Family fun for all ages in Santa Monica

When planning your family-friendly vacation in California, the city of Santa Monica is the perfect home base. Beyond numerous activities and places for kids in Santa Monica, the city is also in close proximity to Los Angeles and other top Southern California destinations.

What to do in Santa Monica with family

Vacationing is a priceless way to spend time with family, and Santa Monica has many activities to ensure the experience is both memorable and fun for everyone.

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Of course, the Pacific Ocean is a main draw, and the Santa Monica State Beach is the perfect place to spend a day in the sun, surf and sand. Take a stroll down the seaside bike path to head to the historic Santa Monica Pier for one of the oldest (and most exciting) amusement parks in the country. Numerous farmers markets offer up the freshest fruits and veggies alongside entertainment, crafts and delicious snacks. Wherever you turn you’ll find countless family things to do in Santa Monica for kids of all ages.

Baby and toddler focused activities

Frolic the day away at Santa Monica’s many parks, offering fresh air and green grass for babies and playground equipment designed for toddlers.

North Beach Playground has cutting-edge sensory play features and is universally accessible with more activities for children with disabilities including increased maneuvering space, barrier-free equipment and easy-access surfaces and pathways.

Tongva Park has numerous playgrounds, each designated to specific age groups. At this modern park you can also cool off on hot summer days at the affectionately coined, Super Awesome Kids Park and Splash-pad, which caters to young toddlers and older kids alike.

Fun for grade schoolers

For a full day of fun under the sun, the Annenberg Community Beach House has it all including a sparkling marble-rimmed public swimming pool with hand-painted tile that welcomes swimmers all summer long, beach volleyball and soccer fields, stand-up paddleboards for rent, a Summer Game Room, a splash pad and a playground for the little ones.

Channel your (and your child’s) creative side at Paint:Lab, an all-ages art studio. Walk in or schedule an art class to help your little one perfect their skills. Or get the propellers spinning for your future pilots and airplane enthusiasts at the Museum of Flying, which offers aviation facts, full size planes and even an interactive flight simulator.

You can even take a cooking class together at The Gourmandise School. They offer kid classes for ages 6-11 with a parent and teen classes for your family members who are ages 12-17.

Entertaining teens and tweens

Notoriously difficult to entertain, teens and tweens have specific tastes when it comes to fun. For a great place to see, be seen and take countless selfies, Original Muscle Beach offers fitness equipment and fantastic people watching.

For more exercise, head further north to the Santa Monica stairs, an iconic wooden staircase often used for fitness, and rewarding views from the top. Your family can also get their energy out at the Trapeze School New York located near the pier. Learn to fly high on the trapeze, trampoline and even silks!

Third Street Promenade offers great shopping, yummy bites and the perfect backdrop for just hanging out and taking in the scene.

Experiences for all ages

Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier has amusement park rides for all ages, including the solar-powered Ferris Wheel, carousel, and countless games. Just outside the park you can admire the sea’s enigmatic creatures and learn about how to do your part to help the ocean at the Santa Monica Pier aquarium, Heal the Bay.

Family-friendly restaurants in Santa Monica

Santa Monica has so many places to dine from the Third Street Promenade to Main Street, with some that cater specifically to young palates and those with food allergies and intolerances. From delicious ice cream and yogurt joints to fun burger diners, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in Santa Monica is never boring. Whether you have a chicken finger connaisseur or a sushi aficionado on your hands, you’ll find somewhere for everyone to fill their bellies.

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Where to stay in Santa Monica with kids

Most of Santa Monica’s accommodations are happy to host families with kids of all ages, but there are some hotels and resorts that are truly kid-friendly. From the most splashable pools to the best ocean views, find a place to stay that will delight the whole crew.

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