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Santa Monica State Parks on the Beach - Guide to Santa Monica State Beach

Santa Monica State Beach in Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica State Beach in Santa Monica, California (in Los Angeles County)

This beach is two miles long, has a picnic area, shops and pier. Visitor activities include volleyball, basketball and a running strip along the beach.

Sunset in Santa Monica State Beach in Santa Monica, California

Sunset at Santa Monica Beach in Santa Monica, California (in Los Angeles County)

At the foot of Colorado Avenue, through the famous arch and sign, lies the historic Santa Monica Pier, which dates from 1909. The pier has a National Historic Landmark -– the 1922 Looff Hippodrome Carousel.

Muscle Beach lies immediately south of the volleyball courts and contains athletic apparatus. Recently restored and refurbished, the area features chinning bars at various heights, parallel bars, rings, small jungle gyms for children and a padded-safe gymnastics area.

A few steps south of the Pier volleyball courts is the International Chess Park. The public chess tables—and a human-scale chessboard set into the sidewalk—draw a wide assortment of players.

Palisades Park is located atop Santa Monica’s famed sandstone cliffs, providing a vantage point to see the sweep of Santa Monica Beach and the Pacific Ocean.
Arlington West.

The beach is the one Baywatch was filmed at and also the beach the album art for Umbrella Beach by Owl City features.

Life Guard station Santa Monica State Beach used in Baywatch Filming in Santa Monica, California

Lifeguard tower in Santa Monica Beach used to film Baywatch with Pamala Anderson and David Hasselhoff

Santa Monica State Beach Trail including Redondo, Manhattan, Dockweiler, and Santa Monica

Santa Monica Bay Trail Map

Santa Monica Bay Trail Map

Distance: 20 miles one way

Fringed by palm trees, with the Santa Monica Mountains as dramatic backdrop, the wide sandy beaches along Santa Monica Bay draw visitors from around the world. Locals tend to get a bit blasé about this beauty in their backyard, and often fail to take advantage of what is, in my opinion, one of the world's great beach walks.

Favorite bay walks enjoyed by tourists include Venice Beach and the Venice Boardwalk, the Santa Monica Pier and Palisades Park in Santa Monica. The long and quite wide state beaches-Redondo, Manhattan, Dockweiler and Santa Monica-are interspersed with a number of municipal beaches and lagoons. For a really ambitious beach walk or weekend hiking holiday, I'd suggest a walk around the entire bay.

Such a walk will surely be a very long day-or a weekend-to remember. You'll get a real feel for the bay, not only as a collection of beaches and seashore sights, but as a living, dynamic ecosystem whose health and wellbeing depends heavily on government and citizen action.

Geographically, Santa Monica Bay is a mellow intrusion by the Pacific Ocean into the western edge of the Los Angeles lowlands. The bay's magnificent curving beaches are cooled by a prevailing ocean breeze, which protects the coast from the temperature extremes-and smog-that are characteristic of the interior.

Alas, all views along Santa Monica Bay are not picture-perfect; huge smokestacks from power plants tower over some South Bay beaches, while jets departing LAX fly low and loud over others. And the bay has its share of well-documented environmental problems, too. Sewers and storm drains empty into the bay. Organizations such as Heal the Bay have undertaken the Herculean task of educating the public and public officials that the bay is not merely a series of sand strands, but a complex ecosystem.

Pick a brisk fall or winter weekend to walk the bay and you'll be surprised at how much shoreline solitude you'll enjoy. It's possible to walk the bay from Torrance to the Santa Monica Pier in a very long day, but the 20 mile beach hike is more comfortably completed in two days.

If bay walking agrees with you, consider walking the rest of the bay-another 20 miles from the Santa Monica Pier to Pt. Dume.

You can arrange a car shuttle or use the bus system to return to your day's start point. Better yet, leave a bicycle at the end of your walk and cycle back to the trailhead along the South Bay Bicycle Path. Super-jocks will relish the challenge of what I call the Triathlon Trail: Walk the 20 miles from Torrance County Beach to the Santa Monica Pier, cycle the South Bay Bicycle Path, then take a long refreshing swim.

Other attactions in Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica Pier — Pier located on Santa Monica Beach
Muscle Beach — Portion of Santa Monica Beach south of the pier that was the site of gymnastics exhibitions and bodybuilding where Frm Governer Arnold Schwarzenegger started his carrer as a famous body builder.
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium — Aquarium on the pier operated by Heal the Bay, and formerly known as the Ocean Discovery Center
Pacific Park — the amusement park portion of the pier
Hot Dog on a Stick — original, opened in 1946, found on the sidewalk just south of the pier in front the original Muscle Beach
Santa Monica bicycle path — path that runs though a bicycle-only underpass under the pier

Location of Santa Monica State Beach

The Santa Monica State Beach is located at 34°0'54"N 118°30'6"W. The Santa Monica State Beach address is 1200-1234 Ocean Front Walk
Santa Monica, CA 90403. Santa Monica State Beach can be contacted at 818-880-0363.

Here is a driving map to Santa Monica State Beach.

View Larger Map

Here is a detailed list of other state beaches of California besides Santa Monica State Beach.

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