Santa Monica State Beach
Map showing the location of Santa Monica State Beach
Map showing the location of Santa Monica State Beach
Map showing the location of Santa Monica State Beach
Map showing the location of Santa Monica State Beach
LocationLos Angeles County, California
Nearest citySanta Monica
Coordinates34°0′54″N 118°30′6″W / 34.01500°N 118.50167°W / 34.01500; -118.50167
Governing bodyCalifornia Department of Parks and Recreation
Santa Monica Pier, Route 66 Sign

Santa Monica State Beach is a California State Park operated by the city of Santa Monica.[1][2]

The beach is located along Pacific Coast Highway. It is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) long and has parks, picnic areas, playgrounds, restrooms, as well as staffed lifeguard stations, the Muscle Beach, bike rentals, concessions, a few hotels, a bike path, and wooden pathways for beachgoers with disabilities.[3] Visitor activities include volleyball, surfing, stand up paddleboarding, and swimming.[1] Smoking at the beach is prohibited.[4]


Sunset at Santa Monica Beach
Palms on the beach

At the foot of Colorado Avenue lies the Santa Monica Pier, which dates from 1909. The pier has a National Historic Landmark -– the 1922 Looff Hippodrome Carousel.[3]

Just south of the pier volleyball courts is International Chess Park with public chess tables and a human-scale chessboard set into the sidewalk.[3]

Palisades Park is located atop Santa Monica's cliffs, providing a vantage point to see the Santa Monica Beach and the Pacific Ocean.[5]

The beach is the one featured in the album art for Umbrella Beach by Owl City.

The beach will host beach volleyball and surfing during the 2028 Summer Olympics.[6]


Snowy Plovers nest on the beach.[7][8][9]

In November, 2023, the city announced a plan to restore an additional 5-acre section (2.0 ha) of beach north of the pier into a native coastal strand habitat.[10]

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has developed a safe eating advisory for fish caught in the Santa Monica Beach based on levels of mercury or PCBs found in local species.[11]

"Ink Well"

"Ink Well" redirects here. For other uses, see Inkwell.

A section of the beach was referred to as "Ink Well" and "Negro Beach" in the early 20th century when it was one of the few areas in California where African Americans were allowed to enjoy beach access in a largely segregated society.[12][13] Other areas for blacks were Bruce's Beach in Manhattan Beach and the Pacific Beach Club in Orange County. Nick Gabaldon, one of the first black surfers in California, lived in Santa Monica, and used the 200 foot roped off stretch of beach demarcated for blacks. He died after crashing into the Malibu Pier.[14]

Arlington West

Arlington West

Arlington West was a temporary memorial created on Santa Monica Beach just north of the Santa Monica Pier at Santa Monica, every Sunday from sunrise to sunset. Crosses are placed on the beach for each U.S. military person who has died in the Iraq War. The number of crosses erected every Sunday now exceeds 4,000. For military personnel killed within the week past, flag draped coffins with blue crosses are positioned in front. The Arlington West Memorial, a project of Veterans For Peace, is intended to offer visitors a graceful, visually and emotionally powerful, place for reflection.[15]

The Santa Monica Ferris Wheel.

Gallery of images

See also


  1. ^ a b "California State Parks: Santa Monica State Beach". Archived from the original on February 22, 2008.
  2. ^ "City of Santa Monica official beach web site". Archived from the original on October 2, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Santa Monica Beach". Archived from the original on May 9, 2008.
  4. ^ "Santa Monica Beach and Bike Path Rules". Archived from the original on October 2, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  5. ^ " Santa Monica State Beach". Archived from the original on April 5, 2008.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on October 12, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2018.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Sahagun, Louis (May 9, 2017). "Rare birds find Southern California beach housing". LA Times. Archived from the original on August 27, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  8. ^ Borrell, Brendan (August 1, 2018). "Are We Grooming Beaches to Death?". Hakai Magazine. Retrieved April 30, 2020 – via Smithsonian Magazine.
  9. ^ Bird, Hannah (June 23, 2023). "Coastal erosion could be reduced by dune restoration projects". Retrieved June 24, 2023.
  10. ^ "5-Acres Of Santa Monica Strand To Be Restored". Santa Monica, CA Patch. November 9, 2023. Retrieved November 10, 2023.
  11. ^ Admin, OEHHA (December 30, 2014). "Santa Monica Beach south of Santa Monica Pier to Seal Beach Pier". OEHHA. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  12. ^ "Ocean Park Neighborhood Beach: The Significance of the "Inkwell" in Jim Crow-Era Southern California". The Cultural Landscape Foundation. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  13. ^ "The Bay Street Beach". Santa Monica Conservancy. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  14. ^ Alam, Adnan (July 11, 2022). "Nick Gabaldón, a pioneer for Black surfers, is honored for inspiring others". Cronkite News. Retrieved November 10, 2023.
  15. ^ "Arlington West Memorial Santa Monica". Veterans for Peace. Archived from the original on October 12, 2006.