Santa Monica pier at sunset

Campervan Rental near Santa Monica

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Santa Monica route 66 sign on the pier

Campervan Rental Santa Monica

Originally developed as a seaside retreat at the turn of the 20th century, Santa Monica has since grown into an eclectic, urban, prosperous beach city with a reputation for accessibility and progressiveness. Home to families, surfers, young professionals, and students, the city makes for an affluent hub of boiling pot culture.

Santa Monica spans 8.3 square miles on the westside of Los Angeles County. A beachside city, it offers a picturesque waterfront environment, popular with locals and tourists alike. The city features three miles of pristine, Pacific beaches along with a character-driven boardwalk and the iconic Santa Monica Pier.

Tourism to the city attracts over 8 million visitors annually, making for a bustling mix of locals and visitors. A lot of those visiting the greater Los Angeles area choose to base themselves in Santa Monica – there are numerous hotel, restaurant, and entertainment options as well as accessibility to other major sights such as Malibu, Venice Beach, and Beverly Hills.

Santa Monica has been named by National Geographic as one of the Top 10 Beach Cities in the World and definitely lives up to its hype.

Getting to Santa Monica

By car: Santa Monica is situated at the western terminus of Interstate 10, approximately 15 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. The tourist hub of Santa Monica is located near the famous Santa Monica Pier. To get to it by car, take the 10 Freeway to the 4th/5th street exit, then head for the ocean. If arriving from the north, turn left off the Pacific Coast Highway at the California Incline – this will pop you out just a few blocks north of the pier.

By plane: The closest airport for commercial passengers is LAX, located just 7 miles south of the city.

By bus: You can bus to Santa Monica from throughout the Los Angeles region. Simply take the 720 from downtown LA or the 704 from Union Station. Buses typically run every two to ten minutes during peak hours and every ten to twenty minutes otherwise.

Parking in Santa Monica

At the beach: You can park for free at a beach lot from 5:30 pm until sunset – the perfect excuse for an evening swim. Otherwise, you’re looking at $7 to $18 per day to park in a beach lot.

At the pier: There are a couple of options available to you for access to the Santa Monica Pier and the nearby beach.

  1. Civic Center Garage: Located just off the 10 freeway exit, on 4th and Olympic, across from City Hall.
  2. The Metro Expo Line: A convenient way to access the pier is to park at one of the metro parking garages at an Expo stop and hop a ride on the train. Parking starts at $3 and there are no overnight penalties.

Downtown: Santa Monica has on-street parking meters city-wide, all of which accept credit card or coins as payment. These meters are typically $2.50 per hour in the beach meter and downtown zones and $1.25 throughout the rest of the city.

Annual Events in Santa Monica

  • MAINopoly: Taste of Main Street, MAINopoly takes place in late May and is one of the best ways to experience the culinary delights of Santa Monica.
  • Main Street Summer SOULstice, Run in June: the Main Street Summer SOULstice involves a live music takeover of Main Street, with multiple stages and acts performing throughout the day.
  • 4th of July Parade: An authentic slice of local life, this annual community celebration draws spectators from all walks of life.
  • Farmers Markets Halloween: Each year the downtown farmers market hosts a pumpkin patch in which you take home as many pumpkins as you can hold, all for one low price.
  • Main Street Holiday Event & Holiday Parties: Hosted during early December, get into the holiday spirit with a tree lighting at the California Heritage Museum and festive parties hosted by a number of Main Street stores.

Camping in Santa Monica

  • Dockweiler RV Park: Los Angeles County’s only recreational campground on the beach. If you enjoy a view with your campervanning this site isn’t to be missed. $65-75 per day, plus additional fees.
  • Malibu Beach RV Park: Great location and excellent views. Just a short drive from Santa Monica proper. $20.00 per night for all RV sites with extra fees applicable on holidays.
  • Walnut RV Park: A quaint little RV park with an old-timey slant to it. Just a short drive to Santa Monica proper. $80 per day with a $4 addition for more than two people.

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