LAX to the Beach (and Back) for Only $3

Being stuck at an airport is never any fun, whether it’s long ground time between flights, or a flight cancellation and serious delay.  Wandering an airport can be fun. . . for the first couple of hours, at least.  But when you’ve checked out every last gift shop, book store, restaurant or bar, and what have you, it’s easy to become bored to tears.

So what are you going to do?  Well, at LAX, if you have enough time to get away, you can leave the hustle and bustle of the airport and head to the beach!

Manhattan Beach Pier

The Ocean Express trolley service operates every half hour, roughly between 9 am and 9 pm, with extended hours in the summer.  It serves the LAX area hotels and businesses along Century Boulevard with several stops, and provides transportation to the Manhattan Beach Pier, Manhattan Village Shopping Center, and Plaza El Segundo. 

There are several stops along Century Boulevard, so you can pick up a stop near the airport or near your hotel if your stuck without a car.  The airport is a very big place, and you’ll need to walk out to Century Boulevard, so check at one of the information centers in the airport to get directions from whatever terminal you’re in.  Here are the stops in the general LAX area:

  • 5249 West Century Boulevard
  • Century Boulevard & Concourse Way
  • 5757 West Century Boulevard
  • Century Boulevard & Airport Boulevard
  • Century Boulevard & Avian Way
  • Century Boulevard & Vicksburg Drive

The shuttle costs $3 round trip.  If you’re near at airport hotel, you can buy a ticket from the hotel front desk or concierge.  If you’re coming from the airport, you can buy a ticket when you get onboard.  Cash only, although the driver can typically make change.

The shuttle operates in a loop, and it will take about a half hour to get to the beach.  Make sure that you calculate your return, allowing yourself plenty of time walk back into the airport, clear security and get to your gate.

If your staying at an airport hotel, as I was last week, Ocean Express is a great way to see a little of the sights without the need for a rental car. 

I caught a shuttle around 1 pm and headed to the beach, getting off at the Manhattan Pier stop.  From there, I grabbed a quick late lunch, and then walked along the beach until I got to Hermosa Beach.  It was a bit of a walk, but nothing too strenuous, and a great way to enjoy a few hours.  After exploring Hermosa Beach, I walked back, and jumped on the trolley for a return to my hotel.  A GREAT way to spend an afternoon away from the airport!

Photo credit:  SXC

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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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