From oceanside playgrounds and dining to on-the-water activities and a variety of transportation options, it’s easy to experience a bucket list day in Marina Del Rey, California. Our day included kayaking around the marina, admiring the endless rows of yachts, playing at the playground, dining oceanside, parasailing, and commuting in the free electric shuttles. We’ve planned out the ideal bucket list day in Marina Del Rey and tested it out. Now all you have to do is book and enjoy!
A Bucket List Day in Marina Del Rey
County Parking Lot #9
Arrival at County Parking Lot #9. 13977 Palawan Way. Buy your parking ticket from the pay-and-display kiosk. It’s $10 for the day and there are plenty of spaces.
Kayaking in the Marina
Across the street from Lot 9, you will notice Marina “Mothers” Beach, a calm cove popular with families and a launch point for kayakers and paddleboarders. Head to the far side of the hotel’s parking lot and look for the Pro SUP Shop rental truck.
A double kayak is large enough for two adults and a small child or two kayaks are a lot of fun for racing and having more control. We opted to head out on the marina together in a double kayak. Cord found it difficult to paddle with Athena in front of him in the beginning but we quickly found our rhythm. As we paddled around yacht after yacht, we sang songs and chose our favorites.
Even if you’ve never used a paddleboard before, it can be fun to practice surfing skills on such a large board. We saw a group of kindergarten students learning to paddle and stand on the boards in the mouth of the marina. Athena longed to join them. On our next visit, we’ll give the paddleboards a try.
Mornings in Marina Del Rey can start out with overcast. I’d suggest bringing a sweater along for comfort.
Beachside Restaurant in Jamaica Bay Inn
After your kayak time, head back to Jamaica Bay Inn and enjoy alfresco dining on the patio at Beachside Restaurant. The views of the marina are stunning and the service is exceptional. With outdoor heaters, even if the June Gloom hasn’t burned off, you will still be comfortable dining on the patio.
They offer a children’s menu with delicious choices and a brunch menu along with an all-day menu for adults. I’d suggest the Shiitake & Basil Turkey Burger with sesame aioli, avocado, tomato, arugula & crispy onion rings. It’s served on a toasted brioche bun with julienne fries on the side.
After an hour of kayaking, you will have worked up a worthy appetite.
Walk Along the Beach or Head to the Playground
The soft, powdery sands and parade of boats sailing by, make the beach picturesque and the playground on the far side is ideal for kids. Cord and I chatted on a bench while Athena swung on the monkey bars and played with other kids. The big green swing in the middle of the playground was fun to use as a surfboard while standing up. As a big kid myself, I love when playgrounds have unique options for adults to interact more with their children. I got in a half-hour of play time with Athena before texting for a free ride.
The Free Ride
Text The Free Ride to pick you up at the hotel. This fleet of open-air shuttles provides on-demand transportation within the Marina every day from noon till 9 p.m.. Just text 323-435-5000 with your pick-up point, passenger count, and destination (which will be Fisherman’s Village). Allow 10-15 minutes for shuttle arrival. Though the ride is free, cash gratuity is appreciated. $2-$5 per trip for your group is average.
The ride from Jamaica Bay Inn to Fisherman’s Village shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes.
Athena enjoyed the open-air shuttle as much as kayaking. She thought of it like an amusement park ride rather than simply transportation.
Marina Del Rey Parasailing
The kiosk for Marina Del Rey Parasailing is on the dock behind El Torito restaurant.
Breathtaking panoramic views of the Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach Boardwalk await as you are gently lifted from the boat’s flight deck to your chosen altitude. Choose from 500 or 800 ft rides. Share in the fun – bring your friends and family. Flights can accommodate two or three people at a time.
We thought Athena would be too young but we were delighted to hear that children can ride along as well. We screamed with excitement as we were lifted off the boat and up into the air. When it was over and we were undoing our harnesses, Athena asked to go back up immediately. She said it was her favorite “ride” ever. We soaked up the panoramic views and the fresh ocean air on our faces while soaring above Marina Del Rey.
The staff really made this an exceptional experience. We wanted to spend the entire day on the ocean with the crew.
Fisherman’s VillageAfter your parasailing excursion, wander around Fisherman’s Village at your leisure. Options include sea lion watching while enjoying an ice cream or renting bikes by the hour from Daniel’s Bike Rentals; he carries kids’ bikes too.
We spent an hour talking with the family we met while parasailing. We bought small ice creams, which were actually huge, and watched the sea lions playing around the boats while sharing stories with our new friends.
Text The Free Ride for a lift to Tony P’s Dockside Grill.
Tony P’s Dockside Grill
Tony P’s has remarkable views, scrumptious food, and a casual atmosphere.
I ordered the Blackened Cajun Chicken Pasta with Cajun spiced pan blackened chicken breast, spinach, roasted
red onions, garlic Cajun cream sauce, and pasta penne.
Their cocktails are as massive as they are tasty and their dessert martinis will keep me coming back.
Our bucket list day in Marina Del Rey was filled with joy, laughter, and smiles. We made friends and experienced firsts like parasailing as a family. Whether you have a couple hours or a few days to spend, there’s plenty to do in Marina del Rey. This is just a glimpse of the beauty of Marina Del Rey.