Bucketlist Travels logo

Travel bucket list idea:

Santa Monica Pier & Beach [surfing & cycling]

  • Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)

Last updated: 22 April, 2024

This old-school amusement park features a rollercoaster, an old-fashioned 1922 carousel, carnival games, an aquarium, a trapeze school and that famous 85ft ferris wheel. Yes, it’s a tourist trap, but this Santa Monica icon is a must-do if you’ve got kids in tow.

The bustling, charismatic Santa Monica Beach has diversions for all ages, from surf shacks to beach volleyball courts, along a two-mile stretch of golden sand backed by shops, restaurants and bars. With mild surf, it’s a great place to swim – and to try some surfing.

While you’re there

Hire a bike at Blazing Saddles on the pier and cycle along the footpath at the back of the beach.

Or why not try surfing? Learn to Surf LA offers year-round lessons (usually 1 hour 45 minutes) for all ages and abilities, at three LA beaches – including Santa Monica Beach.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

When to do it

The pier is open daily, 24/7. The amusement park is open daily; times vary by season but generally from 12pm-7pm (until around 12am Fridays and Saturday). Friday or Saturday night is best to ensure all the attractions are open.

If you can, time it for a Wednesday or Saturday morning/early afternoon, so that you can pop into the Arizona Avenue farmers’ market for gourmet eats and first-rate fresh produce. Bring them back to eat on the beach.

Who to go with: organised tours

7

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • Los Angeles

Experience a 7-hour, fully narrated tour onboard luxury tour buses. This tour offers 4 convenient  1-hour stops at Santa Monica Pier, Farmer's Market, Griffith Observatory and the Walk of Fame. See the Hollywood Sign, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Sunset Strip, movie locations and more.

Price $95

Min age 0

Rating 4.79 / 5 [858 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >
  • Anaheim & Buena Park

Hotel pickup and drop-off from over 70 hotels in the Anaheim Resort Area and 150 hotels in the Los Angeles area. This is a fun and fantastic experience of the area’s most iconic sights and landmarks. This guided tour is perfect for families, couples and all ages! We have four 35-45 minute stops and 1-hour for lunch. On our tour you’ll experience the following: Santa Monica and the world famous Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Muscle Beach, the famous canals and skate park, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Dr., the Beverly Hills sign, The iconic Farmer's Market at the Grove (serving a variety a great dishes), The Griffith Park observatory - where you have a perfect photo opportunity of the Hollywood Sign! The Hollywood walk of fame where you find your favorite celebrities' stars, the Grauman's Theatre (find famous hand and footprints), The Kodak Theatre (where the Oscars are held), the Sunset Strip, and much more whilst being entertained by fun, friendly, informative and hilarious guides!

Price $99

Min age 0

Rating 4.84 / 5 [550 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >
  • Santa Monica

We are a FUN SURF LA surf school based on Venice Beach. Our goal is for you to have an excellent experience surfing, whether it's your first time trying surfing or you are trying to advance your skills. For the first 30-40 minutes we will be training on the beach - then it’s one hour with the instructors in the ocean. The remaining time is yours to practice your skills and have fun with the surfboards that we provide you. We’ll be giving lessons on Venice Beach - one of the most famous beaches in California. You’ll be able to not only enjoy the ocean and get surfing experience, but also explore the unique spirit of the eccentric cultural hub of Venice Beach.

Price $85

Min age 12

Rating 4.83 / 5 [131 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >
  • Santa Monica

Experience the excitement of surfing with one of the top rated surf schools in Los Angeles! With our private surf classes you will get the best quality surfing lesson. All our lead instructors are certified and have years of experience teaching worldwide. The lessons are held in the remote part of Venice Beach - one of the most reknown and iconic Californian beaches. Our private classes are great for students of all levels. If it's your first time surfing or you just recently started, our instructors will provide you with the detailed land lesson and make sure that you are confortable with the surfboard before taking you in the water. If you are already experienced and are looking to advance your skills, you can go straight to the line up wth the instructor coaching and supervising you throughout the entire lesson. Quality and your safety are our top priorities. We guarantee you the best surfing experience possible!

Price $125

Min age 7

Rating 4.90 / 5 [42 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >