Are you planning to visit Santa Monica anytime soon? Yes, you can spend all your days and nights relaxing on the beach. But if you want to explore the city a bit further, this article is just right for you!
Santa Monica has the best of Southern California, including the traffic. So, if you manage to skip the rush hour, there are stunning places in and around this beachside town that are just as beautiful to visit. Take a look below to get inspired for your vacation itinerary.
1. Santa Monica Pier
If you are anywhere near Santa Monica, it would be a shame to miss the iconic Santa Monica Pier. This spot has entertained visitors and residents for over 100 years. The best time to visit would be sunset so that you can take in the spectacular views or just people watch.
You can even have a go at the Pacific Park nearby, which is an amusement park with rollercoasters, a Ferris wheel, and plenty more. You can also time your visits based on the events happening at Santa Monica Pier, as it is a known venue for music festivals.
2. Santa Monica Beach
If you want to spend more time in Santa Monica, the next solid bet would be Santa Monica State Beach. This extends over four miles and is most likely crowded most of the time. So, if you are hoping to get some work or homework done while at the beach, you might not always find the quietness you need; instead, you might want to turn to WritePaper to help with your assignments so that you can be fully committed to your vacation. What a relief!
If you are a student, you might also enjoy renting bicycles, water sports, or even playing volleyball on the beach. There are plenty of activities there for everyone, and if not, the water is also very welcoming.
3. Third Street Promenade
This well-known pedestrianized stretch in downtown Santa Monica is lined with shops and restaurants of all kinds. Unless you are into shopping, you might find this walk a bit boring. However, if you happen to visit on a Wednesday, the morning farmer’s market will be an exciting stop to make.
Santa Monica indeed has a few more attractions within its bounds, but let’s look at a few places near this town that can make for excellent day trips. Venice lies south of Santa Monica, just along the coast.
This is yet another iconic beachfront destination near LA. It has always been a resort town, and you will be able to find a more relaxed, chilled-out beach vibe, perfect for reading a book compared to Santa Monica. You can even drop at the famed Muscle Beach, preferred by bodybuilders, as thor open-air gym.
5. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area route is perfect for a scenic road trip and access to outdoor recreational activities. You will be able to see pristine views of mountains along with the Pacific Ocean.
There are several trails to explore, and if you do not want to hustle back the same day, you can even stay overnight at one of the campgrounds. There are several state parks along the way, including Topanga, Malibu Creek, and Point Mugu.
Ventura is perhaps the oldest in the region and has been home to local native culture for thousands of years, even before the Spanish settled in the late 18th century. Once you visit the place, the Spanish influence here would be pretty evident. Ventura is known for its quaint beaches, surrounding nature, and even more for its surfing conditions.
7. Santa Barbara
It will take only one and a half hours to visit Santa Barbara from Santa Monica. This famous California city is another that still retains its historical Spanish influence. The distinct colonial look of the streets and seafront is a gorgeous sight to take in.
Santa Barbara also has striking surroundings, with the Santa Ynez Mountains towering over it and the Pacific Ocean on the other side. It is an excellent spot for those who prefer beaches, mountains, or simply enjoy being outdoors. If you visit here from Santa Monica, we recommend staying for at least one day.
(Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/fL2kKfkBEQE )
8. Channel Islands National Park
If you are a naturalist, Channel Island is another excellent destination from Santa Monica. There are five islands here, each diverse with fauna and flora. In fact, the place is even designated as a unique biosphere reserve by UNESCO.
Apart from hiking, you can also snorkel, dive, or simply boat on the waters. However, since the park is protected, you need to be cautious about how you enjoy the place and behave in a sustainable way. If you are at the right time, you might even be able to see whales migrating past the islands. There are also vast caves here to explore. Bear in mind that in order to reach the islands, you will have to take a boat.
9. Santa Catalina
Santa Catalina lies to the south of Santa Monica and is another beautiful spot to explore. Although it technically falls as one of the Channel Islands, it is not a part of the National Park. You can take a ferry from Los Angeles to come here, which would be the closest way. As such, you will want to plan for one or two days away from Santa Monica.
The wildlife here is unique, but the beaches are serene and quaint. Avalon beach is known for its white sands, and you can get on a boat to explore the spectacular reefs set along the island.
If you are near Santa Monica, it is a must to visit Malibu. Although small, the city is famous for its long stretch of coastline. Since the beach here is protected, it is also one of the best in the region.
For a dose of nature, you can head to inland Malibu, where you can visit the Malibu Creek. The Malibu Lagoon beach is another favorite of both locals and tourists for surfing and swimming.
Another place near Santa Monica is entirely different to the eyes of Solvang. The place has a Nordic feel and is often called ‘California’s Denmark.’ Solvang is a part of the Santa Ynez Valley, and its heritage dates back to 1911.
The place has many Danish traces, including the style of buildings and the restaurants. You will find a few Danish bakeries and go for wine tasting tours.
12. Los Angeles
Finally, just minutes away from Santa Monica, we have the majestic city of LA. There is no way to miss out on this world-famous destination while you are in Santa Monica. Each district here is unique with its worldly inspirations and distinct attractions.
And of course, be sure to visit Hollywood, the dozens of movie studios and sets while at it.
As you can see, Santa Monica is the perfect place for you to explore Southern California. There are plenty of places to explore nearby and within the area, no matter whether you like to be indoors or outdoors.
Make sure to pack all you might need – and enjoy your trip!