Santa Monica, Calif. By Sarah Lovelace

Home to the “ultimate Southern California beach” and an average of 340 days of sunshine a year, Santa Monica may turn out to be the physical reality of my happy place. And if sounding like paradise wasn’t enough, the beaches are maintained like the Disney World parks and you can have your very own Beach Butler who sets up your chair and gets you drinks. Oh. Wow. I’m beginning to think that I may never leave this place.

The Santa Monica Pier (at right) is a famously fun spot filled with things to look at and do. The Trapeze School of New York is located on the pier and offers classes for all skill levels (ranging from very skilled to very scared) so we may be able to watch some newbie’s flying high. We could also check out the amusement park on the pier, or the aquarium while keeping our eye on the Trapeze artists. 
Santa Monica caters to everyone’s brawn and the brain side with two famous parks. We’ll want to swing by famous Muscle Beach, made popular in the 1950s by the “Godfather of Fitness” Jack LaLanne, and for a contrast we’ll want to check out Chess Park.

Aside from the beach there are numerous art galleries and an historic walk we can enjoy if the beach fun gets old (hard to imagine!). We will probably be craving fresh fruit and vegetables by this point in the trip so the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market (at left) may be the perfect attraction to peruse produce and satisfy our fresh food craving. 
Then there is the shopping. They boys will more than likely not be interested in this aspect of this California town, but I might be able to convince them to drive the car down to the Third Street Promenade, Montana Avenue or Ocean Avenue just for a peak. 
Here are some of the other fun things we will be checking out while we’re in sunny Santa Monica.

-Santa Monica Mountains (at right)

-California Heritage Museum

-Santa Monica Museum of Art


-Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

-Bergamot Station

(From top) Photo by smif courtesy; photo by R. Landau courtesy Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau; photo by Greg Peterson courtesy Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau; photo by Jim Belsley courtesy