Driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, one is struck by the utter lack of originality when it comes to the naming of cities. Redondo Beach is the third in a string of beach-y towns, almost as though it hadn’t been made relatively clear that there was, in fact, a beach associated with this stretch of California.

Fortunately for it, Redondo, by any other name, is just as good – even if it is unoriginal. Redondo Beach is a southerly town made a tourist attraction by its gorgeous, sandy beaches and its eclectic population, most of which is young, vibrant and looking for a good time.

Like most beach towns, Redondo sports a historic pier. It’s a veritable tourist trap where lattes cost a $1.25 more than one would expect, but the atmosphere and life of the bustling boardwalk is worth the eye you should keep on your cash.

On the pier lies one of Redondo’s best-known institutions, Old Tony’s on the Pier. A seafood restaurant of some renown, Tony’s has been around since the 1950s and was one of the original draws to the area after the pier fell into disrepair in the ’30s. It’s also a popular venue for community events, like the annual Halloween party and arrival of Santa Claus.

But the pier is not Redondo’s only nod to the beach way of life. Visitors looking to take in the sights can take a jaunt along the Strand, a paved walkway that stretches from Redondo to Santa Monica, following every curve of the oceanfront. Bicycle rentals and skates abound, a veritable army of merchants eager to get you from point A to point B for relatively little cost.

Redondo also sees an active surf culture, with hardcore wave rats hitting the surf at abnormally early hours of the morning, leaving the tamer waves to newbies who are looking to experience the water for the first time. Such physical activity would put one in the mind for good grub. Travel down to the waterfront along the marina, and you’ll find a series of bars and late night joints that are ready to welcome thirsty visitors with a good palette for fine beer.

Naja’s Place (154 International Boardwalk), sitting pretty on a lovely marina, is the place to go for any beer connoisseur. The interior is open-air and low-key, giving it a relaxed feel of a neighborhood bar rather than a hip club or other Los Angeles specialty.

The real draw to Naja’s isn’t their atmosphere or even their somewhat pricey but dependable food menu. It’s the 76 varieties of beer on tap that they have at any given night. It’s motto? “Fear no beer.”

If shopping is your bent, Riviera Village is a secluded six-block section waiting to make your Prada-pump dreams come true.

This is the yuppie capital of Redondo, boasting a seemingly endless stream of classy boutiques, unique shops and delicious health food. Fitness centers abound, as do salons and beauty parlors. The Village is the most unique locale for shopping and relaxation, which is a far cry from your typical mall.

If you’re looking for that low-key, animal-friendly feel, try the Redondo Beach Dog Park. Pricey, prancing puppies do a grand meet-and-greet every day at this delightful little area in Dominguez Park.

A final word on Redondo – it’s an excellent place to bring family that have just flown in from out of state to visit their beloved college student. Located maybe 15 minutes from the airport, it’s an easy drive with excellent results, and a great place to get a free meal out of those parents who miss you so.