When I think of finally hanging it all up and “retiring” to a Caribbean island I usually think of Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Cuba, etc.. In the meantime though, I’m always on the lookout for locales that are conducive to the ultimate beach lifestyle, which for this Canadian means an actual beach, great mexican food and even better margaritas. Santa Monica is probably a little bit touristy for me, but I have to admit, I would love to be able to hang out at the Pier overlooking the ocean on a regular basis.
The Southern California Lifestyle Thrives in Santa Monica and Venice
When I think of Santa Monica, I think of the three P’s — the Pier, the Prom and the Palisades.
The wooden Santa Monica Pier extends about 1,000 feet into the Pacific at the seaward end of Colorado Avenue. It comprises two adjacent structures, a 1909 Municipal Pier and a 1916 Pleasure Pier — the latter designed by Charles Looff, the architect of New York’s Coney Island, who became even better known for his carousels, now considered the epitome of that craft. An antique Looff carousel is one of the Pier’s big attractions today.
Restored in the early 1980s, the 9½-acre Pier now boasts a small amusement park (Pacific Park) with a dozen rides, including a 130-foot-high, solar-powered Ferris wheel and a steel roller coaster that travels above the waves at 35 mph. There are also arcades and curio shops, food stands and full-service restaurants, fishing decks and an aquarium, and Heal the Bay’s Marine Science Center, which doubles as an educational facility for students of all ages.
Maybe I can live the SoCal lifestyle after all…