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Key Info

Price & Hours



Free, Sports, Recreation, Tours Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend


  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Santa Monica's abundance of trails and sublime weather year-round make it an excellent destination for cycling. In the heart of the city, you'll discover the Marvin Braude Beach Trail (or "The Strand," as it's called by locals), plus scenic thoroughfares like Main Street and San Vincente Boulevard that are bike-friendly. The city also sits just south of the Santa Monica Mountains, where additional trails are available for mountain biking. Electric bicycle tours can be arranged as well, if you want some insight about what you're seeing as you explore Santa Monica and nearby Venice Beach.

Previous visitors overwhelmingly recommended biking the 22-mile Marvin Braude Beach Trail, citing its phenomenal ocean vistas and well-maintained path as highlights. However, some say it can get a bit congested by the Santa Monica Pier, so consider venturing farther out – the trail starts at Will Rogers State Beach in LA's Pacific Palisades neighborhood and ends at Torrance County Beach in Torrance – for a more enjoyable experience. Reputable bike rental companies include Perry's Cafe and Beach Rentals and Sea Mist Rentals. For narration during your ride, reviewers suggested booking an electric bicycle tour with Pedal... or Not.

The Marvin Braude Beach Trail and Santa Monica's public roads are free to access 24 hours a day, but expect to pay a parking fee if you drive to trails outside the city, including those in Will Rogers State Historic Park. Standard adult cruiser bikes typically cost $7 to $10 per hour, while kids bikes generally range from $5 to $8 per hour. All-day rates, additional types of bikes (such as tandems) and accessories (like child carts) may also be available, depending on the rental shop. Most rental companies can be found by the pier. Pedal… or Not's small group, three-hour electric bike tour, which is available daily, starts at $79 per person. The fee covers use of an electric bike, a helmet and a double saddlebag. Learn more about where to bike in Santa Monica by visiting the city's tourism website.

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#1 Santa Monica Pier and Beach

Santa Monica's 3 ½ miles of shoreline, known as Santa Monica State Beach, are renowned as some of the area's best thanks to the soft sands, ideal weather and bevy of attractions. In addition to the gorgeous stretch of sand, the beach is home to unique amenities like the Original Muscle Beach (a 1930s-era beach park with retro gym equipment) and the International Chess Park. What's more, the beach offers traditional facilities, such as the North Beach Playground and the Annenberg Community Beach House. But perhaps the beach's best-known attraction is its famous pier.

Stretching from the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Ocean Front Walk (the end of Route 66) to a spot above Santa Monica Bay, the Santa Monica Pier is the beach's most recognizable landmark. Not only will you see it in countless photos of the city, but you'll also catch a glimpse of it in several films, including "Forrest Gump." Some of its most popular amenities include a historic carousel, Heal the Bay Aquarium and Pacific Park, which boasts an assortment of arcade games, rides and food stalls.

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