BEACHES & BODY-BUILDERS
You’ll be making the most of the SoCal sunshine today and escaping the city for the seaside, upping sticks for upscale but laidback SANTA MONICA. Greater Los Angeles has nearly 75 miles of coastline to its name, and the stretch at Santa Monica, west of Downtown LA, is one of the finest. The state beach here combines a wide sweep of soft golden sand with the old-fashioned fun of SANTA MONICA PIER, where your kids can try skeeball, air hockey and other classic arcade games, or ride the rollercoasters at the pier’s Pacific Park [open daily in summer from 11am to 11pm, till 12.30am on Fridays and Saturdays | rides cost from $5 each; unlimited rides $34.95, under-8s $18.95]; the pier is buzzing in the evening, when the Ferris wheel and other rides are all lit up.
If you can drag yourself away from Santa Monica Beach, rent a tandem bike or two for the afternoon and peddle between the palm trees on the snaking cycle path that wends down to VENICE BEACH. Hipster Venice has a more alternative vibe than Santa Monica, and you’ll pass street artists and buskers as you ride along VENICE BOARDWALK, which runs just behind the beach. There’s more great people-watching to be had at Venice Skate Park and the nearby basketball courts, whilst MUSCLE BEACH is worth a quick stop to see the assorted beefcakes that spend their days pumping iron here in the hope of emulating one-time regular Arnold Schwarzenegger.
WHERE TO STAY
THE LIJOMA LOWDOWN
Delve deeper with our tips on what to read and watch before you go, foods and drinks your kids must try, and some key cultural advice
From beachfront hotels to Downtown B&Bs – our pick of the most memorable places for families to stay in California
NEED TO KNOW
A handy overview of California’s weather and climate throughout the year, with recommendations for the best time to visit
Pre-trip practicalities, including getting there, visas and passports, health and safety, and how to get around
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