As mentioned, Veterans Park in Redondo Beach was one of the places I dove at for my Scuba Certification. It’s a site that is made relatively easy for divers, as you can leave your car, walk down a long set of stairs, cross the sand, and walk directly into the ocean. Once you are done, there are showers easily available for you to rinse off. That being said, the walk down from the car to the stairs and back up is pretty brutal in the scuba gear, but it’s nothing difficult if you’re used to the climb and/or moving around in your scuba gear. And the closeness of the beach to the parking here is really a huge plus. There are also easy-to-access bathrooms which is another huge plus.
For parking, please note that you need to bring quarters to feed the meters. The meters here are not updated to accept credit cards at this time.
This is a dive where the conditions really have to be good for you to enjoy the experience. We went into our first dive during low tide with small waves, so it was pretty easy getting out to the perfect spot. However, there’s really not much to see here, so it’s a good practice spot but not somewhere I would ever dive for fun. I have read that aside from being a great practice site, it’s a good place to go for night dives because of all of the sea life that comes out after dark. But for the day, it’s more of a practice site.
That being said, there is an underwater submarine canyon here that looks glorious, but it is down 130 feet below, so it’s not somewhere that can be easily accessed by most divers. Unless you are certified in deep water diving, this isn’t a sight you can see up close.
Now, about the conditions… I mentioned that I dove here for my training. The day we did this, visibility was only 5ft, so it was a rather frightening experience. If your diving buddy just inched ahead too much, you would lose sight of them. Perhaps, I would have liked it more if conditions were better. But they say if you can dive in California then you can dive anywhere. After experiencing this spot, I believe this to be very true. There was a mild pull we had to fight against to stay lined up with the stairs the entire swim out and back. The water was in the 50 degree F range despite it being summer; the pacific is usually very cold, so this was no surprise. And as we emerged from the dive and walked back out onto the beach, the waves had grown pretty large and crashed against us rapidly. So, we had to really lean into them to keep from being knocked down.
Needless to say, I learned that day that beach dives were not really my thing. Walking a long distance in the gear mixed with rough conditions entering and exiting the water takes the fun out of it for me. But I was grateful to learn those skills in these conditions so I know what to do. But I’ll most likely stick to diving at dive parks or on special vacation excursions. I do want to give beach diving one more go at Leo Carillo, one of my favorite beaches, so we’ll see how that goes soon!