It’s the end of January, blue Monday has been and gone, it’s cold and dark and most of us find ourselves dreaming of sunnier climates; thoughts drifting to the memory of the hot sun on our faces, barefoot with soft sand between our toes and a gorgeous, deep blue glittering sea. Or at least mine do. I find myself craving sunshine and the sea more than ever this Winter. I have always been more of a Summer girl and these dark months usually see me hibernating indoors with a cup of tea and a good book – I am currently re-reading all the Harry Potter books (and loving it), whilst simultaneously becoming slightly obsessed with #bookstagram accounts on Instagram!
Right now, however, I am currently wishing I was back in Santa Monica. That place absolutely stole my heart. I mean ripped it out of my chest and threw it up in the sky to explode and shimmer amidst the bright Californian sunshine. It was only a mere three months ago that I was there and since being back a few people have told me how much they love it too. It’s clearly a place that steals quite a few hearts and once you visit, it’s really not hard to see why.
Santa Monica came at the end of a jam packed eighteen day holiday to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Primarily we went to Vegas to attend Route 91 Harvest Festival and then decided to Greyhound it over to LA because Blaze hadn’t been there before. I liked this because it was a cheap option (around $10 one way) and I got to see the desert scenery as we drove (I had only just passed my driving test, which is why I didn’t hire a car to do the journey). We actually got the Greyhound to Anaheim and then 3 days and 33 hours in the Disney Parks later, we found ourselves in the back of a Lyft car on our way to Santa Monica. If I’m honest, I hadn’t read much into Santa Monica. I had been searching for places to stay in LA and a mate recommended the HI Hostel there so I booked it – mainly because it was ONE BLOCK FROM THE BEACH. Living the dream, right?
I figured Santa Monica would be the relaxing break at the end of our holiday. I hadn’t banked on arriving there, dumping our bags and then being dragged round the shops for a spot of shopping by Blaze. When they say relationships are all about compromise, this is seriously what they mean – we walked around the shops before we went to the beach even though it was so close! At least I managed to pick up a pair of comfy flip flops and a trucker hat emblazoned with ‘Vitamin Sea’ so it wasn’t all bad.
Even though it was October, the California sun was blazing and by the time we made it down to the beach, it was busy with sunbathers and families playing happily in the sea and sand. There’s just something about being by the sea, or large bodies of water, that make me feel content and calm. Of course I stood on the sand and let the waves lap over my feet but I was just as happy sitting on the sand watching the sun bounce off the sea.
We spent a few days in Santa Monica – did a four hour tour of LA and a day at Universal Studios Hollywood through Starline – but other than that we stayed near Santa Monica. I just loved the laid back atmosphere and the fresh mouthwatering food on offer. We wandered down the pier, took photos by the Route 66 sign and tried our hand at skeeball in the arcade. A few months earlier, myhttps://starlinetours.com/tours-from-santa-monica/ parents had driven down that very same pier after spending a few months driving historic Route 66. I sent them photos of us with the famous sign and they sent me photos back of them and the hire car on the pier. They also told me they visited a kiosk and got a certificate to say they’d driven Route 66 but I didn’t find the kiosk so couldn’t chat to the man who’d signed their certificate, which was a shame.
One day we got up early and hired bikes to cycle to Venice Beach along the boardwalk. This turned out to be one of my favourite things we did. Cycling the boardwalk is quicker than walking, obviously, but seemed less effort and more laid back to me. Everyone cycles or skates both ways, shouts of “on your left” as they overtake. We threw our bikes on the sand at Muscle Beach to view the famous site and watch everyone train on the different apparatus. Then later rested them against a wall as we watched the skateboarders in the skate park. I definitely could have stayed there longer than we had, I love watching skateboarders! When we arrived in Venice Beach I found it to be a bit too busy and crazy for me and instead, found myself longing to be back in the chilled atmosphere of Santa Monica.
This beachside city has permanently etched itself on my list of places I would like to go back to someday. I definitely recommend adding Santa Monica to your next California adventure; it serves as a great base if you want somewhere to chill but also be able to explore the hustle and bustle and tourist spots of nearby Los Angeles. It is also less than 10 miles from LAX, which is a bonus.
Have you been to Santa Monica? What’s your favourite Californian destination to visit?