Life's a beach! Even more so if you are in Santa Monica Beach, a few miles from Los Angeles. The beach is, after all, one of the best in this side of town. It provides you with great views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as a wonderful and relaxing day lazing at the beach. And if you're lucky, you can even swim with the dolphins that sometimes drop by to play. Santa Monica Beach exemplifies the California beach life – a relaxed yet bustling atmosphere created by people busy having fun. The beach makes for great opportunities to let your hair down. It is equipped with equipment rental shops for you to indulge in the water sports that you want – surfing, boogie-boarding, bodysurfing, volleyball and many others. Take note that surfing is allowed south of the Pier, just as long as you keep between lifeguard towers, namely, between towers 18 and 20 and towers 28 and 29. Passionate fishermen will have a hoot dropping their lines along the Santa Monica Pier. Don't worry if you forget your rod at home. You can rent or buy fishing rods and bait at the many shops lining the pier. What's more, you don't need a license to fish! There is also the South Bay Bicycle Trail for those who want to go biking or skating. It is the longest of its kind. This beach path spans 22 miles starting from Torrance way up to Malibu. In addition, the bracing fresh air is great for a morning jog along the wooden pathways. Of course, you can always take a dip in the mild waters.
 If you are not into strenuous activities, you can opt to laze around and lie soaking in the sun. And there, lying on your beach towel, you have the perfect vantage point to go people watching. As for food, there are plenty of ice cream, pizza and salad stands. Now, let us go on a tour of Santa Monica Beach, the favorite haunt of bikers and surfers. Start off with Main Street, where you can sit and relax while you sip your coffee or tea at Starbucks, Coffee Been & Tea Leaf and many up and coming restaurants, cafes and pubs. Then head off to Bergamot Station Arts Center where you can take hours and hours browsing at local art. Also, what is Santa Monica beach without its pier? This bustling area is an amusement park, filled with the simple joys that you cherish in your childhood. You can go up, up, up its huge Ferris Wheel or ride the roller coaster. The carousel with 44 hand-carved horses at the pier is simply classic. There is also an aquarium below the pier for children to get an up close and personal look at marine life. There are also two playgrounds for children to run around in the sun and build sandcastles. Other fun activities include the painting of ceramic plates or bowls at Color Me Mine, watching a magic show or marionettes present a musical revue or try out the latest interactive and video games at the Playland Arcade.