If I have a few hours to kill before a flight out of LAX, or if I want an inexpensive beach day, here’s what I do:
Start with lunch at Hank’s Italian. Hank’s is a classic over-the-counter pizza and sandwich joint that’s been serving locals since 1969. Grab a pie to go or a toasted veggie sandwich with provolone cheese on crispy French bread. One sandwich can easily feed two. You can eat at one of the two tiny tables out front, or drive 3 quick blocks up to Trask Triangle Park.
Secluded on a hilltop, Trask Park has benches, tables, and a view of the planes flying out of LAX. It’s the kind of place not many people go to. Yet, it’s maintained with manicured grass and trash cans. Here you’re only a block and a half from the ocean.
Walk down Waterview Trail (parallel to the park) and it will lead you straight to Playa Del Ray beach. Soak in the sun, put your feet in the sand or play volleyball on the courts of the Olympians. Watch the surfers, sea lions and fishermen. They call them the rocks off century, where many a big fish has been caught. The coolest part about this spot is coming before a night flight and watching the sun set over the airport, ocean and the Santa Monica Hills.