Santa Monica, CA
Due to the fires that were taking place in the Sequoia National Park, the opportunity arose for us to spend some time near Santa Monica (and Agoura Hills, CA), I realized that Celeste and I would be able to visit the Santa Monica Pier area, and I could show her some of my old stomping grounds.
The Santa Monica Pier opened in 1909, and it has been a popular place to go ever since. In the 1970's the Santa Monica City Council slated the pier for destruction & replacement, and the citizens of the city reacted vigorously and defeated the attempt. Three of the council members were eventually defeated during elections !
In 1983 the pier was badly damaged by a storm, and the city created the Pier Restoration and Development Task Force to oversee the pier's reconstruction. The reconstruction work took until April 1990 to complete and once again, the pier was a popular destination.
The pier draws over four million visitors annually, and it remains a popular recreation area. As you can see in our images, the beach on both sides of the pier are very large and are popular with swimmers & surfers alike.
When I worked in Santa Monica, we would occasionally come over to the Pier area to eat lunch, or to hang out after work. Venice Beach is only a couple of miles south of the Pier, so there were a number of places to hang out along the beach.
After a morning of exploring the pier & watching a bunch of kids surfing, we got back onto the highway and drove north on 101. Santa Barbara is 84 miles from the Pier and along the way we traversed Malibu Beach, which is one of the prettiest and uncrowded beaches anywhere near Los Angeles County.
As you can see in these images, we stopped at various locations along the coast for several reasons; one was that our hotel check-in in Santa Barbara was not until 3PM, and secondly was because the beaches we passed going north were just so pretty. Yet just about every beach we passed would be deserted ?
The last 3 images above were taken at Refugio State Beach Campground, which was so pretty that we decided to stop and explore. This park is still 22 miles south of Santa Barbara, but as I pointed out previously, we had to delay our arrival in order to be able to check-in to our hotel room. Refugio Park contains hiking trails and picnic spots - click here to go to the California Parks page for Refugio Park amenities and a full description of what you can find there.
In image # 4 above, you can see a video crew is filming either an advertisement or location scenes for some other purpose. They were busy the entire time we were there, taping, moving position and taping again.
- California Road Trip Overview Page: This page will give you a view of the entire trip, including maps and other information regarding each of our destinations; click here to read more.
- San Francisco: our arrival airport as well as our first adventure in California - we explored it via walking, cable car as well as uBer. Click here to view our San Francisco page.
- Bonita Point & Sausalito: We visited this area as we drove north from San Francisco to wine country. Click here to view our Bonita Point & Sausalito page.
- Santa Rosa / Sonoma County: This is the heart of Sonoma Wine Country, and we explored this area with enthusiasm. Click here to view our Santa Rosa / Sonoma County page.
- Muir Woods National Monument: One of the few Coast Redwood Forests remaining, the trees are stunning. After hiking about, we headed north through Muir Beach & Stinson Beach. Click here to view our Muir Woods National Monument page.
- Rush Creek Lodge & Spa: . A beautiful place to stay, right on California Route 120 at the western edge of Yosemite National Park. Click here to view our Rush Creek Lodge & Spa page.
- Yosemite National Park: A large and beautiful park, with amazing geography. Click here to view our Yosemite National Park page.
- Forestiere Underground Gardens, Fresno, CA: We discovered this interesting place as we were searching for a good lunch spot in Fresno. The way it was built, and how the builder created such a fascinating home was well worth the time we spent there. Click here to view our Forestiere Underground Gardens page.
- Santa Monica, CA: The fires in Sequoia National Park forced us to revise our trip route plans, so we added an overnight stay in Agoura Hills in order to visit Santa Monica. Click here to view our Santa Monica page.
- Santa Barbara, CA: This was the start of our "coastal drive" through California, and this city is such a great place to start such a drive. Click here to view our Santa Barbara page.
- Coastal Highway, CA: Even though we were looking forward to seeing Monterey, part of our enthusiasm was due to being able to drive north on California SR-1 highway. Click here to view our Coastal Highway page.
- Monterey, CA: Somewhat of a "living museum" but now adjusting to life as a "tourist destination", this is a neat town that has a split personality, ie; one part bayside beach tourist town and the other part a typical California beach town where residents live. Click here to view our Monterey page.
- Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA: This was a day trip drive we took to Carmel-by-the-Sea as we drove south to hike at Point Lobos. Click here to view our Carmel page.
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Note: All images on this page are the property of Just Traveling Thru, LLC unless otherwise noted.