The Road to Santa Monica

Even desert rats need to escape the 115 degree heat from time to time.  Where do we go?  Many flee to the sunny coast of California during the summer months to enjoy the cool breeze.  We find ourselves on the Central Coast where temperatures can be 40-50 degrees cooler than in Phoenix.  While Hubby went fishing with the older two of our children, I drove down Highway 1 with our youngest to check out Malibu and Santa Monica.  This was an overnight trip centered around what a six year old enjoys doing…namely playing in the surf and visiting an amusement park (so Geoffrey’s Malibu would have to be saved for another time)…but I happened to find a few treats for us grown-ups along the way.

We drove through the agriculture town of Oxnard past the Port Hueneme Naval Base and Point Mugu.  I was looking for a spot for lunch that was on the beach and not too crowded.  I read many reviews about Paradise Cove Beach Cafe, and it looked promising from a location and ambiance standpoint.  Located at 28128 Pacific Coast Highway, Paradise Cove has a small parking lot that charges $30 for parking for only 4 hours, or $4 if you spend $25 or more at the restaurant.  This cost detracts many people from going here, which, for us, was a good thing.  We arrived at 12:30 and found a great parking spot near the cafe.  We spent about an hour eating, and that left us three hours to play in the surf.

Paradise Cove Beach Cafe


At noon on a weekday, we had the place to ourselves


The views up the coastline


Fish tacos three ways: cajun, grilled or with shrimp


Wash them down with a Pineapple Tequila Mojito


For large parties they have these adorable banquettes


The Gigantic Iced Seafood Cocktail, plus they serve the LARGEST whole fried catfish I have seen


Stuck in traffic along the PCH, but at least there are great views

A thirty minute drive down the road from Paradise Cove (without traffic) at 1 Pico Blvd, is the iconic Santa Monica hotel, Shutters On The Beach.  I felt this would be the perfect spot to spend the night and explore Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier.  A grey shingled structure with white wood trimmings, Shutters faces the Santa Monica beach and is an easy two blocks from the Santa Monica pier.  The hotel and rooms were remodeled in 2008, with the interior designed by Michael S. Smith.  I found the furnishings just lovely and very comfortable…especially the bed.  The front desk personnel were accommodating and hospital to kids…another plus.  Upon check-in, my daughter was given a children’s Shutters tee and some bath toys.  I opened a small bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse out of the room fridge, chilled on our balcony while watching the waves before running onto the beach to enjoy the sunset.  What a slice of heaven!

Shutters on the Beach


Our room with bed linens by John Robshaw


Salt water taffy in Coast restaurant at the hotel


Off to Venice Beach for a morning bike ride


The end of the road


My Instagram pic of the “fairest” wheel, as my 6 year old calls it


Paradise Pier


‘Nuf said

Have a lovely week and weekend!

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  • melissa

    So beautiful! Love the post and the fantastic pictures. 🙂

  • melissa

    So great! What a lovely place and love the fantastic photos! 🙂

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