It may not be obvious, thanks to the sunny Southern California weather, but summer is long over and cooler days are ahead as winter approaches.
The chillier forecast, however, doesn't have to be a bummer for people who enjoy the area's many beach activities.
Here are a few ideas on things to do on the water, from Seal Beach up to Malibu, during the cooler months that won't get you cold and wet.Kayak
Although the rules at the Long Beach-based Kayak Rentals state that all those who participate must know how to swim, getting in the water is not necessary to get a closeup of the Naples Canals and Alamitos Bay. For $9 per hour people get a life jacket, kayak, paddling lessons (if needed) and a map showing them how to get around Naples Island and the Naples Canals. Kayakers can paddle under bridges, through the canals and check out some of the waterfront homes and boats. They can also kayak to places like Starbucks or Jamba Juice and get out of the boats for a coffee or juice. Winter hours are 9 a.m to 5 p.m. on the weekends and during the weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Location: 5411 East Ocean Blvd., Long Beach
Information: 562-434-0999, kayakrentals.netGondola Ride
Things don't slow down during the winter at Gondola Getaway. The veteran Gondola tour company has been recreating the Venice, Italy, experience in Long Beach since 1981 with gondoliers dressed in black-and-white striped shirts and straw hats. A fleet of 12 gondolas take visitors on leisurely 55-minute tours of the Naples Canals.
Thanks to all the holiday lights that decorate the waterfront homes, winter is the busiest time for the company so book a ride early. Those who get a spot can make it even more romantic by bringing their own bottles of wine or champagne for the tour. The cost is $85 for two people and $20 for additional passengers. Most gondolas seat about six people, but there are some with room for up to 14 passengers.
Long Beach isn't the only area where people can cruise around the water in a gondola. In Marina del Rey, Gondolas D'Amore takes people on day and night gondola tours of the marina. The boat trips go by Fisherman's Village, the waterfront attraction where people will often see birds and seals fishing around near the live bait tanks.
Location: Gondola Getaway, 5437 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach
Information: 562-433-9595, gondolagetawayinc.com
Location: Gondolas D'Amore, 14045 Panay Way, Marina del Rey
Information: 310-736-7301, gondolasdamore.com.Sailing
There's no need to be a weathered sailor with sea salt running through your veins in order to enjoy the open ocean. In Redondo Beach, a company called South Bay Sailing offers sailing trips on 16- to 40-foot sail boats. The trips take place all year long and can vary from relaxing sails along the beaches of the South Bay area to an active hands-on experience where instructors teach aspiring sailors how to control the boat.
For a more romantic trip, there is the Sunset Cruise which takes to the waters near sunset. There is also a Champagne Sail where couples can cruise the waters while sipping on some bubbly champagne. Tours start at $75 and South Bay Sailing is open from 9 a.m. to sunset seven days a week.
Location: 181 North Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach
Information: 310-937-3180, southbaysailing.comUnder the Sea
Forget the wetsuits, all it takes to go underwater and see fish in their natural environment is a trip on the Looking Glass. The 22-foot boat is docked in Redondo Beach and takes up to 19 people at a time on a 30-45 minute tour around the marina. The bottom of the glass-sided boat, where passengers sit, sinks8-feet below sea level. That gives people a good view of bass and Garibaldi, the California state fish. There is also the occasional sea lion sightings, although they are more common during the summer. The Looking Glass is open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Monday. Trips costs $15 for adults and $10 for children 17 years of age and under.
Location: 181 N. Harbor, Redondo Beach
Information: 310-909-3179, fastkayak.comFishing
Fishing can be a tranquil, relaxing activity. It can also be an exciting way to spend a fall or winter afternoon on the hunt for game fish like halibut, bass, yellow tail and even barracuda. With a fleet of three boats that include the Betty-O, Spitfire and the New Del Mar, Marina del Rey Sportfishing takes beginning fishermen, as well as more seasoned anglers, on up to eight-and-a-half hour fishing trips starting as early as 6:30 a.m. Prices start at $25 for kids under 12 years of age and $39 for adults. The search for game fish can cover an area in the south off Rocky Point or north around Point Dume in Malibu.
Boat capacities range from 65-95 people, so even if the fishing is bad, there's a chance of making friends.
The fish are also biting in Santa Monica at the Santa Monica Pier. Fishing is free and there is no need to have a fishing license while fishing at the pier. There are cleaning stations available throughout the area and most people bring a couple poles and just cast their lines from any spot over the water. The more popular spots, however, are at the end of the pier. There is also a bait shop on site that rents fishing equipment. Fishermen often pull in catches like mackerel, sting rays and even a few toothy predators like leopard and tiger sharks.
Location: Marina del Rey Sportfishing, Dock 52, 13552 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey
Information: 310-822-3625, marinadelreysportfishing.com
Location: Santa Monica Pier, 100 Santa Monica Pier
Information: 310-458-8901, santamonicapier.orgCamping
Spending the night at the beach is a no-no at most L.A. coastal areas. At Dockweiler Beach, however, spending the night is a yes-yes, as long as you have access to an RV or a camping trailer. Dockweiler RV Park is open throughout the year and lets campers spend the night on the sand. Well, techinically in a parking lot next to the sand, but the water is just a few feet away. Each space has a picnic table and grill and there are also showers on the campgrounds. It costs $55-$65 depending on how close the space is to the sand. Of course, it's not really camping unless there's a campfire and they got that too. Fires are allowed at designated spots on the beach. The fire pits are also open to the general public, however, and not just reserved for campers.
Location: 12001 Vista del Mar, Playa Del Rey
Information: 310-322-4951Beach Walk
A walk along the beach can be relaxing, and it can also be educational. A pair of free beach nature walks at Dockweiler Beach are scheduled on Nov. 23 and Jan. 11. The 45-90 minute guided walks begin at 9 a.m from the Dockweiler Youth Center. The walks focus on beach ecology and on the snowy plover, a small bird that's on the federal threatened species list. Binoculars are provided during the walks.
Location: Dockweiler Youth Center, 12505 Vista del Mar, Los Angeles
Information: 323-481-4037, beaches.lacounty.govWhale Watching
There are several tour companies along the beaches that offer whale watching tours. One such company is Harbor Breeze in Long Beach, which offers tours throughout the year. In the fall and winter, the tours are on the lookout for gray whales as they migrate through Southern California. Blue whale migration season happens during the summer, but some stick around all the way through December so there's a chance to see both. There may also be some fin whales and killer whales in the water, too. Cruises are scheduled at noon and 3 p.m. Monday-Sunday. The cost is $45 for adults and $25 for kids 3-12 years old. Younger kids ride for free.
The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro also offers whale watching tours dubbed Complete Whale Watch. The tours start with a slide show presentation at the aquarium to learn more about whales as well as dolphins and birds that may be encountered on the trip. From there it's off to the water on a two-hour trip. The Complete Whale Watch trip is offered on Feb. 23 and March 23. There is room for about 100 people. Tickets costs $25. Spirit Cruises is San Pedro teams up with the Aquarium for these events. Spirit Cruises also offers additional whale watch tours from January through March.
Location: Harbor Breeze, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach
Information: 562-432-4900, lawhalewatching.com
Location: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro
Information: 310-548-7562, cabrillomarineaquarium.org
Location: Spirit Cruises, Ports O'Call Village, 1199 Nagoya Way., Berth 77, San Pedro
Information: 310-548-8080, spiritmarine.com
Pedal power can propel people through the scenic Naples Canals as they ride the odd-looking hydrobikes. Invented in 1989, hydrobikes are pretty much a pair of canoes attached to a bike that rises high between the boats. They're pretty stable and can hold up to 400 pounds. They're also equipped with drink holders and can go up to 10 mph, but that depends mostly on the athletic prowess of the rider. Most stroll through the canals much slower. Long Beach Hydrobikes is open from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. daily. Starting on Nov. 29 through Jan. 1, LB Hydrobikes will offer holiday tours that start at 4 p.m through 10 p.m. The evening and night-guided cruises will give people a chance to see the holiday decorations on the homes at the canals that light up the area every year. Cost is $20 per person and $60 per person for the holiday tour.
Location: 110 N. Marina Drive, Long Beach
Information: 562-546-2493, lbhydrobikes.com