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Santa Monica Beach

Vacation Travel Guide
Santa Monica Beach showing general coastal views, a beach and a sunset

Located just west of downtown Los Angeles, this iconic southern California beach is a haven for swimmers, surfers, beachcombers and fitness enthusiasts. 

Get the iconic southern California sun-and-surf experience at Santa Monica Beach. Discover a sandy stretch of oceanfront delights close to one of the nation’s biggest cities.

At 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers) long, Santa Monica Beach is one of the area’s largest beaches. Stroll down its length and claim a portion of its soft sand. Swim in the clear Pacific Ocean or take advantage of the prime surfing conditions.

Explore the iconic Santa Monica Pier, located in the center of the beach and hosting an amusement park, aquarium and a variety of restaurants. Play arcade games in Pacific Park or enjoy the view from atop the Ferris wheel. Take a spin on the historic carousel and learn about the ocean around you in the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Try fishing at the end of the pier.

South of the pier the beach joins the city, which contributes to its bustling atmosphere. Check out the original Muscle Beach, popularly known as the birthplace of America’s fitness boom in the 20th century. Gymnastics equipment is still abundant on the beach. Observe or participate in a chess game in the International Chess Park. Sample the restaurants and browse the shops lining the beach.

North of the pier, Santa Monica Beach meets the soaring palisades. The ocean bluff, coupled with the bordering Pacific Coast Highway, give this section of the beach a more remote atmosphere. Spread out your beach towel and soak up the sun or start a friendly game of beach volleyball.

Santa Monica Beach is accessible by public transportation via light rail or bus. Alternatively, drive here and park in one of the more than eight main parking lots located along the length of the beach. On-street parking is also available.

Head just 16 miles (25 kilometers) west of downtown Los Angeles to take advantage of southern California’s famous weather. Visit Santa Monica Beach throughout the year. Although the weather gets chillier in winter, temperatures never dip below freezing. In summer, the days are long and warm. Come prepared with sunglasses and sandals to enjoy the sand in any season.

Top things to do in Santa Monica Beach

Top Hotels Close to Santa Monica Beach

The Huntley Hotel
The Huntley Hotel
4.5 out of 5
1111 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $278 per night from Aug 29 to Aug 29
This family-friendly Santa Monica hotel is located near the airport, within 1 mi (2 km) of Santa Monica Beach and Santa Monica Pier. Venice Beach and Abbot Kinney ...
4.3/5Excellent! (959 reviews)
"Beautiful large room with amazing ocean views"

Reviewed on Jul 29, 2021

The Huntley Hotel
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
5 out of 5
1700 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $395 per night from Aug 17 to Aug 17
Located in Downtown Santa Monica, this beachfront hotel is on the boardwalk and within a 5-minute walk of Original Muscle Beach and Santa Monica Beach. Santa ...
4.3/5Excellent! (964 reviews)
"The staff was very nice and accommodating. The room with the fire pit was awesome! Only thing I would have liked would have been a coffee machine as well as a fridge in the room."

Reviewed on Aug 1, 2021

Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites
Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites
3.5 out of 5
1707 4th St, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $309 per night from Aug 8 to Aug 8
Located in Downtown Santa Monica, this beach hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Main Street Santa Monica, Third Street Promenade, and Santa Monica Beach. Santa ...
4/5Very Good! (974 reviews)
"Nice hotel, good place to stay. About a 0.5 mile walk to the beach, which is OK but not ideal with small children"

Reviewed on Aug 1, 2021

Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Santa Monica Beach

Hotel Carmel
Hotel Carmel
3 out of 5
201 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $199 per night from Aug 8 to Aug 8
Hotel Carmel
The Huntley Hotel
The Huntley Hotel
4.5 out of 5
1111 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $278 per night from Aug 29 to Aug 29
The Huntley Hotel
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
5 out of 5
1700 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $395 per night from Aug 17 to Aug 17
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites
Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites
3.5 out of 5
1707 4th St, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $309 per night from Aug 8 to Aug 8
Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites
Shore Hotel
Shore Hotel
4 out of 5
1515 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $287 per night from Sep 1 to Sep 1
Shore Hotel
Fairmont Miramar Hotel
Fairmont Miramar Hotel
5 out of 5
101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $476 per night from Aug 8 to Aug 8
Fairmont Miramar Hotel
Ocean View Hotel
Ocean View Hotel
3 out of 5
1447 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $237 per night from Aug 9 to Aug 9
Ocean View Hotel
Georgian Hotel
Georgian Hotel
4 out of 5
1415 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $339 per night from Aug 31 to Aug 31
Georgian Hotel
Hotel Shangri La Santa Monica
Hotel Shangri La Santa Monica
4 out of 5
1301 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $397 per night from Aug 24 to Aug 24
Hotel Shangri La Santa Monica
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.