Kids’ faces light up big time when they see the Santa Monica Pier , with its Pacific Park amusement rides zooming and twirling in the sun.
Who can blame them? Soaring into the sky on the pier’s solar-powered Ferris wheel, with endless views across the Pacific and the waves crashing below—even Grinch would smile wide. Add fresh seafood at open-air eateries, ice-cream sundaes , locals fishing off the pier, and colorful stands selling trinkets and souvenirs, and you can see why this place hops with visitors.
The rest of Santa Monica’s beach scene beckons, with the three-mile-long stretch of sand buzzing with cyclists, skaters, body builders, and families. Surf lessons, bike rentals, beach volleyball—it’s all right here. South of the pier, your kids will also like checking out the cluster of gymnastics equipment at Muscle Beach. Yes, hard-body adults do use the hanging rings and climbing ropes as no-joke workout tools, but kids can muck around on them without any angry glares. And it’s a good way to keep them busy when you want to sit back and soak in the sun.