Santa Monica with two kids in two days
Santa Monica is one of my favorite California surf towns, and it proved to be wonderful for kids too! We had two days here, and had a fantastic time. Here are our top picks for visiting here with the kids:
Pacific Park. This is the amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier. It’s free to enter, you just pay per ride. Our girls were too small for the rides (many rides have a 36″ height requirement), except the carousel, which is always a hit and open to all ages. There are also food stands, carnival games, and the sunset to watch! Plus, it’s open 365 days a year so you’ll never have to worry about missing out.
Santa Monica Pier. As stated, it has Pacific Park on it, but also some great views of the coastline, surfers, and it has an aquarium! There is parking available here, but (of course) came with plenty of traffic. We were able to walk from the Shore Hotel and did not deal with parking/traffic.
Santa Monica Beach. An obvious must-do, but just make sure you spend the time to run around and enjoy the huge, open beach. Sunset is an incredible time to come, so go get your feet wet and play in the sand until it’s dark! There’s plenty of restaurants nearby so it’s easy to grab dinner somewhere nearby. Big Dean’s had a fenced-in astroturf yard where the girls played while we waited for our food.
Rent a bike. Chris rented a bike and took Adele up & down the extra wide sidewalk for an hour, for only $20! There is a playground next door to entertain any kids/adults who don’t want to participate.
Shore Hotel – Stay here, right in the middle of the action. We scored this awesome hotel as a Priceline Exclusive Deal and enjoyed every minute! Originally, $419 a night, we got it for $250! It’s literally right across the street from the Santa Monica Pier, has valet parking, and complimentary fresh green apples on the front desk. That is, if Olivia didn’t eat them all! We would definitely stay here again.
Third Street Promenade. Walkable from the hotel, this first class outdoor shopping mall has something for everyone. Plenty of stores, restaurants, a food court, and a movie theater – You can easily stay busy all day long here! We left the cameras at the hotel the night we came here, so no photos of this part of the adventure.
Rodeo Drive. From the hotel, only a 20 minute drive without traffic, this iconic street is a must see! We visited on Christmas Day (hence no traffic and only a 20 minute drive) and enjoyed window shopping and the empty sidewalks since all stores were closed. Splurge and have lunch at 208 Rodeo Restaurant and sit outside in the warm California sunshine!
Urth Caffe. Best breakfast in America! Ok, that’s just my opinion, but they definitely have a multigrain waffle that can’t be beat! It’s right in the middle of an adorable shopping street just a block from the ocean, and also walkable from the hotel.
Muscle Beach. Whether you come to workout, let the kids play, or just people watch, you will definitely be entertained. It’s easy to hang out here since it’s right on the beach and directly south of the pier.
Breakdown of cost in Santa Monica:
Shore hotel: $250 x 2 nights, $137 in taxes & parking: $637
Lunch at 208 Rodeo: $95
Pacific Park: $7 carousel, $3 carnival game, $2 for Minnie picture: $12
Diapers & groceries: $30
Bike rental & parking: $22
Two-Day Total: $1,038