The best part about the ocean, the gulf, and even the Great Lakes – when you look out at the water you can’t see the other side. They’re so expansive that they put things in perspective. And while gazing at these great bodies of water, I’ve always thought I can do anything or be anything, it’s inspiring – have you ever felt this way?
And while the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan stretch for what looks like forever, the sandy beach doesn’t always extend the same way – high tides, beach grass, surf and souvenir shops all take over – But not in Santa Monica, California. And there’s more to its beauty than just that.
Imagine stepping out of your hotel and seeing a beach so deep you had time to take in your surroundings as you walked toward the deep-blue Pacific. That first morning of our trip there we left out the back door of our room and our toes sunk immediately into the sand, and there was plenty more beach to go.
Now imagine… this beach boasts some of the prettiest sand and water we’ve seen, but it’s also nestled among another major type of scenery – and it feels like you’re in a bubble, a beachy snowglobe that would take the prized position on any shelf.
Because the beaches in Santa Monica aren’t just about unrestrained beach and shimmering water – they’re surrounded by mountains. It’s unfettered beauty everywhere you turn! The beach, the ocean, the mountains, the pier (we’ll get to that in a minute) – Where to look first?! It’s a good problem to have!
To be in a place where you can lay-out and simply soak up the sun, go for a swim, and hike all in one day makes you wonder why you’d ever want to be anywhere else.
But nature isn’t the only thing Santa Monica has going for it, here’s a list of just a few other attractions we love:
- The Santa Monica Pier:
Sure, you know the typical beach town pier – A nice walk out gives you a serene feeling as you’re out among the water, and a glance back to shore provides a picture perfect shot of the beach’s “skyline”. But the Santa Monica Pier isn’t just a pier with a view… It’s a world in itself.
- The Playland Arcade features both retro and modern games. We played round after round of Tekken (to Peter’s dismay I reigned as champion every time), but he came back and kicked my butt at Mario Kart Arcade.
- Pacific Park boasts 12 thrill rides all on one pier! Our favorites – the Pacific Wheel and the West Coaster – the views as we soared above the water and the town were incredible!
- Arts and Crafts on the Pier sold by locals – We bought the most incredible wood-carved surfboard with an adventurous (and dream) VW van on it.
- A wide variety of eats with everything from Beach Burger to Pacific Wheel Pizza to The Albright (our choice) which served up some delicious seafood baskets.
So it’s not just the beach that makes Santa Monica so great, the city itself is a wonder – a place that can embody a big city while keeping the feel of a small seaside town – and it makes for a perfect combination.
- Third Street Promenade:
So we head off the beach and into downtown to the Third Street Promenade – a shopping and dining district closed off to cars so you’re free to walk around as you please. Who doesn’t love to shop while traveling? When you buy something on a trip, anytime you wear it, use it, or look at it at home, it takes you back to that place… Which is something we personally thrive on to keep us going.
Shopping ranges from clothing to electronics to jewelry and even pets (you know they deserve a souvenir!)
Choices for food take you all around the world with everything from Asian to Italian to Greek to Indian to French, and of course, vegetarian.
And, we didn’t have the chance to check it out, but downtown Santa Monica has so much more to offer too, including art galleries, theaters and farmers markets.
So we’ll leave you with this – Santa Monica is a city that combines the great Pacific Ocean with mountains, a view you can see while experiencing classic arcade games and carnival rides, and then you can step into a chic downtown – What more could you want, right?
Think happy adventure thoughts, until we can travel again!
-Karleigh & Peter