A panorama picture of the Santa Monica State Beach, with waves lapping against sandy shore

Santa Monica State Beach

Updated by Pat Dorri on February 14 2024

If you are looking for a mix of seaside relaxation and lively entertainment, then plan a visit to the vibrant shores of Santa Monica State Beach. With wide stretches of golden sand, and stunning ocean views, it is the perfect destination for sunbathing and surfing, before heading to Santa Monica Pier or city center for even more excitement.

A quick overview of Santa Monica State Beach, California
Street Address📍 800 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica 90403
Facilities at this beach

🕒 Opening hours (sunrise until sundown)

🚗 Parking ($6 to $15 per day)

🛟 Lifeguard station

🚻 Public restrooms

Where can I find Santa Monica State Beach along the Pacific Coast Highway?

Santa Monica State Beach is in the heart of Santa Monica, found on the north side of the pier and separated from the city by palisades and the Pacific Coast Highway. A short 5 minute drive takes you between the two, with parking available on the street or in the eight main lots along the length of the beach.

After a day on the beach head downtown, and you can find spots like Third Street Promenade, a popular shopping, dining, and entertainment venue.

Why we love visiting Santa Monica State Beach

If you are looking for a range of activities to enjoy during a beach visit, close to the heart of the city, then make sure to make a stop at Santa Monica State Beach, and the iconic sights that are close to this stunning beachfront.

Santa Monica State Beach stands out with its pristine shoreline, iconic pier attractions, a real mix of coastal relaxation and vibrant city sights.

[th]Feature[/th][th]Our rating[/th]
How we rate the different aspects of Santa Monica State Beach
Natural beauty and scenery⭐⭐⭐
Cleanliness and water quality⭐⭐⭐
Peace and quiet⭐⭐
Activities on offer⭐⭐⭐⭐

Santa Monica offers a blend of coastal beauty alongside rugged mountains. The palm-lined coast against the Santa Monica Mountains is an iconic sight.

Santa Monica Pier is close by, offering a memorable experience. Its vibrant atmosphere and historic charm make it a must-visit destination.

The beach's closeness to downtown means something for everyone. The blend of coastal relaxation and urban excitement is a real part of Santa Monica's appeal.

There's a huge range of outdoor activities here, including Original Muscle Beach. This spot brings in crowds who come to watch or take part in workout sessions.

The Santa Monica Pier at sunset, California, USA
Make sure to head to Santa Monica Pier for a visit packed with entertainment and excitement.
Zhukova Valentyna/Shutterstock.com

What else is there to do near Santa Monica State Beach?

After a fun-filled day visiting Santa Monica State Beach, make sure to head to some of the other nearby attractions. Take a look at our list for some of the best local places to head.

  1. Third Street Promenade - A bustling shopping and entertainment district known for its stores, restaurants and street performers.
  2. Santa Monica Pier - A historic landmark, with iconic amusement park, aquarium, and eateries, against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.
  3. Tongva Park - A modern urban oasis in the heart of Santa Monica, you can expect landscaped terraces, fountains, playgrounds, and views of the Pacific Ocean.
  4. Palisades Park - Overlooking the Pacific Coastline, this scenic stretch of green space is ideal for walking, picnicking, and enjoying sunset views.
  5. Main Street - Lined with boutiques, cafes, and art galleries, Main Street is a trendy avenue packed with places to shop and dine.
  6. Santa Monica History Museum - This museum is packed with interactive exhibits, vintage photographs, and a glimpse into the city's past.

Fancy spending even more time in Santa Monica? Then take a look at our dedicated Pacific Coast Highway Itinerary across 7 days, to see you can also get up to during a visit to Santa Monica.

Common questions about visiting Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica State Beach is open year-round, easy to access and geared up for those seeking fun at the beach. However there are some considerations if you have pets with you, or are planning to rent equipment during your visit.

Is Santa Monica State Beach accessible and open year-round?

⭕ Yes, Santa Monica State Beach it is open year-round.

❗ If you are visiting for swimming or surfing, then the warmer months from June to September are ideal to visit Santa Monica State Beach

Can I enjoy water sports at Santa Monica State Beach?

⭕ Yes, Santa Monica State Beach great for water activities like swimming, snorkelling, surfing or paddle boarding

❗ The ocean waters can be a little cold, so wetsuits are recommended for all water activities outside of summer

Is Santa Monica State Beach easily accessible for those using wheelchairs or strollers?

⭕ Yes, there are six points along Santa Monica Beach with wheelchair-accessible pathways to the water.

Is there anywhere to buy refreshments at Santa Monica State Beach?

⭕ Yes, there are plenty of food stands and vendors along Santa Monica State Beach, and refreshments at Santa Monica Pier

Are dogs allowed on Santa Monica State Beach?

❌ No, dogs are not allowed on Santa Monica State Beach, however leashed dogs are allowed on the boardwalk

Are there any changing facilities at Santa Monica State Beach?

⭕ Yes, there are showers and changing facilities dotted along Santa Monica State Beach

Are there any beach chairs or umbrellas to hire at Santa Monica State Beach?

⭕ Yes, you can hire beach chairs and umbrellas at Santa Monica State Beach. Rental rates can vary

Is there anything else to watch out for when I visit Santa Monica State Beach?

Santa Monica State Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Los Angeles, so it can get crowded during weekends and holidays. Arriving early or visiting on weekdays can offer a more relaxed experience.

If you are looking to fish, then head to Santa Monica Pier. Fishing licences are not required.

Palm-tree lined walkway along Santa Monica State Beach
Take a picturesque walk along the stretch of Santa Monica State Beach.