This summer there’s nothing more in than access to wide open spaces outdoors. With 3.5 miles of glistening coastline and 280 days of sunshine to match, Santa Monica offers an abundance of outdoor spaces that create the perfect backdrop for a day of fresh air and sea breezes.
Better yet, there’s no need for a car to get around our beachside city. A walkable 8.3 square-miles, Santa Monica also has more than 100 miles of bike lanes, making it easy to explore the compact urban landscape on foot or by bike.
Read on for a list of our favorite ways to enjoy Santa Monica’s outdoor spaces.
Sink into the Sand at Santa Monica State Beach
The best part of Santa Monica is the beach! Our stretch of beach is 3.5-miles in length, providing ample space for outdoor fun. Los Angeles County beaches, including our own, are open for the following activities:
- Individual or family ocean activities (such as surfing, swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding and body surfing)
- Individual or family active recreation & exercise (such as walking, running and using the beach bike path)
- Sunbathing, sitting and lying on sand
- Chairs, canopies or coolers
Insider’s tip: the area of the beach closest to the Santa Monica Pier tends to see the most visitors. If you’re looking for some space head north past the Annenberg Community Beach House. This stretch of the beach generally receives less visitors.
Paddle out into the Pacific Ocean
Take a refreshing dip in the Pacific Ocean to soak your worries away. With a gentle year-round break, Santa Monica is the perfect destination for beginning surfers and also provides friendly ocean access for standup paddleboarders and kayakers.
Virginia Avenue Park
One of Santa Monica’s largest parks is Virginia Avenue Park. Located along Pico Boulevard, a vibrant corridor with locally-owned shops and restaurants, this 9.5-acre space offers a large lawn area with a walking path.
Off the beaten path in Santa Monica’s Ocean Park neighborhood is another large outdoor space. Airport Park offers 4-acres of outdoor spaces including an off-leash dog area, walking loop and picnic tables.
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Just outside the city-limits of Santa Monica find a plethora of hiking trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. With more than 500-miles of trails space abounds in this stunning natural area. Get a different perspective on Santa Monica as you climb to vistas that offer uninterrupted views of our beaches and landmarks, including the Santa Monica Pier.
Night Sky Show
Santa Monica College has launched a free, live online Virtual Night Sky Show program to showcase the stars. Presented on Zoom, an access link will appear each week under the “Planetarium Now” heading each Thursday. The Night Sky programs will last roughly 30 minutes, followed by a short question and answer period where guests can type questions into a chat box and we will answer as many questions as possible. A short intermission will begin at approximately 7:50pm prior to the start of the feature program at 8:00pm. These formats should be expected to evolve as we gain experience in this new environment. Find full details here.
Unique Beach Activities
- Marvin Braude Beach Trail: Hop on a bike and cycle along the world’s longest oceanfront bike path (22-miles), spanning Santa Monica, Venice, Hermosa, Redondo Beach and Torrance.
- Perry’s Cafe and Beach Rentals: Enjoy Santa Monica’s world-famous beach with a private butler who will prepare for your arrival with a beach chair, table and umbrella while providing beverages and food.
- Segway Los Angeles: Cruise through Santa Monica and Venice Beach with a guided Segway tour along the coast.
- Trapeze School New York: With trapeze and aerial arts classes, guests can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience while taking in the beautiful sights of the Pacific Ocean.
Arts & Culture
- Architectural Walking Tours: History buffs can discover Santa Monica’s architectural gems and culture through a self-guided walking tour curated by the Santa Monica Conservancy.
- Cayton Creators’ Outdoor Community Program: Free outdoor pop-up programs at Santa Monica Place every Wednesday and Saturday from 10am to noon, including activities designed around social distancing and focused around visual art, performance art, communal artmaking and play. Programming has been curated for children ages 3-8 and their families. Pre-registration is required.
- Street Art Walking Tour: Santa Monica is home to more than 130+ street art murals; one of the best ways to discover them is through a self-guided tour using our online guide.
- Farmers Markets: Named by Travel + Leisure as the best farmers market in the county, Santa Monica’s markets attract local residents and chefs with the fresh produce, flowers, meats and cheeses. Markets are held Wednesdays & Saturdays at Arizona Ave/2nd St, Saturdays at Virginia Ave Park, and Sundays on Main St (starting 8/23); click here for full schedule.
- Malibu Discovery Wine Tours: Get the wine flowing with a scenic and private tour of the local wine region, encompassing the Santa Monica mountains and Malibu Wine Country; offers pickup/drop-off from all Santa Monica hotels.
Fitness & Wellness
- Basecamp Fitness: Cardio and strength training outdoor classes
- Beach Yoga SoCal: Beach yoga classes for all levels and ages
- Bodyfit Training Santa Monica: Strength and conditioning outdoor classes
- Box ‘N Burn: Boxing and workout outdoor classes for all levels
- Burn Fitness: Rooftop gym with cycling and group fitness programs
- Coreology: High intensity, low impact Pilates based outdoor training classes
- OPEX Santa Monica: Individualized and small group outdoor personal training classes
- Pilatesmith: Reformer Pilates classes at the outdoor studio and Mat Pilates classes in local parks
- Santa Monica Yoga: Yoga classes at Clover Park
- Row House: Full-body outdoor rowing workout classes
- Sonki Fitness: Outdoor fitness bootcamp program based on West Point & US Army training
- Soul Cycle: Cycling classes on the rooftop deck of Santa Monica Place
- The Ballet Spot: Beach cardio ballet classes at Dorothy Green Park
- Tribe Pilates: Mat Pilates classes at Palisades Park and Reformer Pilates classes at the studio’s parking lot
If now is not the right time for you and your loved ones to visit Santa Monica there are still ways to enjoy our beachside city virtually.
Catch a view of our world-famous sunsets and the Santa Monica Pier from the comfort of your living room with the live Santa Monica Beach Cam. Count seagulls, watch sunset in real time and listen to the sounds of the Pacific Ocean crash against our sand for a little indoor zen.
Add a taste of our beach lifestyle to your next video call with our gallery of images that will make for the perfect Zoom background. Feel the peace of the ocean or soak up the colors of Santa Monica street art.
- Santa Monica Pier Aerial
- Santa Monica Pier Sign
- Street Art – Corner of Love by Ruben Rojas
- Street Art Inspire – Inspire by Marcel “SEL” Blanco