Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life in vibrant, oceanfront Santa Monica, California. From beach activities to interactive educational stops, this city offers family-friendly pursuits to keep your family entertained. When you need a break from all the fun, retreat to your Santa Monica vacation rental for the perfect place to relax and unwind. Without further ado, here are a few of the most popular kid-friendly things to do in Santa Monica.

1. Visit the Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is an iconic stop teeming with fascinating sights, sounds, smells, and flavors. Try your hand at retro carnival games, or enjoy the rides at the Pacific Park amusement park on the pier. The Pacific Wheel is the only solar-powered Ferris wheel in the world, and it provides amazing views of the ocean. Pick up some snacks to take back to your vacation rental, so you can relive your time at the pier.

2. See Ocean Animals

While you’re at the pier, take the kids to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. The aquarium’s exhibits focus on animals found right in the Santa Monica Bay, with over 100 species for your kids to explore. This inexpensive option is suitable for kids of all ages.

3. Play on the Beach

Spend a day on the beach for amazing views, sand castle building, and splashing in the waves. Santa Monica State Beach is a popular 3-mile stretch of shore perfect for kids of all ages, with a bike path running along the beach for another activity option. The Annenberg Beach House is a family-friendly option with shady sand areas and a splash pad with warm water for safe water play. Families with young kids may prefer the safety, warmth, and shade of this beach option. Head back to your vacation rental for a nice warm shower after a day at the beach.

4. Explore the World of Flight

The Museum of Flying has something to appeal to plane fans young and old. Located on the south side of the Santa Monica Airport, this museum features a number of aircraft, artifacts, and artwork related to aviation. The Maxflight flight simulator is a popular exhibit for older kids. The simulator uses 360-degree pitch and roll technology with the ability to turn upside down for an intense flight experience. You can also watch planes take off and land at the airport, an option made to entertain kids of all ages.

Find the perfect Santa Monica vacation rental on is the world's #1 vacation rental search engine with over 10 million properties!

5. Learn to Fly

Take to the skies with your kids at Trapeze School New York at the Santa Monica Pier. Kids age 6 and older can participate in trapeze classes. The beach location makes the trapeze lessons even more exciting. You could uncover a new talent in your kids or even yourself. Don’t be surprised if your kids try to find places to swing back at your vacation rental after learning these new trapeze skills.

6. Visit Kid-Friendly Stores

Santa Monica Place provides a fun shopping experience for all members of the family. This 3-story outdoor mall features many kid favorites, including the Disney Store. Stop by The Whale, which is a play structure for younger kids, if your little ones get bored with shopping. Books and Cookies is another popular shop for young kids. This book store features a reading room as well as the Learn and Play area with indoor and outdoor play spaces. Kids can play, build, dress up, and blow bubbles in these areas. The bookstore also hosts special events, so check the schedule while you’re there. Grab a new book and some freshly baked cookies from the cafe to enjoy with your kids at your vacation rental.

7. Check Out the Farmers’ Market

Head to the Main Street Farmers’ Market for a kid-friendly option on Sundays. Let your kids pick out fresh produce and other ingredients to cook in your vacation rental kitchen. You can also catch live performances and find face painting to masquerade as someone different for the day. Other farmers’ market options in Santa Monica include the Downtown Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays and the Virginia Avenue Market on Saturdays. These markets give you a taste of local ingredients in a vibrant environment.

8. Wander the Promenade

The Third Street Promenade is a popular spot for tourists. Vehicles aren’t allowed in this area, so you can wander with your kids without worry of them running in front of a car. Kids enjoy stopping to watch the street performers who frequent the area. Take in a movie for additional entertainment. Several chain and local shops in the area offer a selection of items to enjoy back at your vacation rental.

9. Play in the Park

Santa Monica features a number of parks and playgrounds when your kids need to burn off energy. Tongva Park is a popular option with families. An expansive 6 acres of space let you and your family spread out and play. Head to the Discovery Hill section of the park for shaded areas and kids’ play areas. Tall climbing structures are a favorite for kids. An amphitheater in the Gathering Hills section hosts free performances frequently, so you may catch some live entertainment while you’re there. A splash pad gives kids a place to cool down on hot days, and a fountain featuring a foot bath offers another way to play in the water. Fun structures and artwork add to the park experience.

Ready to go? Check out these amazing Santa Monica vacation rentals on