Is Santa Monica a Great Family Destination? A Practical Guide

Are you considering Santa Monica as a family destination? Santa Monica is indeed a fantastic choice for families seeking a blend of excitement and relaxation. This beachside city in California boasts a reputation for being exceptionally family-friendly, offering a plethora of activities and attractions that cater to visitors of all ages.

From the sprawling sandy beaches to the vibrant downtown areas, Santa Monica provides a diverse range of experiences that families can enjoy together. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, explore unique shops, or indulge in delicious dining options, Santa Monica has something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

When families evaluate potential travel destinations, factors like safety, entertainment options, and accessibility often top the list. Santa Monica excels in these areas, providing a safe and welcoming environment where families can create lasting memories without compromising on convenience or fun.

With numerous kid-friendly activities, such as amusement rides on the famous Santa Monica Pier and family-friendly restaurants dotting the city, Santa Monica offers a perfect blend of entertainment and relaxation for families looking to unwind and make the most of their time together. Whether you’re planning a day trip or an extended stay, Santa Monica’s charm and family-oriented atmosphere are sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors of all ages.

Family-Friendly Attractions in Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a paradise for families seeking fun-filled adventures and memorable experiences. From iconic landmarks to picturesque outdoor spaces, this coastal gem offers a plethora of attractions that cater to visitors of all ages. Let’s delve into some of the top family-friendly attractions that make Santa Monica an ideal destination for a day of excitement and joy.

Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier stands as a beacon of entertainment and joy, attracting families from far and wide. This historic pier is home to Pacific Park, an amusement park bursting with thrilling rides and attractions suitable for kids and adults alike. Families can embark on a whimsical journey aboard the solar-powered Ferris Wheel, delight in the classic charm of the carousel, and immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of street performers and vendors. The Santa Monica Pier offers a seamless blend of nostalgia and modern-day fun that guarantees smiles and cherished memories for families.

Beaches and Outdoor Spaces

Santa Monica boasts some of the most family-friendly beaches and outdoor recreational areas along the California coast. The pristine Santa Monica State Beach invites families to unwind on its sandy shores, bask in the warm California sun, and partake in a myriad of water activities. Whether it’s building sandcastles, splashing in the gentle waves, or enjoying a seaside picnic, the beaches of Santa Monica provide a tranquil escape for families seeking relaxation and quality time together. Additionally, the 26-Mile Bike Path offers a scenic route for family bike rides, allowing everyone to explore the beauty of Santa Monica’s coastline at their own pace.

In Santa Monica, the blend of exciting attractions and natural beauty creates the perfect setting for families to bond, create lasting memories, and revel in the joys of togetherness. Whether strolling along the iconic pier or frolicking on the sandy beaches, Santa Monica promises a family-friendly experience that is both refreshing and unforgettable.

Family-Focused Events and Festivals

Santa Monica offers an array of family-friendly events and festivals throughout the year, catering to visitors of all ages. These gatherings provide a mix of entertainment, cultural experiences, and fun activities for families to enjoy together. Let’s explore some of the annual events and festivals in Santa Monica that are perfect for families:

Santa Monica Pier Twilight Concert Series

One of the highlights of Santa Monica’s event calendar is the Twilight Concert Series held at the iconic Santa Monica Pier. This series features live music performances ranging from local artists to well-known bands, creating a vibrant atmosphere for families to dance and enjoy the ocean breeze.

Main Street Summer Soulstice Festival

The Main Street Summer Soulstice Festival is a lively celebration that takes place on Main Street, offering a mix of music, arts, delicious food, and interactive activities for families. It’s a great opportunity for kids and parents to immerse themselves in a festive atmosphere.

Santa Monica Festival of the Arts

The Santa Monica Festival of the Arts is a cultural extravaganza that showcases the creativity of the local community through art installations, performances, workshops, and more. Families can explore different art forms and engage in hands-on activities together.

LA Beer Fest

For families with older members, the LA Beer Fest in Santa Monica is a popular event that combines craft beer tastings, live music, and food trucks. While adults can sample a variety of brews, there are often designated family-friendly zones with entertainment options for kids.

Santa Monica Farmers Markets

Not your traditional event, but the Santa Monica Farmers Markets are a weekly affair that families can enjoy together. These markets offer fresh produce, artisanal goods, and often feature activities like cooking demonstrations and educational workshops for children.

Santa Monica’s diverse range of family-focused events and festivals ensures there’s something for everyone to experience and enjoy together. Whether you’re looking for music, arts, cultural experiences, or simply a day out with the family, Santa Monica’s calendar is filled with options to create lasting memories.

Accommodation Options for Families

When planning a family trip to Santa Monica, choosing the right accommodation is crucial to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay for everyone. Santa Monica offers a range of family-friendly accommodation options catering to different preferences and budgets. Let’s explore some of the best choices for families:

Resort Amenities and Services

Family-oriented resorts in Santa Monica prioritize providing a memorable vacation experience for families. These resorts offer a wide array of amenities and services designed to enhance your family getaway. From fun-filled swimming pools and kids’ clubs to on-site dining options serving child-friendly meals, these resorts ensure that every family member finds something enjoyable to do. Many resorts also organize family-friendly activities and entertainment to keep everyone engaged throughout their stay. With spacious family suites and attentive staff members who understand the unique needs of families, these resorts aim to create a relaxing and entertaining environment for guests of all ages.

Vacation Rentals and Home Sharing Options

For families seeking a more personalized and cost-effective accommodation option, vacation rentals and home-sharing platforms in Santa Monica present an appealing choice. These alternatives to traditional hotels offer spacious living areas, multiple bedrooms, and fully-equipped kitchens, providing families with the flexibility and comfort of a home away from home. Vacation rentals also allow families to tailor their stay according to their preferences, whether it’s preparing home-cooked meals together or enjoying quality time in a cozy living room. Moreover, the affordability of vacation rentals makes them a practical option for larger families or those planning an extended stay in Santa Monica. By choosing vacation rentals or home-sharing options, families can enjoy the privacy and convenience of a self-contained accommodation while exploring all that Santa Monica has to offer.

Family Dining and Culinary Experiences

In Santa Monica, families can delight in a wide array of dining options tailored to suit all tastes. From cozy cafes to vibrant eateries, the city offers a plethora of family-friendly restaurants to explore together.

Family-Friendly Restaurants

  1. Back on the Beach Café: Nestled along the coast, this charming cafe not only serves up delicious dishes but also offers a stunning ocean view. With a menu catering to both adults and kids, it’s a perfect spot for a family meal by the sea.
  2. Bru’s Wiffle – A Waffle Joint: Who doesn’t love waffles? At Bru’s Wiffle, families can indulge in an assortment of creative waffle creations, from savory to sweet. The laid-back atmosphere and welcoming staff make it a hit among families looking for a unique dining experience.
  3. Pier Burger: Craving classic American fare? Look no further than Pier Burger, located at the iconic Santa Monica Pier. Their juicy burgers and crispy fries are sure to please both parents and kids alike. Enjoy your meal with a side of ocean breeze and pier vibes.
  4. Pinches Tacos: If your family enjoys Mexican cuisine, Pinches Tacos is a must-visit. From flavorful tacos to hearty burritos, their menu offers a variety of options to satisfy every palate. The casual ambiance and colorful decor create a lively dining experience for families.
  5. Rori’s Artisanal Creamery: End your meal on a sweet note at Rori’s Artisanal Creamery. Indulge in handcrafted ice cream made with premium ingredients. With a selection of flavors to choose from, both adults and kids can find their perfect scoop of happiness.

These family-friendly restaurants in Santa Monica not only provide delectable food but also create memorable dining experiences for families to cherish. Whether you’re seeking a casual beachfront meal or a fun and quirky waffle adventure, Santa Monica has something for every family to enjoy together.

Safety and Family-Oriented Services

Santa Monica prioritizes safety for families visiting or residing in the city. Several initiatives and programs aim to enhance the well-being of families and provide a secure environment for children. Here’s a look at the safety measures and family-oriented services available in Santa Monica:

Safety Measures:

  • Santa Monica Families for Safer Streets: This community-driven group is dedicated to promoting walkability and bikeability around schools, contributing to a safer environment for families.
  • Immediate Safety Programs: The city offers various immediate safety programs designed to assist families in times of need, providing essential support and resources.

Family-Oriented Services:

  • Family Preservation by SHIELDS for Families: Serving the Santa Monica area, this program offers intensive case management and home visits to high-risk families, ensuring they receive the necessary support and guidance.
  • Family Time Play Groups: Families with children up to 5 years old can enjoy interactive play sessions, arts and crafts activities, and bonding time through Family Time playgroups in Santa Monica.
  • Childproofing Services: Several childproofing companies in Santa Monica help families create a safe home environment for their little ones, offering peace of mind and preventing accidents.

Santa Monica’s commitment to safety and family well-being is evident through these programs and services, making it a welcoming destination for families seeking a secure and family-friendly community.


In conclusion, Santa Monica emerges as a top choice for families seeking a fantastic getaway. With its plethora of attractions, including the iconic Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park, there’s no shortage of fun activities for all ages. The family-friendly environment extends to accommodations and dining options, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay for everyone. Santa Monica’s commitment to safety further solidifies its reputation as a great destination for families, providing peace of mind while exploring this vibrant city. Whether playing on the beach, exploring the lively downtown areas, or indulging in delicious meals, Santa Monica offers a seamless blend of entertainment and relaxation, making it a prime choice for families looking to create lasting memories together.