dec. 31 Fireworks shot from the south jetty light up the sky over the Marina begining at 11:59pm and 30 seconds. Then, one firework is shot into the air each second to count down to midnight. A spectacular display continues for another five minutes. Anywhere in the Marina is a good seat, but many of the charter boat companies offer dinner-dance-observation cruises for the evening.
Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: VisitMarina.com