An informal look at amenities on some Southern California piers
The paper recently took a look what some Southern California piers have to offer. This is not a scientific or definitive survey but it should give you an idea of what other communities have on their piers.
Many Southern California piers allow fishing (but check the specific city code for local restrictions). Some cities allow dogs (if leashed) on their pier. Many have restaurants. (One pier features an Airstream restaurant and an Airstream visitor’s center.) A few have bait shops.
Los Angeles County
• Green Pleasure Pier, Avalon, Catalina Island: Wooden pier. Fishing on the pier is allowed. Boaters bring fish to the official weigh station. Love Catalina Island/(the local Chamber of Commerce) has a visitor’s center on the pier. Restaurants: Eric’s on the Pier, Avalon Seafood & Fish Market. Fishing is allowed on the pier without a license, according to www.pierfishing.com. (You can’t survey Southland piers without the Internet.) If you want to go sea fishing, you may buy a fishing license on this pier. The Harbor Department is also located on the pier.
Interestingly, the pier is rather small: 407 feet long, according to Love Catalina Island’s website.
Orange County’s Seal Beach Pier, by comparison, currently has no amenities xand is more than 1,800 feet long.
• Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Belmont Heights area of Long Beach: Fishing allowed. Amenities include a snack shop, a bait shop, and benches, according to the city of Long Beach website.
• Cabrillo Pier, San Pedro: Concrete pier. Pier fishing. (vicinity has lots of recreational activities). According to sanpedro.com, picnic tables are nearby.
• Santa Monica Pier. Concrete pier. According to santamonicapier.org, pier businesses are open and the amusement park is open. The site advises the public to contact individual businesses on the pier before visiting. The website also states masks are required indoors and encourages masks for unvaccinated individuals outside. The merry-go-round is reportedly open. Fishing is allowed on the pier. Perry’s Cafe & Beach Rentals has nine locations on the beach. Street performers are allowed. (There’s a lottery system.) Leashed dogs allowed on the pier, but not the beach.
• Hermosa Beach Pier: Concrete pier. Restrooms adjacent to pier open until 2 p.m., daily, per city of Hermosa Beach website. No dogs allowed. No alcohol or smoking (of anything). Fishing allowed. No overhead casting. No bikes, scooters or skateboards. No restaurants on the pier itself.
• Manhattan Beach Pier: Concrete pier. “The Manhattan Beach Pier is home to the Roundhouse Aquarium Teaching Center,” wrote Alexandria Latragna, Manhattan Beach policy and management analyst, in a recent email. According to the Teaching Center website, the aquarium is open to the public. Masks are required to enter the aquarium.
Fishing is allowed but with a number of restrictions, according to Latragna. (Look up the Manhattan Beach Municipal Code online for details. The link was too long to fit the print edition of this article.)
She also wrote that riding scooters, skateboards or Segways is forbidden. Dogs are allowed, if they are on a leash.
• Malibu Pier: Wooden pier. Photos at pierfishing.com show fishing rod holders on the railings. According to http://malibupier.com, the pier features two restaurants and three shops. Fishing allowed. No license required if you fish on the pier. Bait and tackle available at Ranch on the Pier. Fishing license and reporting cards for sale at Ranch on the Pier. Paddleboards and kayaks for rent at Malibu Surf Shack. Pier closes at sunset.
• Venice Pier: Fishing allowed. No restaurants. The surrounding area, however, has sports courts, a skate plaza, two children’s play areas, and a boardwalk, according to laparks.org.
• Redondo Beach Pier: It’s shaped like a horseshoe, according to redondopier.com. Redondo Beach Pier, by its sheer size, offers outdoor dining, shops, and water activities, according to redondopier.com. The site reports more than 30 eating and drinking establishments on the pier and the boardwalk. At 141 Fisherman’s Wharf you’ll find a combination coffee shop and bait shop.
• Seal Beach Pier: Wooden pier. Fishing allowed. “Any person fishing must have due regard for the safety of all persons on the beach or in the water. Fishing may be restricted or prohibited at the discretion of the lifeguard on duty,” according to the city website. And you can’t jump off the pier.
Dogs are not allowed, according to the Seal Beach Municipal Code. No barbecues, fires, or open flames are allowed, according to the Seal Beach Municipal Code.
Seal Beach has not had a restaurant at the far end of the pier since the Ruby’s Diner closed Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. The pier suffered extensive damage in a fire that occurred on Friday, May 20, 2-13. The building that once housed Ruby’s was demolished. Since that time, there has been frequent community discussion about putting a restaurant on the end of the repaired pier.
A 2014 proposal to build a restaurant on the pier did not come to pass.
City officials were planning a public outreach about the future of the end of the pier prior to the governor’s pandemic shutdown of 2020.
Future outreach efforts have not yet been announced. Anything built on the pier would be subject to the approval of the California Coastal Commission. A multitude of agencies would have jurisdiction over any construction that takes place over the water.
• Huntington Beach Pier: Concrete pier. Fishing allowed, according to surfcityusa.com. There used to be a Ruby’s Diner there, but it closed in early 2021.
• Newport Pier and Balboa Pier in (of course) Newport Beach: “Our piers here in Newport are called the Newport Pier and the Balboa Pier,” according to an unsigned Nov. 29 email from Newport Beach’s Recreation & Senior Services Department. “There is fishing off of these piers, as well as restaurants on the end of both. Both are located in areas with a lot to do, with the Newport Pier being located in the Newport Ocean Boulevard village with many shops, restaurants, and bars,” according to the Newport Beach email.
“And the Balboa Pier is located near the Balboa village with all the same amenities, as well as the famous Balboa Fun Zone and Ferry,” according to the Newport Beach email.
• San Clemente Pier: Fishing allowed. Restaurants: Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar is on Floor 1 of the San Clemente Pier; and San Clemente Pier Grill & Tackle, a grill, bait, and souvenir shop at the end of the pier.
San Diego County
• Oceanside Pier: There used to be a Ruby’s Diner at the end of that pier, but that diner closed in March 2021. The announcement was made on social media. The visitoceanside.org website lists 50 things to do in the Oceanside area, with tips on free fun for visitors on a budget, and information about area restaurants. Oceanside’s pier, like Seal Beach’s is wooden. The Oceanside website reports it is 1,942 feet long. Like the Seal Beach Pier, you can fish from the pier without a fishing license. State law says public fishing is allowed on a public pier.
• Ocean Beach Pier: According to the website for the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association [the group spells “mainstreet” as one word], Ocean Beach Pier is the longest concreate pier on the coast at 1,971 feet. No fishing license required. The Walking On Water café is located near the end of the pier.
• Imperial Beach Pier: According to the portofsandiego.org, dogs are allowed on the pier, provided they are on leash. The Tin Fish restaurant is located at the end of the Imperial Beach Pier.
• The Crystal Pier is also a hotel. According to crystalpier.com, the cottages date back to the 1930s. Two people per cottage, max. The website advises that you make summer reservations 11 months ahead of schedule and winter reservations four months ahead.
San Luis Obispo County
• Harford Pier, Avila: This pier has two restaurants on the end of the pier, according to avilabeachpier.com.
The site describes it as one of the last piers on which you may drive a car. Fishing allowed with no license required. Fishing charters are also available. A public boat hoist is also available at the pier.
• Pismo Beach Pier: Wooden pier. Features a bait shack (which also sells snacks), a Visitor Information Airstream near the pier, and an Airstream eatery that sells “gourmet street food along with local beers and wine,” according to www.experiencepismobeach.com.
There is a playground in the Pier Plaza. Dogs are allowed on the beach, if they are on a leash, but they are not allowed on the pier, according to http://www.pismobeach.org.
• Cayucos Pier, Morro Bay: Wooden pier. This pier has small memorial plaques on the wooden railing of the pier, according to highway1discoveryroute.com. Fishing allowed. No license required. Leashed dogs are allowed on the Cayucos Pier, unlike the Seal Beach pier. No restaurants on the pier.
• San Simeon Pier: Wooden pier. Fishing allowed. A picnic area is located nearby, as are restaurants.
Santa Barbara County
• Stearns Wharf: Wooden pier. Features five restaurants and eight so-called specialty shops (that include a bait shop, a gallery, a general merchandise place and an ice cream place).
• Goleta Pier: Wooden pier. Fishing allowed; no license required. Located in Goleta Beach Park, the pier features a boat launch.
There was a restaurant at the foot of the pier, but the business announced in January 2021 that it would close. In October, www.santabarbara.com website reported that Prjkt Restaurant Group had leased the location and intended to open a new restaurant there. Local news media reported that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved a 10-year lease agreement with the Prjkt Group.
• Ventura Pier: Wooden pier. “The Pier is also home to two amazing restaurants and MadeWest Brewery,” wrote Jenise Wagar of the non-profit Pier into the Future in a recent email.
The non-profit was created to maintain the pier.
“A unique feature of the Ventura Pier is the granite panels where many community members have their names engraved to show support in preserving the historic Ventura Pier for generations to come,” Wagar wrote.
There is an annual “Pier Under the Stars” event (the next one will be in 2022) that serves food from tents on the promenade.
• Port Hueneme Fishing Pier: Wooden pier. Restrooms located at the front of the pier. Restaurants are nearby.