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Santa Monica Holidays

You can channel your inner Pamela Anderson or David Hasselhoff on a Santa Monica holiday. That's because the sun n' surf TV classic Baywatch was filmed here. And what a lovely beach it is: a long stretch of golden sand with an iconic pier and Ferris Wheel backed by the glittering warm waters of the Pacific Ocean - and all just 20 minutes from downtown LA.

With the sun high overhead (it shines an average 340 days a year), there's no finer place to be than Santa Monica, California. The relaxed vibe here is the very essence of the So-Cal lifestyle and you can spend pretty much all day in your flip-flops. Boho-chic meets surfer meets Hollywood in this laid-back beachside enclave and how you while away the hours is entirely up to you.

There's some serious tanning to be done on the beach. Push your toes into the sand and let your thoughts float away as the sun's rays get to work. Or get out into the ocean and learn how to hang ten in Santa Monica's perfect 'beginner' surf. If you've got the kids along, then the sand here is pretty much perfect for making castles; or take them up to the pier, either to see what the fishermen are pulling in or to fly round the rides in the amusement park.

Behind the sand, the smooth path of the 22-mile long South Bay Bicycle Trail is the place to be to bag great views of the ocean. And if it's retail therapy that's needed, you'll want to know that first-class shopping comes as standard on Santa Monica holidays: upscale and designer along Montana Avenue; big-hitting names at Santa Monica Place; boutiques along Main Street; and retail staples at Third Street Promenade.

So cool; so kicked-back; So-Cal... so Santa Monica.

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The Pier

A landmark on this beach since 1908, the pier means different things to different people, but is a must for everyone on Santa Monica holidays. For anglers it's a place to fish; for couples a place to stroll and watch the sunset; and for holidaymakers somewhere to eat fresh seafood, buy souvenirs, play on the amusements, and ride the iconic carousel and Ferris wheel.

Santa Monica Boulevard

Hire an open-top car and cruise Santa Monica Boulevard all the way through to Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Celeb-spot along the way then stop off at iconic Sunset Strip to hit the bars and clubs. There's live music at the famous Whisky a Go-Go and Viper Room, and cool hotel bars where you can mingle with the in-crowd.

Venice Beach

Ride a bike or walk the 2.5 miles to kooky Venice Beach to see South California at its most eccentric. Watch the street performers doing their thing all along the boardwalk; peruse the stalls for temporary tattoos and a glimpse into your future; admire the six-packs on Muscle Beach; or hit trendy Abbott Kinney Avenue to hang with the hipsters.

The Aquarium

The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is run by conservationists and dedicated to preserving the local marine environment. Learn all about the creatures that live in the ocean here and get touchy-feely with star fish, crabs and sea urchins, as well as viewing over a hundred other marine animals and plants.

Third Street Promenade

Three blocks' worth of quality shops, restaurants, bars and cinemas are what you'll find at this pedestrian-only open-air mall. All this comes amid carefully landscaped spaces complete with street performers and bands to entertain the passers-by. It's the perfect place to shop and eat on Santa Monica holidays.

Our Top Hotels in Santa Monica


Wyndham Santa Monica - At The Pier


Located right across from the Pacific Park Ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier, our newly-renovated hotel is an inviting destination for your Southern California getaways.

Find out more about this hotel >>

Le Meridien

Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica


Just four blocks from the beach and a 15-minute walk from downtown Santa Monica, this sunny California getaway provides all the comforts of home in a warm, coastal setting.

Find out more about this hotel >>

Doubletree Suites by Hilton Santa Monica

Doubletree Suites by Hilton Santa Monica


This hotel offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean in an unbeatable location with easy access to Southern California's most popular destinations like Rodeo Drive.

Find out more about this hotel >>

Half Day Tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beach  
Try something different and see the sites of Santa Monica, Venice Beach and Marina Del Rey from the open-air Electric Cadillac Escalade Limo. On this 3-hour tour you'll be able to enjoy the ride in comfort and will have a chance to stop at the Marina Del Rey for shopping or dine at the waterside restaurants, from £38pp.

Santa Monica Private Surf Lesson  
Why not learn how to ride the waves at the famous Santa Monica Beach? Under the guidance of professional instructors you'll be able to learn the basics or improve your existing surfing techniques. The lessons last between 1.5 or 2 hours and run all year round. You don't need to carry all the equipment because surf boards and wetsuits are included in the price, from £95pp.

Pacific Park® on the Santa Monica Pier  
There's nothing better than a fun day in sunny California. Visit the Pacific Park® located on the Santa Monica Pier, one of the top attractions in Southern California. You'll be able to ride the famous solar-powered Ferris wheel and try other park rides, games, and dine in various outlets. Ticket includes unlimited non-attraction rides and starts from £26pp. Excludes Rockwall, Eurobungy and the Gyro Loop.


Time Difference:
GMT- 8 hours

Closest Airport:
Los Angeles International Airport (approx. 11 hours)

Airport transfers:
Roundtrip to North Hollywood starts from only £36 per person. Roundtrip to Long beach starts from only £40 per person.

Getting around:
With so many sights spread across a vast urban landscape the best way to see LA is the way the locals do, behind the wheel. Car hire is available from £25 per day.

Insider Tip:
If you fancy yourself a chess master, then head along to Chess Park, about 150 metres south of Santa Monica Pier. Here you’ll be challenged by competitive locals who generally rate no less than a B Minus in standard chess. If you’d rather just watch a match, that’s fine too.

You’re going to need an ESTA:
For anyone travelling to the USA, the US authorities have imposed a requirement for passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), to register for Electronic Travel Authority. Just fill in the online application form which you can find at You will need to apply for entry via ESTA at least a minimum of 72 hours prior to travel.

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