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Discover Fun-Filled Santa Monica Pier and Beach

In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of the exciting Santa Monica pier! Whether you've come to dine, enjoy the rides & games, to fish from the pier, to enjoy the beach...or simply to stroll, you're sure to have a good time reveling in the sights and surroundings of this popular tourist destination.

Pacific Park family amusement center

Photo of  the Santa Monica Pier, featuring Pacific Park amusement center As you look at this picture of the Santa Monica pier, does it seem familiar to you? Do you think you may have seen it before somewhere? It's possible that you HAVE, indeed...even if you've never been to Santa Monica! That's because the Santa Monica Pier is a very popular filming site for movies, ads, music videos and television episodes. While visiting Santa Monica, be sure to snap a mental picture of the pier. You never know when you'll catch a glimpse of it one evening as you're watching a rerun of a favorite movie or TV show!

Pacific Park, the family amusement park on the pier, opened in 1996, becoming an immediate "hit" with visiting out-of-state tourists, Santa Monica locals, and residents from all over the Los Angeles metro area seeking a fun afternoon at the beach. At Pacific Park's amusement area, you'll find 12 different rides---6 for adults and older kids, and 6 others for the kiddies. You'll also find a miniature golf course, food vendors, and 20 different midway games where you can win plush animals and other prizes.

Pacific Park's list of rides

Pacific Park family attractions for older kids and adults are as follows:

1.) The Pacific Wheel, which is the tallest ride on the pier...and is considered to be a must-do ride by many Santa Monica visitors. Why? Because views from the top of of the Pacific Wheel are simply breathtaking! If you only have time to enjoy one ride while at Pacific Park on Santa Monica Pier, choose THIS one! The minimum height for riders without adults is 42"; there is no minimum height requirement when children are riding with adults.

2.)The West Coaster steel roller coaster: How would you like to have a fun coaster ride WHILE enjoying sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean? The West Coaster offers you just that. Built out on the pier, this family-style roller coaster gives riders moderate thrills meant for almost every member of the family. At 55 ft. tall, it's fun for all family members who are approximately 9+ years old. There is a minimum height of 42" for riding the West Coaster.

3.) The Pacific Plunge: Pacific Park's ride called the Pacific Plunge is a tower-type ride. You'll board a ride car that ascends a 9-story tower...and then come plunging down from the top! And, when you're not busy screaming, you'll also enjoy beautiful ocean views from this ride, too! The minimum height required to ride is 36 inches tall.

4.) The Sea Dragon: This ride is a favorite at many theme parks throughout the country...the always-enjoyable "boat" that swings side-to-side pendulum style in a 180 degree arc. Riders in the middle seats get a mildly thrilling ride, while riders in the end seats experience a much wilder, scream-provoking version of the trip. The minimum height to ride alone is 48 inches, but kids who are at least 36 inches tall may ride if a parent accompanies them.

5.) Inkie's Scrambler---This is Pacific Park's version of another standard amusement-park ride, the well-known Scrambler. "Inkie," a purple cartoon octopus,is the Mascot for Pacific Park; this ride is named after him. Each ride car seats up to three guests, and there's a minimum height requirement of 42" to board. The rider sitting towards the outside (right side) of the car is sure to get squished once Inkie's Scrambler gets speeding in circles!

6.) Sig Alert bumper car ride: Minimum height for the pier's bumper cars is 48 inches. At the Santa Monica Pier, maybe you can't drive ON water...but in the bumper cars, you can certainly drive OVER it!

What is a "Sig Alert? Visitors, it's time that you learn what a "Sig Alert" is...because if you listen to Los Angeles traffic reports, you'll hear this word. It's a local word describing an especially bad traffic jam, where you should expect to be tied up for at least 30 minutes or more. The name came from the "old days," when an announcer...whose nickname was Sig...coined the term Sig Alert to give an especially strong warning to motorists to avoid particular areas of the greater LA freeway system. Dear Sig has passed now...but, to honor his memory, area TV and radio stations continue to broadcast his famous "Sig Alerts."

Photo of the West Coaster rollercoaster at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier

Pacific Park's kiddie rides

1.) Red Baron: These are the same kiddie planes so popular in the children's sections of numerous theme parks & family fun centers. Your child needs to be at least 24" tall to ride; but there's ALSO an upper height limit of 48" tall, as well.

2.) Inkie's Li'l Scrambler: On this miniature version of the adult Scrambler ride, kids can whirl around at a slower, gentler pace. This kids-only ride accepts children to ride if they're between 36" and 48" tall.

3.) Frog Hopper: This is another kids-only ride, which requires a minimum height of 36". The Frog Hopper is a mini-tower ride: the kids go up, up, up...then zoom down screaming.

4.)Pier Patrol: The Pier Patrol is a tame kiddie car ride which circles a central hub on a track. Kids will enjoy honking the horn and watching the flashing lights as they "drive." The minimum height requirement here is 36" tall.

5.) Ship-A-Hoy: Here's a children's ride that you can ride this one with your child! It's a mini version of Pacific Park's swinging boat ride, the Sea Dragon. Kids must be over 36" to ride alone; no height restriction when riding with an adult.

6.) Crazy Submarine Ride: On the Crazy Submarine, you and your child can gently make circles up into the air and down again as you ride inside the Submarine's cabin. Kids need to be 48" tall to ride alone, but there's no height restriction if they ride with you.

Photo of the Santa Monica beach area south of Santa Monica pier, Los Angeles County, California

Santa Monica Pier's amusement park address, phone & ticket prices

The Pacific Park amusement park's address is---
380 Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, CA 90401

The Pacific Park phone number is (310) 260-8744.

Pacific Park Ticket Prices---

All Day Wrist Band: To best enjoy all of the rides at the Santa Monica Pier's amusement park, it's cheapest to get the Pacific Park All Day Wristband. The online price is $13 for a kiddie all-day wristband (that's for children age 7 and under) and $20 for the adult wristband (everyone age 8 and over; prices may be more at the park's ticket booths.) You may also purchase individual ride tickets, if you choose.

Discount tickets for Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier: In addition to Pacific Park's print-at-home savings, you can also find discount coupons on their website...under the "Cool Discounts" tab...which you may use for purchases at the park's ticket booths. You may use the following link to get more info from the Santa Monica Pier's Pacific Park official website.

Pacific Park discount coupon from You'll find a good Pacific Park discount coupon on the website. This is the state's official tourism site, and the coupons you'll find there may be printed at your home or office, then taken to the park to redeem at the ticket booth. Here's a link to the Pacific Park discount coupon on the website, where you'll find the coupon near the top of the page.

Go Card Multi-attraction Discount: Pacific Park is also a member of the Los Angeles Go Card multi-attraction discount plan. If you plan to visit many different attractions while you're visiting Southern California, you will save money on admission to ALL of them by getting an LA Go Card. Here's a link to the Los Angeles Go Card website where you can get further information and discover current prices.

Santa Monica Pier's Carousel: There's still one more ride on the Santa Monica Pier, but it's not connected to Pacific Park...and so, your ticket purchases must be made separately for this. The ride is an antique carousel...and chances are, you've seen it before. It was used in filming the classic movie, "The Sting," and also in "The Net" (starring Sandra Bullock) which was made in the '90's. The beautiful carousel sits inside a building called the Hippodrome. (Both the Hippodrome and the Carousel were made Los Angeles County historical landmarks back in 1975!) Even if you don't want to ride the antique carousel, you'll enjoy stopping to peek inside the building to take a look at the carousel's lovely hand-carved animals.

Santa Monica Beach and Pier -- On the sand

Photo:  Natali touches seaweed at Santa Monica beach From the Santa Monica Pier, you can take a flight of stairs directly down to the beach. A walkway leads out onto the sand for a little ways, but at some point, you've either got to get sand in your shoes, or take them off altogether! Since the ocean's blue water looks so tempting...and since the stairs onto the sand from the pier make getting to the water's edge so convenient, you'll find quite a few fully dressed people on the beach at Santa Monica!

In the picture at your left, you see my granddaughter, Natali, exploring some seaweed. Just an interesting tidbit...some Southern California beaches have seaweed, and others don't. It all depends on what's growing offshore under the water. Throughout the Malibu, Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica areas, there are off shore kelp beds, and this seaweed washes up onto the shore with regularity. Other beaches, such as Orange County's Huntington Beach (which you may read about on another page of this website) have no kelp beds growing offshore...and thus very little seaweed washing up.

Santa Monica State Beach smoking & alcohol rules

The Santa Monica Beach rules include "no smoking". Some California beaches are indeed "no smoking" beaches. Economically, it makes sense because the cigarette butts left on the beach don't disintegrate, leaving plenty of extra work for the sand cleaners to do. The sand at Southern California beaches is machine-cleaned with frequency...with good reason. The beaches bring the tourists, and the tourists' wallets! Anything that makes the sand-upkeep job harder is frowned upon.

If you're a smoker from out of state, just take this policy with a grin. It's nothing personal against you; they just need to keep the beaches in top shape at all times without making the budget burst.

Santa Monica is also a "no alcohol/no glass containers" beach.

Santa Monica Pier and Beach Parking: Parking lots line the Pacific Coast Highway, which runs parallel to the beach. So, parking is simply a matter of finding your favorite stretch of beach and entering the adjacent lot. Since the Santa Monica Pier is the busiest spot along Santa Monica Beach, you'll find 2 parking lots there. To reach the Santa Monica Pier parking lot, drive directly onto the pier, and then follow the signs to the parking area. The other lot is just to the south side of the pier, and it's reached from Ocean Avenue.

Santa Monica Pier and Beach: Order visitor's guide

If you're planning to include a visit to the Santa Monica pier and beach on your Southern California family vacation, you may wish to learn a few more details about Santa Monica. The city of Santa Monica's Convention and Visitor's Bureau official website can fill you in on details about restaurants, stores, and special events. You can even order a FREE visitor's guide to Santa Monica! Just used the following link, and it will take you directly to the offical Santa Monica Visitor's Bureau informative website.

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