What a hot muggy summer at the California Beaches! July was mild and cool, but August stayed hot and muggy for far too long. Those who sought local beach hotels for California Beach Vacations found plenty of availability, but some disappoint in the prices that didn’t quite get low enough for many people and their limited budgets. In the midst of the high unemployment numbers, some major hotels went into default on loans, while continuing to charge $400 per night or more for a room. The good news is that with summer waning, prices are already going down. Now is the time to hit the road.
Most the blog postings have moved since a few months ago to this blog. Thanks to Hostway’s horrible blog software, we had to relocate our primary focus away from this rudimentary product.
California’s summer is nearly over…at least the kids vacation aspect of it. While the children go back to school, it’s kind of strange that our hottest time of year is just when they return.For the kids’ sakes it would be better to run a school year from November to July, weatherwise, that is.
I can’t say I’m too sad the children are going back. I can’t wait to get my beach back (parking, crowds, etc.) We all kind of look forward to that each year when we live so close and are impacted by the traffic, parking and crowds. This year will not be a traditonal shopping season for many who are unemployed or worried about their jobs. And for California’s universities that are cutting back on classes, it’s sad. For those selling hotels or hotel rooms, you know that this is when the bookings drop considerably… and this year the bookings during the winter could be worse than last.
The beaches of California sit mostly empty throughout the winter, except for the few tourists who sunbathe, surfers who stroll, photographers who take photos, and the warm exceptional days where people come in droves. So why have the beaches become so popular now, and it’s not even summer, nor is school out?
People are citing the economy as the driving force of high springtime beach attendance. Just as you plant your tomatoes (should be in already, they say), what’s next on your agenda?
If you don’t have a beach on your list, maybe you better get going. We have noticed attendance at the beach, at the state parks, and even national forests is increasing dramatically each day. Hotel prices have risen, and the tourism specialists are hoping you will let go of you earnings for a summer vacation or two.
Tips for the road in heading to a beach: Sunblock! Change for parking! Patience! Get there early on weekends!
California Beach Bums is the term describing beach destinations with water unfit for humans to enjoy. Symptoms of bad beach water in the Pacific Ocean include gastro-intestinal problems, sore throats, and worse. With a number of agencies taking measurements and monitoring water quality, there are few beaches immune for things in the water that are bad for you.
While some of the beaches are consistently poor in measurements of quality, the time it takes to alert the public of such water doesn’t always get to the Internet before you get to the beach. Best advice is to recognize that any water can create illness and problems when you dive in. Healthebay.org is one of our favorite sources for spotting consistent, long-term water quality problems at our Calif. beaches!
California Beach receive a special cleanup during Earth Day (and Earth Month) in April. While such efforts to improve the state of the beaches themselves, the sources from which the trash originates are unfortunately the ocean, bays, drain pipers, rivers, and cargo ships that transport goods to and from several of America’s busiest ports in California. Not much can be done to mitigate such damage, though there are some efforts that are helping.
But when it comes to passion for the beaches, one couple single-handedly has organized beach cleanups each month, and in a recent Saturday event in Seal Beach, Kim and Steve Masoner managed to get a whopping 700 people to help out! If you know the size of the parking lot and the beach itself, you’ll find that number is simply incredible. By day this volunteers work in the business world but they always carry the passion for the beach with them. You may know this couple for their previous efforts in the annual Seal Beach Sandcastle Festival, a wonderful event that no longer exists, due to the time and hard work required to carry out such a major event.
What Steve and Kim put into their passion for clean beaches requires some marketing. They have made their cleanup program friendly and inviting, allowing students to get approved certificates for volunteer hours when they show up at the beach.
What can you do to participate? You simply show up on a beach cleanup Saturday, and Steve and Kim supply the bags, gloves, and even some sponsor items from time to time such as water to drink. For more information 2009 Beach Cleanup Schedule updates, see saveourbeach.org
1st Street & Ocean Avenue
Apr 25, 2009-11 to 2
**In celebration of Earth Day**
May 23, 2009-11 to 2
Jun 27, 2009-11 to 2
Jul 25, 2009-11 to 2
Aug 22, 2009-11 to 2
Sep 19, 2009-9 to 2
**CA Coastal Cleanup Day**
1st & Ocean
1st & PCH (Riverbed)
Oct 24, 2009-11 to 2
Nov 21, 2009-11 to 2
Dec 19, 2009-11 to 2
BEACH CLEAN-UP DIRECTIONS
Take the 405 FWY to Seal Beach Blvd, go South off of the freeway to Pacific Coast Highway (a little more than 2 miles) and make a right on PCH. Take PCH to 1st Street (a little less than a mile) and make a left onto 1st Street. Take 1st Street until it ends in a parking lot and that’s where we’ll be! If you get lost, please call Kim’s cell phone at (562) 884-6764. Map to Beach Clean Up.
Save Our Beach
It’s that time of year when you don’t come up for air. It’s happening. What? The beaches in California are filling up with merriment, sunshine and fun times. Events galore prepare to keep us entertained throughout the summer. Yep, even though it’s the first day of spring, the California beach vacation bus is arriving and it’s time to hop aboard.
What’s going on? Here are few items: AVP pro beach volleyball will hit the sand soon with new sexy ads and buffed, tanned lads and lassies. OK, they’re moms & dads and now in the 20’s but they are definitely in shape. And the new ad firm out of Torrance seeks to sell sizzle at this event with billboards and ads showing closeup shots of buttocks, muscular arms.. you get the picture.
Other events will include Paintball at the Beach, surfing competitins, sand castle festivals, concerts at the beaches and piers and a whole lot more. Come aboard, my friends. The beach train is even starting to run again. Oh, did I mention Aqualink and Catalina Flyer are also working to full schedule.
10:39 a.m. Bruce Summerhays, Tom Wargo
10:49 a.m. Mark Johnson, Mark O’Meara, Dave Stockton10:58 a.m. Denis Watson, Bobby Wadkins, John Harris
11:08 a.m. Mark Wiebe, Keith Fergus, Bob Gilder
11:17 a.m. D.A. Weibring, Jim Thorpe, Morris Hatalsky
11:27 a.m. Tom Kite, Fred Funk, Dana Quigley
11:36 a.m. Mike Goodes, Allen Doyle, Isao Aoki
11:46 a.m. Tom Purtzer, Tom Watson, Gary Player
11:55 a.m. Scott Hoch, Bernhard Langer, Ben Crenshaw
12:05 p.m. Don Pooley, Wayne Levi, Joey Sindelar12:14 p.m. Tim Simpson, Gene Jones, Hal Sutton
12:24 p.m. Wayne Grady, John Morse, Sandy Lyle
12:33 p.m. Javier Sanchez, Massy Kuramoto, Greg Hopkins
10:30 a.m. David Eger, Mike McCullough, Graham Marsh
10:39 a.m. Gary McCord, Bob Murphy, Dan Forsman
10:49 a.m. Jay Sigel, Jim Colbert, Fulton Allem
11:08 a.m. John Cook, Brad Bryant, Hale Irwin
11:17 a.m. Bruce Vaughan, Lonnie Nielsen, Lee Trevino
11:27 a.m. Hubert Green, Mark McNulty, Craig Stadler
11:36 a.m. Loren Roberts, Tom Jenkins, Larry Nelson
11:46 a.m. Andy Bean, Jeff Sluman, John Jacobs
11:55 a.m. Eduardo Romero, Bruce Fleisher, Nick Price12:05 p.m. Bruce Lietzke, Blaine McCallister, Ken Green
12:14 p.m. Fuzzy Zoeller, James Mason, Joe Ozaki
12:24 p.m. Tom McKnight, Steve Thomas, Robert L. Thompson
Seal Beach, Calif.–It happened again this past week as we entered March springtime in California. Seal Beach Pier was packed. Huntington, Newport, and Long Beach were busy. But Seal Beach was unbelievable! What’s going on in Seal Beach that makes it seem different? The answers are 1. Community, 2. Quaint, and 3.Cheap. You don’t have to pay to park in Seal Beach. In Huntington Beach and Newport Beach the pier and beach parking that accesses the piers and town centers is locked up at $0.25 per 10 minutes, or $1.50. In Belmont Shore, the robocops are fierce in catching expired meters, and we the unwitting public, are no match for their eagle eyes and lightning speed in writing tickets to the tune of around $40.
Seal Beach is experiencing incredible influxes of local visitors from San Pedro, Rancho PV, Huntington Beach, Laguna, etc., and to me, it is no wonder why. Even I go out of my way to visit Seal Beach. Like brushing your teeth or anything else, you kind of miss it if you don’t walk on that rough, wooden pier, or watch some kid or tourist pat the bronzed seal statue, Slick, on the nose. I go to play tennis at courts that overlook the beach and ocean, then head to the pier to watch the Captain T. Lee pull into dock to drop off and pick up oil platform workers.
I drive to Seal Beach to feel a part of this intimate beach that overlooks Long Beach port, downtown skyline with the unique Riviera building, and Queen Mary to the north. When I go with other people, which is often, I listen to their comments such as, “The sunsets are better here for some reason.” As a professional photographer who spends much time examining sunsets, I ponder if their statements can have any factual basis. Darned, it does seem the sunsets are quite special in Seal Beach, and I don’t know why. I think it has to do with the skyline but it also may be the wooden pier, the closeness to the water, and the size of the beach itself.
If you are visiting Orange County beaches on a trip to Disneyland, do stop by Seal Beach, and maybe grab a burger at Ruby’s on the pier. My favorite coffee in all the world is served at Javatini on Main Street just two blocks from the beach. They can make you an iced drink on the rocks with your favorite coffee blend and some sweet syrups if you like. When you save on metered parking, and notice the little things that say Seal Beach likes tourists, you tend to shop, dine, and spend more money as a thank you.
We’ve spent 10 years writing about beach vacations in California, but early on, we were alerted to the vacations in California that didn’t have a beach anywhere in them. After visiting over 250 beaches, it was time to go exploring the other California assets such as its mountains, state parks and beautiful national parks. In recent months, we’ve checked out Sequoia National Park and in the past, visited the beautiful Big Trees park in Calaveras County. If we had strictly stayed at the beach, can you imagine what we might have missed? And why wouldn’t you want to report on something so compelling, and so delightful as the world’s largest and tallest trees? California has many, many biggest and best assets, and offers some of the best vacations in the world. We know, because we’ve seen tourists from around the world in the national parks, especially. Sure, beaches are a dime a dozen. There are warmer beaches, there are sandier beaches, and there are more aqua-colored waters than our ocean colors here in Calif. On a recent road trip of the state’s beaches, we discovered in fact, that there are really no more than 150 beachfront hotels in the entire state, and that’s not very many! In Florida you will find a lot more, which explains why Florida does so well when it comes to lurury vacations and resort stays. California can’t compete, mainly because there are laws in place to protect and preserve the beaches for all people. That’s absolutely great and we love California for making the beaches public!
Now for the vacation in California that has nothing to do with a beach. In the winter the mountain tops glisten white and many head to the mountains for a winter wonderland snow and ski trip. From Mammoth to Lake Tahoe, Big Bear to Bear Mountain, skiiers know when it snows, and they go. For us year-round sunshine fans, a winter mountain vacation can be a nice change. Another delight is the desert in the winter and spring. In the summer it is downright hot. Businesses shut down and come back into operation when the fall comes along, thanks to high temps. Check out places such as Palm Desert and Palm Springs in the winter, and your desert vacation is optimal for relaxation. I can go on for hours about the opportunities to travel in California in non-beach destinations. Suffice to say, the beach is one thin strip of land that runs 1000 miles along the oceanfront, but the other 99 percent of land is not a beach, and that’s where the fun begins for those willing to explore.
South Coast Watershed Resource (WRC) at Arroyo Burro Beach opened recently and will be open to the public on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This eco-friendly building in the Santa Barbara serves as an educational learning center and as a model of green building practices. Watersheds determine the health of our creeks and beaches with approx. 80 % of ocean pollution originating from land. In a unique and symbiotic partnership, environmental educators from Art From Scrap’s Green Schools program have been teaching watershed education classes at the WRC, began managing the building in 2006, and recently received funding from The Coastal Fund at UCSB to hire two student interns. Displays, games, watershed models, a wet lab, and an extensive library of books about water issues, all offer guests insight and ideas for conservation. A photovoltaic system, use of natural lighting, and salvaged floor that was originally a gymnasium court are points of interest in this eco-friendly building. Location: 302 East Cota Street, Santa Barbara, CA
While tennis at the beach is not one of the top sports activities these days, you will find out that courts are in demand on a spring day in February and with perfect weather, even a novice player can have fun just being outdoors.
I could tell that tennis at the beach just isn’t what it used to be when my local beach resort hotel, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, shuttered the metal gate to its courts, and closed tennis down, opting for other activities on demand, such as a new pleasure pool built in theme park fashion for kids. Out in search of great beach tennis, I knew the courts along Balboa & Newport Blvds. would be in demand on this sunny Feb. afternoon, so I decided not to head south for a game. I’ve played often at the two courts available in Huntington Harbour at the Harbour View School. These were courts renovated through the help of a Realtor I’ve met, Sean Stanfield, who ranks as one of the top 10 in sales nationally. Thanks Sean for helping save the decaying court surfaces we used to trip and fall over!
A nice public court that’s often available in early afternoon is in Seal Beach. And the beauty of this park with two courts is that there’s a view of the Alamitos Harbor from the courts (through the green mesh). On this particular afternoon, the weather was just out of this world. We’d been going there in the recent rains, taking a broom and sweeping off the courts so we could play. Sure, my tennis balls are duds now, thanks to getting wet. But the setting makes everything so enjoyable. Kids swing and play in the lawns and playground near the courts, and basketball players get togehter for games on the other side of the fence. There’s a soft breeze that blows through from the Pacific Ocean just a few blocks away, and even though the afternoon sun hits one person smack dab in the eyes, it’s still worth playing. While I’ve never actually discovered tennis courts ON the beach, the closest experience can be found at the tennis courts at Hotel del Coronado. From your elevated vantage point, you can play tennis and see the beach and bay just below the courts. It’s outstanding!
Huntington Beach turns 100 today. Happy birthday to you. Solvang’s is coming up in just a year or two and they are gearing up. What do people do to celebrate city birthdays? Parades, floats, contests, city plaques, time capsules, races and relays are but a few of the 21st century events to make the season bright for residents who now reside in these 100-year-old California beach destinations. Are you have a birthday? Here’s a deal to make your event even more memorable and noteworthy. Disneyland is allowing California residents to get into the theme park free on their special day.
Master Model Builders at LEGOLAND California are busy making a birthday cake to celebrate the Park’s 10th birthday. Build and submit your own LEGO models in the “10 Years of Fun” Building Contest.
Finalists from the contest will be invited to walk the red carpet at
LEGOLAND California’s birthday celebration on March 20, 2009 featuring
a VIP screening of the new Bob the Builder 4D movie “Bob and the
“10 Years of Fun” Building Contest starts today and continues through
March 12, 2009. Contestants are asked to build their own
LEGO tribute to LEGOLAND California’s 10th birthday. Entrants in three
age categories (4 to 9, 10 to 15 and 16 and up) are asked to send
of their LEGO creations to the Park to be judged by Master Model
Builders. Five winning models will be chosen from each age category and
their models will be displayed during the birthday celebration on March
Models must be made entirely out of LEGO brick, and can be no larger than 12 inches tall by 10 inches wide.
Actual models cannot be accepted,
but photos of creations can be uploaded online at legoland.com/poster
mailed to “10 Years of Fun”
Building Contest, One LEGOLAND Drive, Carlsbad California 92008; or
hand delivered to Guest Services at LEGOLAND California by 5 p.m. on
2009. For complete contest rules and regulations, visit legoland.com/poster
will be notified by phone or e-mail and listed on LEGOLAND California’s
website by March 17, 2009 and will receive the red carpet
treatment at LEGOLAND California’s 10th birthday party. Grand Prize
winners from each age category will be announced that night and will
a LEGOLAND prize package including a family four-pack of annual Resort
passes with unlimited admission to LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE™
Aquarium for one year.
Governor Schwarzenegger, please leave our car license fee alone. And please don’t increase our gas tax. What are you trying to do, break our backs? While the governor again created a budget that throws out red flags, this Valentines Day at the California beaches we’ll be seeing red. In our household, we are discussing what salad we can dine on as our family Valentine treat. I have posted events on my calendars such as smooth jazz concerts ($75), gondola rides ($75), and other items for Valentine’s Day. Fortunately I have done and seen all those things and don’t feel I’m missing out. But the truth of the matter is that one neighbor just lost their house, another divorced and sold their house to pay off debts, and still, these people went to rock concerts at $50 a pop. I wondered where they were getting the money from if they were losing their house.
The cold, hard facts are that Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday that is all about spending money. I’ve never been one to believe that on a particular day, things suddenly become important or special. One comedian said, “Let’s pull out emergency Christmas to stimulate spending.” California beaches will be mostly cool this Valentine’s Day. The hotels aren’t booked this year. And as far as sales go, they are down across the board. Not just for Californiabeaches.com, but for nearly every hotel and hotel rooms broker. There’s room at the inn, and some deals if you look around. In our next segment, we’re going to start concentrating on those rooms along the beach. There’s only 150 or so hotels on the beach in California, believe it or not. And when you find them, they’re not always cheap, nor are they always nice. Nevertheless, there are some shining stars worth pointing out. I’ve spent 10 years looking for them and I know some hidden secrets the locals don’t tell you about or publicize. For now, go treat yourself to a new pen, coffee drink, special meal, or even a t-shirt or socks. You don’t have to spend a fortune this Valentine’s Day. At the beach, it’s all about sand, waves & weather.
Christmas at the beach is gone. It was my favorite season. I really love remembering the traditions I grew up with as a kid. But now, thanks to so many event planners, public relations specialists, marketers and community volunteers, I am swamped with 2009 events coming at me faster than that Easter Bunny just around the bend (April 12). I seldom receive events from convention and visitors bureaus anymore (with the exception of Oxnard and Santa Cruz). There’s a lot more grass roots work going on, and I really feel encouraged by the events I’ve seen upcoming for the 2009 year.
Some events seem to have disappeared.
We read this op-ed piece in the Desert Valley newspaper. No attribution to an author was supplied so I can’t give credit till I find the author source. If this belongs to you, let me know and I will credit the piece. The reason I am publishing excerpts is because it expresses the frustration many Californians feel about their government in Sacramento. Arnold Schwarzenneger, himself, chose to threaten to close state parks and other highly visible public projects, knowing that the public would respond. Californians are tired of the waste in Sacramento, and they are tired of their legislators who nod their heads and do very little to provide a vision. This year promises to be one of disappointment, at minimum.
In the opinion page article titled, “Sweating the real budget”, the author mentions a headline in the Sacramento Bee: “Warnings of budget ‘Armageddon’ don’t rouse ordinary Californians. Democratic and Republican lawmakers battle in a state budget quagmire, trading charges of obstruction or constitutional end runs. The fed-up governor warns of a financial ‘Armageddon.’ “
Once the California lawmakers make their devastating budget cuts, they may be terrified that few will notice. That’s why the governor’s budget proposal included closing state parks. How much of the budget cuts included reduction of the government’s 200,000-plus employees? Californians realize they can live without government’s behemoth apparatus, with its unlimited appetite for their tax money.
The article provided the story of a Huntington Beach woman who owns a surfboard company. She can’t compete with offshore manufacters, she said, thanks to the rules and regulations she must adhere to, making her boards more expensive. She also stated that the value of her Roth IRA is so low now, that she worries about just surviving.
With the feeling that this budget woe will be a redux of years past, there’s nothing bright on the horizon, and no leadership to put our hopes in providing Californians with a plan. Our current legacy to pass onto younger generations offers a huge sum of debt.
When Yahoo posted their list of best companies to work for in 2009, I had to laugh, thinking maybe they were kidding. Who wrote this stuff? Surely they can’t be serious. On their top 10 picks were: 1. Kaiser Permanente. You click on the “search for jobs” at that site and get a notice that they are migrating their system. If you’re a senior business analyst and live in Oakland, Alameda or East Bay San Francisco, by all means apply. The number 2. top company was the Army National Guard. All you displaced middle age moms are looking for a career in the National Guard, aren’t you? Oops, there’s just a few problems about qualifying. It’s never too late jump out of helicopters and learn other such skills for close to minimum wage, if you pass the tests. 3. Lab Corp of America has one job in California in Los Angeles as a Lab Technician. That’s quite promising– if you’re a lab technician. An employee of a company confided in us that their online application process gets up to 1000 applicants for most jobs, and in general, you’re lucky to get a rejection email if the company uses the current mail software to let you know they didn’t really look at your application. They selected a friend they knew, but they had to post the job on these boards. 4. UPS offers two jobs in California–in Inglewood. 5. Johnson & Johnson has a job in Irvine, Calif. You only need a degree in engineering, 8 years experience, and 3 years experience in project management. Our favorite is AT&T (#12). How many friends do I have in California that just received their 60 day notice to find another job at AT&T? Quite a few, sadly. As I looked to see if their jobs were being replaced, I noticed that there weren’t any jobs in California on this list. So there you have it.
Yahoo has some great writers who are creative, at minimum. Advertising driven, perhaps. Beyond that, buyers or job hunters, you know the truth about the job market right now.
You wake up to the sound of the hot wind blowing off the Palm Desert, the swoosh of the palms blowing aimlessly, and you notice it’s hot…and it’s January.
It could have been the subtle headache when I awoke that might have tipped me off to a change in the weather. Hearing the windows banging in their frames was yet another clue. And finding that my blanket had been pushed off during my sleep because of the heat, I surmised I was in for another warm day at the California Beaches…and this is just January! The beaches have been quite busy this January, more than any other year. And the piers, well they are packed. Even that poor Queen Mary ship with its decaying life boats that hang suspended in testament to the ship’s many needs, were being scrutinized by hundreds of locals “tourists” getting in free. If you’re looking for warmth and heat, Los Angeles and Orange County beaches are your best bet this week. Why? Santa Ana winds that whip the heat off the desert floor and throw that warmth onto the coast can be blamed for this summeresque climate. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the ocean temp hovers around 57-59 degrees…a bit too cold for casual swimmers to dive in. But if you are looking for an early tan, get yourself on a plane, in a car or on a train and head for Southern California’s beach cities such as Redondo, Manhattan, Venice, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Dana Point, San Clemente and Laguna Beach. These will be our top beach picks of the week for sun & fun.
You probably think nothing is going on today. Wrong! California has lots to do. We make it our point to find out about the activities and events around the state. In Southern California, it was warm after of Santa Ana winds off the desert heated things up. The piers were packed, beaches were busy, and people were out in the millions, looking for cheap activities and entertainment. Notice the people on the Seal Beach pier in the photo above. They are wearing sleeveless shirts or short sleeve tops. That’s how warm it was.
We say goodby to Seaside Ice today, after its seasonal run. Redondo Beach has given them a five year contract to continue the ice rink overlooking the ocean. Congratulations all of you hard working friends who made this dream a reality! It was totally cool. Below is a list of events going on this Sunday, January 11, 2009
BRENTWOOD - Holiday on Ice.
IRVINE - Orange County Wedding & Event Center.
LA JOLLA - La Jolla Motor Car Classic.
LANCASTER - A Few Good Men, musical.
LOS ANGELES - Downtown on Ice.
REDONDO BEACH - Seaside Ice Rink.
SAN DIEGO - San Diego Boat Show
SAN JOSE - Downtown Ice
SANTA ROSA - Santa Rosa Concert with Philippe Quint, Violinist.
THOUSAND OAKS - Breaking Up is Hard to Do, a Neil Sedaka Musical.
WALNUT CREEK - Downtown Walnut Creek on Ice