Santa Monica: end of the road

Jenni and Mark at the end of Route 66 on Santa Monica Pier.

Jenni of Just Chasing Rabbits gives some reasons to visit the Santa Monica Pier. I can think of a dozen more, but really it’s because it’s fun.

Santa Monica Pier: the famous "End of the Trail" sign.I’ve been to Santa Monica Pier three times now. The first was when beginning a transcontinental odyssey. We’d driven down from San Francisco, we wanted to take a look at an American icon before heading up to Las Vegas, and we had a whale of a time, exploring and taking photographs and stuff. 

Second was after driving Route 66. We rode the Ferris wheel – an experience after dark with the neon and the pier lights! – had dinner at Bubba Gump’s, and vowed to come back the next day. Which we did, to get the obligatory shot of the “End of the Road” sign, and to browse through that souvenir stand right on the end. One step further, and you’re swimming!

It was a bittersweet moment. Sweet, because this was the triumph. We’d “done” Route 66 and had a fabulous time driving the road, looking through museums and ghost towns, diners and diversions. It really is one of the great road trips of the world, and well set up for tourists.

But conversely, it was the end of the road. The trip was over, the fun was all but done. The real world awaited on the far side of that ocean when we resumed our everyday lives in a day or two.

But what a place to mark the moment! The view, the pier, the rides and carnival amusements, the food, the souvenirs. That little souvenir shop on the end of the pier must do a great trade in key-rings, fridge magnets and the like. It’s an institution in itself.

Oh yeah, if you’re in the neighbourhood, drop in at Bubba Gump’s for lunch or dinner. That’s a whole different kind of fun. America does this kind of thing so well.

Jenni talks about the history, the characters, the wildlife, the food, along with photographs of all of the above. I’m only scratching the surface; read her post to get her take on the thing. She made one visit to Santa Monica, admired the pier from a distance, and vowed to come back and take a closer look. Which she did, and she shares the experience.

I’m definitely heading back one day. Are you?


On our recent vacation to California, we made a point to visit the Santa Monica Pier, a spot that we had only glimpsed from afar on a previous trip. Before, we thought the pier to be only an overpriced amusement park, but we learned by visiting that the pier has a lot to offer besides a Ferris wheel!

Years ago, while visiting the Southern California area, we made a trip to the beach at Santa Monica. Mark is way more of a beach person than I am and enjoys relaxing while soaking in the sun and views. While it was a great day, we never made our way over to the Santa Monica Pier, though we could see the Ferris wheel from our spot on the beach.

I suppose we thought it was too touristy and that all small amusement parks are the same. But, how many can say they are the birthplace of Popeye or the official end of the most famous road in America?

Read more at 5 Reasons to Visit the Santa Monica Pier

Image credit: Jenni at Just Chasing Rabbits

Buy a souvenir key ring, fridge magnet, or the "End of the Road" sign at the Santa Monica Pier.


    1. A good question, Agness!

      Summer crossing the desert can be very uncomfortable, but up high, around Albuquerque and Flagstaff, it might snow in winter.

      We went in late April/early May, and while we were snowed on a few times, it was light and the roads remained open. Crossing the Mojave, it got up to about 40°C, which isn’t tooo hot, especially when it is a dry heat.

      September/October is probably also a good time. Remember, you have to be able to drive, and if the roads – even the Interstates! – are closed by snow, you might be stuck in Clines Corners. Conversely, you want to get out and look at things, and you don’t want to fry while doing it.

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