Located just west of downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica beach is an iconic example of famous Southern California beaches. Santa Monica Beach offers exactly what you’re looking for, with both large wide beaches, cycling trails and a few Los Angeles beach options that offer nearby activities.
Brief Information on Santa Monica Beach
The beach is located along the Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica. It is 3.5 miles long and has parks, picnic areas, playgrounds, toilets, manned life stations, original Muscle Beach, bike rentals, concessions, several hotels, cycle paths and wooden roads for disabled days and handicapped. Visitor activities include volleyball, surfing, paddle surfing and swimming.
At the foot of Colorado Boulevard is the historic Santa Monica Pier, dating back to 1909, along the famous arch and tower. Pier has the National Historic Landmark – 1922 Loop Hippodrome Carousel.The International Chess Park is located a few steps south of the pier volleyball courts. Public chess tables and a human-sized chessboard placed on the sidewalk have a wide range of players.
Palisades Park is located on the famous sandstone cliffs of Santa Monica and provides a viewpoint to see the sweeping of the Santa Monica Beach and the Pacific Ocean. The beach is the album art of Owl City’s Umbrella Beach. Contrary to popular belief, the hit TV series Baywatch was filmed at neighboring Will Rogers State Beach. The beach will host beach volleyball and surf during the 2028 Summer Olympics.
Arlington West is a temporary monument created on Santa Monica Beach, just every Sunday from sunrise to sunset, just north of the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica. Crosses are placed on the beach for every US soldier who died in the Iraq War. The number of crosses every Sunday exceeds 4,000.
Transportation to Santa Monica Beach
Hiking and Biking
Walking or cycling to the beach is quick and easy if you’re staying close to the beach or parking in an adjacent parking lot at a nearby hotel. There are asphalt and illuminated roads, open signs, accessible walkways and bicycle lanes in the length of the beach.
Pedestrian access is available on the north side of the beach:
- Colorado Blvd.
- Montana Cad.
- Idaho St.
- Arizona Ave.
- Broadway ave
To the south of the pier, almost all the east / west streets go directly to the beach. Popular entry points are close to beach parking lots:
- Bicknell Ave.
- Ocean Park Blvd.
Transportation by Bus
The Big Blue Bus operates several routes that stop on or near the coast of Santa Monica:
- Route 1 (from UCLA / Venice Beach)
- Fast 3 (from LAX)
- Fast 7 (from West LA / Wilshire)
- Rapid 10 (from Downtown LA)
The Big Blue Bus costs $ 4.00 per day and can be purchased online or on the bus.
Going to the Beach by Car
Driving to the beach is a popular choice for many Southern California residents looking for Los Angeles beaches, but roads can be very busy on summer or holiday weekends.
The main routes to Santa Monica State Beach are:
- I-10 (Los Angeles City Center)
- Santa Monica Blvd. (From West LA)
- Pacific Coast Highway / US 1 (from Santa Barbara / Malibu)
- Lincoln Blvd. / USA 1 (from Venice / LAX)
Travel From Lax
Santa Monica Beach is just 13 km from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
- By car, exit the airport and go to Lincoln Blvd. / USA 1 Santa Monica in the north.
- Take public transport to Big Blue Bus (Route 3 or Rapid 3).
Activities You Can Take on Santa Monica Beach
1. Annenberg Community Beach House
Annenberg Community Beach House offers fantastic views, a children’s playground / bounce pad and a historic pool and docent tours as well as classes and rentals that offer Marion Davies House. It is a public, public, public facility. Situated on site, Back on the Beach Café also offers beach breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Sitting, playing and sunbathing are popular activities on the beach. A large soft sand width provides space for the great summer crowds of residents and tourists. Perry’s Cafe and Beach Rentals offers a $ 50.00 beach butler service for sunbeds, a small table, an umbrella, 2 bottles of water and some refreshing and wind protection. It is also a great spot to grab breakfast or lunch on the beach.
3. To exercise
Santa Monica beach is home to the original Muscle Beach with gymnastics equipment including parallel bars, rings, swings and ropes for children and adults. A large number of volleyball courts are in the first place, the first service areas are located in various locations in the north and south of the pier.
The Marvin Braude Beach Trail (popularly known as “Strand” or the South Bay Bicycle Trail) is a 22 mile long, asphalt trail that is where Santa Monica begins and ends at Torrance County Beach.
5. Surfing and Rowing Surfing
A sandy beach break, a spread out lineup just off of Bay St. and rentals / lessons offer beginners an introduction into surfing Southern California. View City of Santa Monica authorized surf instructors.
6. Eating a Great Meal
Picnic areas and parks on the edge of Santa Monica beach are popular places for locals and tourists. Nearby hotels include the pier and Ocean Ave. It also offers a variety of restaurants, kitchens and price points.
Popular restaurants close to the beach include:
- Perry’s Café and Beach Rental
- Back on the beach
- Yakala (at Hotel Casa del Mar)
- Beach (In Shutters On The Beach)
- Santa Monica Pier and board (numerous options)
- Ocean Ave. other places offered throughout