California Beaches: Santa Monica

Santa Monica maintains its own 2-mile stretch of beach, with its famous pier and Pacific Park amusement center, plus volleyball and basketball nets, bicycle and running paths, picnic areas, and plenty of nearby shops and restaurants. Carl Johnson, 24, of Venice Beach, twirls his fire sticks at twilight during 24th annual Twilight Dance Series at the Santa Monica Pier.
Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
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