Plan Your Perfect Beach Day in Santa Monica

Annenberg Community Beach House
Annenberg Community Beach House

Sun and surf make your afternoon complete with a day at Santa Monica beach. Kicking your toes in the sand is definitely cool way to experience the vibe and creativity of Los Angeles!

—adapted from 4 Perfect L.A. Days by Lesley McKenzie in Where Los Angeles magazine

Break bread at Huckleberry Bakery & Café, Santa Monica’s go-to spot for artisan breads, sandwiches, soups and salads from husband-and-wife team Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan—the couple also behind nearby Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen.

After you’ve fueled up on espresso from Caffe Luxxe roasters and signature dishes like green eggs and ham, head to the Annenberg Community Beach House, a public facility built on five acres of prime oceanfront Santa Monica State Beach real estate, and boasting amenities including a pool, splash pad and rec room. Both pool and a limited number of parking reservations can be made in advance, and walk-in tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, starting at 9:30 a.m. daily. Thanks to a nearby beach bike path, guests can arrive on two wheels, available for rental through Santa Monica Beach Bicycle Rentals, which will deliver your bike free of charge directly to your hotel or place of residence.

Spend the day splashing around in the pool, mastering the art of stand-up paddling or perfecting your beach tennis or volleyball serve with complimentary equipment available at Guest Services per availability, or through on-site rental, including other beach essentials such as chairs and umbrellas.

And after you’ve worked up an appetite, dig in to healthful fare such as kale and grilled peach salad or a salmon burger courtesy of the nearby Back on the Beach Café, which offers alfresco dining in the sand, or takeout options to enjoy back at the Beach House.

For a dose of culture, check the Beach House’s regular programming options, including the free Beach=Culture series with readings, lectures and concerts, which typically take place on Tuesdays throughout the summer (reservations recommended).

As the day closes, head to the Santa Monica Pier to watch the sun set from the outdoor patio of the seafood-centric The Albright. Then, take a ride on Pacific Park‘s Ferris wheel, overlooking the pier and glittering cityscape beyond.

Side Trip

Kayaking, Paddle Boarding, Parasailing and more in Marina del Rey
Get out on the water with Marina del Rey Boat Rentals, whose single- and two-person kayaks and stand-up paddleboards let adventurers get close to the abundant wildlife in the harbor and beyond, for a reasonable hourly rate. The company also rents sailboats, power boats, Jet Skis and party-perfect Duffy electric boats. Sister outfitter Marina del Rey Parasailing offers parasailing packages for those looking for an airborne thrill.



Sign up for FREE to receive our exclusive Weekend Roundup!

Get the best things to do in our favorite SoCal spots delivered to your inbox every week

Los Angeles

Orange County

San Diego