An Afternoon in Santa Monica
We left Sequoia National Park around 11:30 am on Sunday. We had a 4.5 hour drive back to LA, with nothing planned for the day. Our flight wasn’t until 10:30 pm, so we had about half a day to spare. My friend Colin, who was our driver and host, offered to show Sam and me around wherever we wanted to go. We decided on seeing the coast, as I had only ever been to Venice Beach, and Sam hadn’t been to LA at all. Our plan was to drive to Malibu from Sequoia, and then down to Santa Monica along the coastal highway.
The one thing I was craving that we can’t get in Georgia was In-N-Out Burger. This chain restaurant has cheap burgers, fries, and shakes and is a staple in California. Some people say it’s overrated but I love it. I always make a stop when I’m in the Golden State.
Malibu and Coastal Drive
After stopping for lunch, we drove another couple of hours to Malibu on the coast. It was late afternoon when we arrived and lots of surfers were packing up their boards and heading home for the day. All along the coastal highway there is free parking, so you can stop anywhere you see a pretty view or beach that you want to see.
We arrived in Santa Monica around 5pm and had a few hours to spare before we needed to get to the airport at 9. Colin used to live in Santa Monica, so he knew exactly where to go. We parked in the big lot by the Court House. From here, we walked down Pico Boulevard straight to the beach.
The beach is so wide! They have paved walking and biking paths going through the sand. It was so busy that when I tried to cross one of the paths to get to the sand, I felt like I was going to get run over. We played Frogger and finally got through to the other side. We walked towards the pier, which has a full amusement park on it. It was iconic looking with the mountains in the background. As we were walking, we passed the aerial rings and bars that gymnasts (and others) can do tricks on. It was fun to watch!
We walked up on the pier, but it was so crowded and not very enjoyable. We continued to the other side of the pier to get a better view of the cliffs with buildings overlooking the ocean. The next bridge over the highway was scenic with pretty buildings and palm trees behind it. Looking back after we had crossed it was even better!
We made our way to The Craftsman, a bar on Broadway. I got the sangria, the boys got beers, and we sat outside on their front patio and enjoyed the lovely weather. A perfect end to a wonderful weekend!
The three of us walked back down Ocean Avenue, stopping briefly to admire the entrance to the pier. We walked through Tongva Park to get back to the parking lot and I loved seeing the palm trees with the sun setting behind them.
From Santa Monica, it took us about 45 minutes to get to the airport with traffic (there’s always traffic). There was no line for TSA precheck and we walked straight through with plenty of time to stop for dinner. We got on board around 10 and landed back in Atlanta bright and early the next morning!