Best of the Beach 2018 Kids
CampSurf Director Chris Brown credits location for a large part of his 21-year-old surf and volleyball camp’s success. When Los Angeles County Lifeguard Jimmy Miller founded the camp in 1997, he obtained a permit to hold it at Rosecrans Avenue in Manhattan Beach. During the summer, when swells come from the south, the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Catalina Island block waves from reaching most of the South Bay. But waves still sneak in at the north end of Manhattan.
“Generally the summer surf is small, which is perfect for out campers. When it’s big, the surf breaks out far enough for beginners to ride the white water on the inside,” Brown said.
A second benefit of the camps location is the pool of strong South Bay surfers and volleyball players CampSurf draws upon for its instructors. All CampSurf instructors are CPR and First-Aid Certified. Brown’s relationships with the area’s top beach athletes come from his years as a competitive surfer and volleyball player.
Brown has been president of the CBVA (California Beach Volleyball Association) since 2005 and
also sits on the Nominating and Governance Committee of USA Volleyball, the governing body for U.S. Olympic volleyball.
CampSurf teaches over 1,000 kids to surf and play volleyball each summer and an equal number of adults through its year round private lessons and corporate team building program.
All Beach Area
Peninsula Heritage School
The key to Peninsula Heritage School’s success – and thus, its students’ success – is its environment, said Director of Advancement Joan Behrens.
“This is a nurturing, happy environment, where students come to know who they are,” Behrens said.
In operation since 1961, Peninsula Heritage’s educational programs see their kindergarten-through-eighth-grade students matriculate to top public and private schools throughout the South Bay and Beach Cities, and then through to the country’s top colleges and universities.
“They discover and build their skills and talents,” Behrens said. ‘When they leave here, they’re not necessarily trying to prove who they are.”
Its three-acre campus and ranch style buildings in Palos Verdes offer an idyllic academic environment.
Peninsula Heritage School
26944 Rolling Hills Rd.
Runner-Up: Vistamar School
737 Hawaii St.
Kids Indoor Play Facility
Kids Birthday Party Location
For $29 a month (or $12 for a day), children can learn how food gets to their tables by playing farmer, grocery store worker and homemaker in Toddler Town.bThe imaginative AdventurePlex play area features a farm with a barn, farm animals, a tractor, bales of hay and vegetables, as well as a grocery store with stocked shelves and a checkout counter and a home with a kitchen. For older kids, AdventurePlex offers an outdoor rock climbing wall, a rope course and basketball courts. AdventurePlex is 16,000 square feet of healthy educational fun. Just don’t mistake it for a babysitting service, except on Friday and Saturday evenings. During play hours parents must play with their kids. But Fridays and Saturdays, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., AdventurePlex’s trained staff will watch over the kids while parents enjoy an evening out.
For birthdays, AdventurePlex offers Fresh Brothers pizza, a custom designed Torrance Bakery birthday cake and the run of the Adventure Room play structure. Birthday packages also include invitations, thank you notes and goodie bags.
1701 Marine Ave.
Runner-Up: the COOP South Bay
903 N. Catalina Ave. #101
Bella Beach Kids
Bella Beach Kids’ location on Manhattan Beach Boulevard sits right next to Bella Beach, a clothing store targeted at woman who have long since left the sandbox behind. But the two stores share more than a wall: one of the most popular offerings at the kids shop is a “Mommy and Me” or a “Daddy and Me” option: the chance to find matching garments for a child.
It’s all part of a personalized touch that has made Bella Beach kids a fixture in downtown Manhattan Beach, and more recently allowed them to open a second location at The Point in El Segundo. The store is deeply connected to the community, and is family-run. Owner Tony D’Errico is a former member of the Manhattan City Council, who would cheerfully step out of council chambers when the body deliberated on matters that might affect his business. His wife Kris serves as co-owner and buyer for the store, while daughter Heather helps keep things running smoothly.
Asked to name their store favorites, employees pointed to the large selection of stuffed animals, and Kickee Pants, a line of ultra-soft pajamas made from bamboo.There is also a nightlight that is the shape and size of a pineapple: through some kid-friendly engineering, it somehow never gets hot to the touch.
Bella Beach Kids
225 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
The Point, 820 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
1813 S. Catalina Ave.