I’m not entirely sure why or how but Danny and I never actually made it to America like we had planned earlier in our teens. We had plans to honeymoon there on a road trip but they fell through, then it was on our list of places to visit ‘before we have kids’. Next thing you know it’s 2015, 2 months post wedding and we find ourselves pregnant and that scuppered our ‘before we have kids’ travel plans. From there on I suppose we ruled it out because the idea of flying across the pond with a 2 and a half year old seemed like hell on Earth, to endure an 11 hour flight with a toddler seemed almost ludicrous. Yet now we’ve done it, we’d do it again in a heartbeat!
At the end of January we were lucky enough to be invited to Santa Monica and from the moment we stepped foot on to the palm tree filled sidewalk situated right next to the coastline I whispered to Danny “we have to come back here!”. Santa Monica is like nowhere we’ve ever visited before, it’s different, the people are so friendly, the atmosphere is so chilled, there so much to explore and do it really is the perfect holiday destination!
We stayed at the beautiful ever so ‘classic Californian’ Hotel Shangri-La. It was literally how I’d imagined Santa Monica to be, white wash buildings surrounded by palm trees with the most incredible views I’ve ever seen. Every day was a pinch me moment on this trip but staying in this amazing hotel with the ocean view blew me away every sunrise and sunset! Our room was the perfect size for a family, sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming living out of a hotel when there is more than 2 of you, but we had our own living area with kitchenette and a huge bathroom with the deepest bath I’ve ever clapped eyes on. Possibly one of Evie’s highlights of the trip was that she could ‘swim’ in the bath!!!
Without a doubt as a family our favourite part of Santa Monica was the pier, it is so vibrant and full of life and there is just so much to do, see, shop and eat there. Our favourite place to eat was Seaside on the Pier on their rooftop bar as it had the most incredible views of the coastline. The Santa Monica Pier is home to Pacific Park which is an amusement park that has the most amazing buzz about it and feels so retro and quirky. We visited the pier every day we were in Santa Monica because we just loved it that much, especially at night when it was all lit up it was so beautiful. Another place that is an absolute must visit whilst in Santa Monica is Sidecar Doughnuts on Wilshire Boulevard for the best doughnuts you’ll ever taste in your life!!
The thing we really loved about Santa Monica and probably why it appealed so much to us as a family was its diversity. One one minute we were strolling around the Santa Monica Farmers Market drinking homemade lemonade and the next minute we sat in the middle of a white sandy beach with the waves lapping at our toes. Then there’s the Annenberg Community Beach House a unique community destination with spectacular views, a splash pad, playground, Marion Davies Guest House, beach courts & fields, community & cultural events, a swimming pool, free wi-fi, and so much more, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and on top of that it’s open to everyone and no membership is required!
We had the most incredible time in Santa Monica and we’ve already made a pact that we have to return. There’s just so much to do and see and even with a jam packed itinerary whilst we were there we only saw a small part of this beautiful beachfront city. Thank you so much to See Santa Monica for inviting us on the trip of lifetime, we made so many memories that we will never forget!