summer kickoff: our escape to Torrance
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I truly love living in Southern California. It has it all – mountains with snow, beaches with surf, deserts with resorts and everything in between. Here in Palm Springs it is idyllic most of the year and I feel very fortunate to call PS home. Those feelings fade a bit come summer and to beat the heat, we flee west. This past week my family and I made a quick getaway to Torrance and had one of the best impromptu vacays we’ve ever had!
Excited to leave the 110 degree weather behind, we packed up Monday night and headed out early in the A.M., GPS set for Torrance. It was much earlier than check-in time so we stopped at the Torrance Farmer’s Market when we got to town. It was a huge market, filled with every type of organic produce you can think of + so much more.
How fortunate we stumbled into town on a Tuesday? Our plans for the day revolved mostly around hitting the beach, so this was the perfect chance to pick up some fresh and delicious produce to enjoy on the sand. Both Savannah and I instantly gravitated to the Rainier cherries, a fruit I’ve been obsessed with since visiting Seattle as a child.
Once my bag was full of fruit, local honey and some gluten-free vegan goodies, we sat down to enjoy the entertainment, which was amazing. Farmer’s markets must be a neat place to play since their guitar cases were not only filling up with $$ but also organic produce!
It was still way too early for check-in at our hotel, but we swung by anyway. Our room was booked at the Avita Suites, a Best Western Plus and it couldn’t have been more perfect for us. It was only noon but they gave us a room and we crashed to catch our breath before we hit the beach. Both of my kids really love hotel stays (who doesn’t) but Gabriel especially finds them relaxing.
After a quick cartoon, a few brewed coffees and some outfit changes for the beach, we were ready to go. I’ve been to Redondo Beach a few times back when we lived in LA but when I researched best beaches coming from Torrance, I learned about RAT Beach (Redondo and Torrance Beach) and also Malaga Cove. At the intersection of Paseo Del Mar and Via Arroyo there is a parking lot. In the lot is a gazebo, perfect photo opp overlooking Malaga Cove.
In this lot you can park for free and head down a short trail to a GORGEOUS, secluded, uncrowded beach in South Bay. The walk down makes this beach an even better spot to head to. It’s just absolutely breathtaking. I felt very “in the know” and local going to this spot, which was only just over 5 miles from my hotel in Torrance.
There were a few other families, couples and surfers around but really, it felt like we had the beach to ourselves. It’s June Gloom right now in LA so all I really needed to enjoy our beach day was a couple of beach towels. The weather was AMAZING for us desert dwellers trying to get away from the dry desert heat. It was in the low 70s and with a good humidity to the air – such a refreshing change from home.
As soon as I set the beach towels up, the kids stripped down and hustled to the surf. They absolutely LOVE the ocean. Living in Palm Springs, we’re over two hours from the beach. We hit the beach a few times a year, but it’s infrequent enough that they really appreciate it, which is pretty awesome. Every time they hit the sand, they go wild and free and it’s so rewarding to watch.
The particular days we visited, it was overcast with hints of rain, but there was still a nice warmth and light. After about two hours of jumping waves, collecting seashells and general bliss, the sun started to head down. Neither kid wanted to leave, I assure you, but there was more to do this day and their lips were starting to turn blueish. At least we were fortunate enough to see a few dolphins pop out o the water!
Neil put his oversized shirt onto Gabe for the walk back, which was just so cute. It was adorable to watch him trudge through the sand in the tee/dress, chasing the seagulls.
Dinner. Oh my gosh, we were so hungry at this point. Distracted with the beauty and fun of the beach, we skipped lunch and the kids only grazed briefly on the fruit we bought at the market earlier. But where to go? There are so many awesome places to eat in Torrance and I was leaning towards a ramen spot. But once I learned there was a Kings Hawaiian Bakery Restaurant, the original spot, just moments from our hotel, I was convinced that was dinner.
Since Gabriel could chew, he has been obsessed with Kings Hawaiian Rolls. But I mean, who doesn’t love Kings Hawaiian Rolls?
He was exceptionally thrilled to see rolls delivered to our table right as we sat down. Warm, fresh, airy – oh I’ve never had a roll quite so good!
To start, we ordered a Spam Musubi for the table. Not sure you’re aware, but Spam is HUGE in Hawaii. This appetizer is fried spam sprinkled with furikake and wrapped in nori, served with teriyaki sauce. I can’t even describe how tasty this was – I want another plate as soon as possible! Who knew Spam sushi and teriyaki sauce could be so good?!
The kids ordered from the kid menu – panko crusted chicken tenders for Gabriel, a Hawaiian style burger for Savannah. Neil went for the Maui Crispy Chicken Sandwich which was ridiculously good (I know bc I stole 1/4 of it).
It was a mega crispy fried chicken breast topped with fresh cabbage-jalapeno slaw and passion fruit-glazed caramelized onions, served on a King’s Hawaiian 4-Pack Roll and spread with Sriracha mayonnaise. Highly recommend!
Wanting to taste a variety of what Kings Hawaiian had to offer, I went for the Luau Platter – an assortment of traditional Hawaiian festive foods. It was a Taro Leaf Lau Lau, Huli Huli chicken, Kalua pork, chicken long rice and Lomi Salmon – all so so delicious.
Once we were all super stuffed, I remembered reading on Yelp that Kings Hawaiian Bakery Restaurant is known for a few things, one being their delicious Paradise Cake. Full as we all were, we ordered a slice for the table. oh. my. gosh.
This beautiful cake is absolute perfection on a plate. This is a three layer chiffon cake filled with pineapple whipped cream – layer flavors are guava, passion fruit and lime. It is just as good as it sounds and I almost went back in the morning to buy a whole cake to take home!
Now overly stuffed, we headed back to the Avita Suites. I was so happy our hotel was SO close because I was pretty exhausted and ready to hit the sheets. We watched a few cartoons and fell asleep fast. Morning came and we slept in, which was glorious, but made sure to go downstairs for a free hot breakfast. It was one of the best free hotel breakfasts I’ve ever been to – bacon, sausage, eggs, waffles, everything a traveler could want. I was super happy/surprised to see gluten-free waffles and dairy free milk for me!
After a few quick cartoons in the hotel room,
We packed up and checked out.
In the lobby, there was a brochure stand with all of Southern California’s attractions. It made me realize just how perfect of a location Torrance is. Away from the craziness and traffic of the rest of LA – uncrowded beaches, affordable but nice hotels – but so close to popular attractions from beaches to theme parks.
Since it was close by and on the way home, we stopped at Knott’s Berry Farm and Knott’s Soak City for one last day of fun on our Torrance trip. It was our first time checking out Soak City so we were all really excited. Waterparks are definitely my thing so I’m not sure who was most excited!
I mean, what better way to begin the day than at the top of a 83 ft high water slide? Sounds perfect to me.
As the park came to a close, we piled back into the car and drove the rest of the way home to Palm Springs. Our Torrance trip was one of our best yet and we will definitely be back later in the summer. Torrance, located in the heart of Los Angeles’ South Bay, is the perfect place to travel to this summer with your family. It has it all (award winning breweries, markets, museums, shopping, beaches, awesome restaurants) and without the headache of more crowded LA areas. It’s also only 15 min from LAX!
What would you do in Torrance, CA?
For more ideas on things to do in Torrance, check out Discover Torrance!