As the second major stop on our road trip along the Pacific Highway, we were lucky enough to send 3 days soaking up the atmosphere of both Venice Beach the archetypal, boho beach side town and the forward thinking Santa Monica. This allowed us just enough time to cram in all the sights we wished to explore. For the whole of our stay we had a car we were able to utilise, however in the end we found that best way to get around was actually by foot, as it allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the laidback vibe and get a really sense of the place.
Here are some of the key highlights of our time spent in these amazing SoCal coastal towns, and like us essential highlights to tick off on any first timers trip to the area.
Day 1 – Santa Monica Pier
We spent the first day exploring Santa Monica Pier, possibly one of the most famous piers in the world, offering entertainment for young and old, with the easily recognisable Ferris wheel standing proudly at its core. Dating back to 1908, the pier draws multitudes of people each year to experience the heady mix of food, arcade games and traditional carnival rides. At one point it was the end of America’s iconic Route 66.
Having spend the morning as over grown kids rushing from one ride to the next, we were in definite need of a slower afternoon. So with that in mind we spent the afternoon taking in the glorious sunshine, with a spot of sunbathing on the beach and toe dipping in the sea, a welcome respite from the rain and drizzle we had experienced in San Francisco. Followed by a delicious dinner at Venice Ale House, which is renowned for its local craft beers and large selection of vegan dishes and was only a 2 minutes walk from where we were staying.
Day 2 – Venice Boardwalk
If there is a place in the world where anything goes, Venice Beach is most definitely it. A boardwalk teemed with artists, snake handlers, musicians as well as an amazing selection of restaurants. We stayed at Venice Suites for the duration of our time here, which is based right on the boardwalk allowing you step right into the heart of the action.
Day 3 – Venice Canals and Abbots Kinney Boulevard
On our final day we set out to explore the Venice Canals. Built in 1905 as homage to Abbot Kinney who developed Venice Beach. They stand as a serene oasis in contrast to the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk mere steps away.
With food never far from our minds when headed on to Abbots Kinney Boulevard, with its gorgeous boutique shops and of course amazing places to eat. We finally settled on the Butcher’s Daughter, with 100% vegetarian dishes, many which were gluten free and vegan. In true Californian style I opted for the Acai bowl, which I would absolutely recommend.
Three days gone it was time to hit the road again, next stop San Diego.
Where’s next on your list to visit?