Santa Monica Beach is located off the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). The beach is bordered with Venice to the South and Malibu to the North. Santa Monica Beach is mostly known for its pier. The Santa Monica Pier is loaded with carnival adventure rides at Pacific Park. A lot of the action takes place at the Santa Monica Pier. It is located at Colorado Blvd. and Ocean Ave. The park is open everyday and admission is free. You have to pay for the rides and games.
The beach boasts 3.5 miles of sandy coastline and 340 days of sunshine. There is mild surf at this beach and is only permitted south of the pier, because of the heavy crowds during the summer months. Because of the calm surf, Santa Monica Beach is a fun place for swimming as well as bodysurfing and boogie boarding. Sunbathing is probably the most popular past time here. During the summer, it is hard to find a free space on the sand to soak up the rays.
Many people like to fish off the pier. California fishing licenses are not required and if you are willing to put up with the heavy tourist traffic during most of the year, this is a great place to cast a line. Fishing rods and bait are for rent or sale at the bait shop near the ocean end of the pier.
There are rows of free public beach volleyball courts south of the pier. Courts are also located in various spots north of the pier. LA beach goers love their volleyball. It appears most of the beaches in LA provide beach volleyball courts and most of the time they are full.
The bike trail ends at Santa Monica Beach, or begins. That depends on you direction. The over 20 mile path provides a scenic ride through many of southern LA beaches. There is also designated space for rollerblading, skateboarding, running and walking on the path.
This is a fantastic place to bring family and friends for an eventful and active Day at the beach or Pacific Park. There are a lot of amenities for the kids. The pier offers an aquarium and there are even a couple playgrounds; one south of the pier and another near the boardwalk, close to Ocean Avenue. If all day adventure is not your thing, you can play it mellow and lie out all day on the sand and catch the sunset at night.
If you get bored of this beach, which is highly unlikely, you can tour the Getty Museum about 10 miles up the hill. There are also several farmers markets located through out town all through the week and usually from early morning to noon. They are usually a local hangout and a great place to grab something healthy for a beach picnic.
Paid parking is available beneath the pier. There are also several lots available north of the pier which charge about $6.00 a day. Parking for free is really hard to do unless you are willing to walk the distance. Most of the metered parking downtown ($1 per hour) has a 2 hour limit.