This way to paradise…
Everyone has their own version of paradise, but when I think of paradise the first place that comes to mind is Santa Monica, California! It has the community feel of a small beach town*, but with all the benefits of a big city (Los Angeles) right next door!
I would consider Santa Monica the perfect family beach. It has just about everything a person would think up when dreaming of the perfect beach day!
Here is just a sampling of what Santa Monica Beach has to offer:
- Long wide stretches of soft warm sand dotted with brightly colored umbrellas, perfect for picnicking, body surfing, and sandcastle building,
- A 22 mile long paved path stretching from the Pacific Palisades to Torrance perfect for biking, running, roller blading or just plain walking, along the way you’ll find playgrounds, bike rentals, ice cream shops, burger joints and shopping.
- A pier complete with an amusement park, a mini aquarium and a carousel!
Even with all the activities that Santa Monica Beach has to offer, there are times when it seems like you have your own private beach, with no one around other than the occasional surfer or person passing by.
Just south of the Pier you’ll find the original Muscle Beach, which features loads of gymnastics equipment, the Chess Park and easy access to the Carousel. My boys and I have always enjoyed trying out all the equipment. Though I must admit its pretty challenging!
Fantastic views of the beach, ocean and pier can be seen from Palisades Park which is perched on the coastal bluffs, which run along Ocean Avenue. The Park is a great place to view the sunset and wandering along the path in the evenings, especially when the moon is out is a favorite activity of mine.
Though I do enjoy an afternoon at the beach, I’m always up for a stroll and some shopping! Just a short walk from the beach you’ll find world class shopping and big name stores at the Santa Monica Place mall and on the pedestrian friendly Third Street Promenade. Venture just a little further south and you’ll find Main Street which is lined with one of a kind boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants, and though not technically Santa Monica I always love a trip to Abbott Kinney in Venice which is just a tiny bit further!
Where to Stay
Santa Monica is a popular tourist destination, so hotels can be pricey especially in the summer months. Here are my thoughts on the hotels we’ve stayed at most recently:
The Georgian – ***
Located on Ocean Avenue, this place couldn’t be more convenient within easy walking access to everything Santa Monica has to offer, and the rates do reflect that. However it is on the older side and could use some updating. The rooms were fine as were the common areas, but nothing special. There are no services after hours, so if you’re hungry or looking for a drink this isn’t the place.
The Hilton Double Tree – ****
A tiny bit off the beaten path this hotel fits the bill in many other ways. The rates are fair and the rooms are large , and with a separate bedroom and pullout couch in the living area all four of us were able to spread out. There is a pool which my kids really enjoyed as well as a workout facility.
The Shore – ****
Steps from the Santa Monica Pier the Shore is a trendy eco-friendly hotel with rooms on the smaller size. My favorite part about the Shore is the pool area! Elliot likes it too!
All year long you’ll find warm days, soft sand, ocean breezes, cool nights, and everywhere you look beautiful flowers… Santa Monica…
*Santa Monica has a population of 87,000, but it’s right next door to Los Angeles with its population of 3.8M!