Stasha’s second assignment as a travel nurse was less than two hours away from her first assignment in Laguna Hills, California. We decided it would be a good opportunity to try to find an apartment on the beach since we lived so close and could scope the place out. Everything fell in place and we were able to find an apartment right on the beach on the far west side of L.A. in Redondo Beach. We made a few sacrifices to get it but it was worth it.
The disadvantage of finding your own apartment is the hassle of setting everything up yourself. For a full comparison of finding your own apartment vs letting your company set it up for you, check out our travel nurse housing article. The short version: you are in charge of rent, utilities, deposits, furniture and anything else normally covered by the company. Not only are you in charge of paying all of these, you are in charge of setting them up, arranging for delivery and pickup of furniture, connecting and disconnecting utilities, etc. It really is a big hassle for such a small amount of time. We decided it might be our only chance to actually live “on the beach” so we went for it.
Speaking of living on the beach; it was awesome!!!!! The entire west wall of our unit was glass sliding doors that opened up onto a balcony. It really made for a spectacular view. It was rare to wake up in the mornings and not see a few dolphins or sea lions swimming in the water below. We even saw a whale one evening less than 50 feet from the beach right below our balcony! To the left of our apartment was a view of the Palos Verdes cliffs and to the right was the locally popular Redondo Beach Pier. It was so unreal to look out our window and have such a spectacular view that we probably could have just spent all of our days on our balcony taking it all in. Luckily we were able to pry ourselves away for a few adventures.
Our first stop was the nearby Palos Verdes peninsula. I still think if I would ever move to the L.A. area permanently, I would want to live in Palos Verdes. Stasha and I would have to win the lottery first but it’s possible. Palos Verdes sits about 1,000 feet above sea level, ascending rapidly over West L.A. and descending even more rapidly into the ocean with beautiful, rocky cliff sides. We made many road trips enjoying the view and walked along a trail that followed the coastline. One of our most memorable moments in California was looking out over L.A. the night before we left from a hilltop in Palos Verdes. The city looked like it could have stretched forever into the horizon.
Another memorable moment from this assignment was a trip we decided to take to San Francisco and the Napa and Sonoma Valley area. We only had four days to do it but we managed to squeeze in a lot including: driving through “Big Sur” along the Pacific Coastal Highway, the Golden Gate Bridge, the “crookedest street in the world”, several Redwood forests, a wine tasting, and lots of driving around and sight seeing. It was amazing to see the drastic change in scenery from Southern to Northern California and back again. The video below is a short montage of views from our apartment balcony and our trip to San Francisco including the Pacific Coastal Highway, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the “crookedest street in the world”.
We would like to caution anyone thinking about living on the beach in California. Have you ever heard of “May Gray” or “June Gloom”? If you have you are probably laughing and if you haven’t, I’ll let you in on these local phrases. Every year around late spring and early summer, a heavy fog develops along the Pacific Coast from where the difference in water temperature and land temperature collide. It can vary widely between seasons but sometimes it can last all summer. It usually only affects an area within a mile or two from the coast but can sometimes creep further inland. And it doesn’t happen every day but for us it seemed like it was at least every other. The weirdest thing is the fog can be so thick you can see it roll past dark objects and you might not see the sun at all that day on the beach, but one mile inland there might not be a cloud in the sky. Just something to think about if you plan on living on the beach in California around May or June.
We stayed in Redondo Beach for three months and despite the fog, we really had a lot of fun and would love to go back for another visit. We are so happy we decided to get our own apartment on the beach and would highly recommend it at least once. It can be costly and time consuming, but the reward could be well worth the trouble. It really helps if your next assignment is close enough to your current one that you can scope the area out and find exactly what you want. Have any of you traveled to Redondo Beach or the L.A. area? Share your experience in the comments below.