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Santa Monica, California, is a great place to experience the beach if you’re near Los Angeles. Santa Monica Pier is also a fun place to explore and grab some food after your time at the beach. Since our time was limited during our first trip to California, we only spent a couple of hours here, but I’m so glad we did!

By the time we’d gone to the pier, we’d already walked along the Walk of Fame, driven and had lunch on the Sunset Strip, and visited Griffith Observatory. Santa Monica was a late afternoon destination for us.

Arriving in Santa Monica

Since it was our first visit, we weren’t entirely sure what we were doing, which is a pretty common occurrence for us. When we saw a parking garage a couple of blocks from the beach, we went for it. We did have a lovely view of the pier from there.

Santa Monica Pier California

Later we realized there was plenty of parking at the beach.

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica: The Beach

Santa Monica Beach

Since it was pretty late in the afternoon, we headed straight for the water. The beach area seemed clean, and there were lifeguards on duty.

Santa Monica Beach

It’s worth noting that we visited in early June, and this year was even cooler for the norm. The water was pretty chilly. Most people were wading, though a few brave souls were in the cool water.

Santa Monica Beach

The water was pretty rough that day, too.

Santa Monica Beach

Kristin still had a blast. I’m not sure she went in past her ankles, though.

Santa Monica, California

This beach is just how I imagined a beach in California would be!

Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica Pier

After we splashed around, we checked out the pier. It was a pretty happening place on this early June evening.

Santa Monica Pier

I love the vibe of having the amusement park there.

Santa Monica Pier

And if you’re into Route 66, this is the end of the road.

Santa Monica Pier

We had a great time checking out the area. As we walked the pier, we realized we weren’t really hungry just yet. Jeff wondered if we had enough time to see Malibu. I thought to myself, why not? Instead of dinner, we hopped in the car. I mean, if you have time to see something new, you do it, right?

If you’re planning a trip to the Los Angeles area, I recommend adding a stop to Santa Monica, even if it’s only for a couple of hours. I’m glad this area was my first taste of the Pacific. We made some great memories!

Santa Monica, California
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  1. Oh! Fun! I would live to catch some waves in Santa Monica someday! And I really really really want to see the end of Route 66. 😍

  2. Lisa Manderino Reply

    I need to make a trip to Santa Monica Pier. It looks fun!

  3. We had plans to visit Santa Monica this June before cruising, but had to cancel. I hope to visit soon!

  4. I would love to catch some waves at Santa Monica Beach, California. What a fun place snd a great beach!

  5. I have a west coast road trip partially planned out, and Santa Monica was already on the list. I can’t wait til travel opens up again and we can go! Looking forward to the beach and the pier!

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