When it comes to Santa Monica sports, you can expect just about everything under the sun. (Of course you can, it's Santa Monica after all!)
Some of the most popular beach sports include surfing, stand-up-paddle-boarding (SUP), biking, basketball, beach volleyball, and skateboarding.
This guide to Santa Monica sports can help you find the best places in Santa Monica to indulge in your favorites, or help you find somewhere to go to learn new ones.
Among the most popular sports here? Surfing, of course! The water's fine and especially friendly to first-time riders, thanks to shallow waters with a forgiving sandy bottom.
It probably helps, too, that rarely do Santa Monica waves break above 4 feet. But they often curl nicely, making for an easy, friendly ride for beginning boarders.
Get a list of City of Santa Monica authorized surf camps and surf instructors here. Experienced surfer? Drop in with the locals at the site of the day's best swells via Santa Monica Surf Meet Up to get the latest.
SUP - or stand-up paddle surfing - was originally used by ancient Polynesians to travel between islands.
Stand up paddle surfing is an incredible workout, and it's much easier to learn and more leisurely than normal surfing.
The board is usually more than 9 feet in length and 2.5 feet wide, making it much more stable and easy to balance.
Stand up paddle surfers don't try to catch waves - many people enjoy paddling around calm waters and scouting for sea life.
SUP Lessons and Rentals:
The 22-mile-long Marvin Broad bicycle trail is one of the best reasons to rent bikes and hit the road while you're in Santa Monica. It has the distinction of being the world's longest oceanfront bike path.
But what really sets it apart is the starkly different things you'll see along the meandering trail.
It begins at Will Rogers State Beach, the northernmost point of Santa Monica, and winds its way along Santa Monica State Beach, under the Santa Monica Pier, through Venice Beach, beneath the flight path of departing LAX planes, past a refinery, and into Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach.
Best of all, it's relatively flat, so kids can do it, too. Along the way, you can also check out where The Doors vocalist Jim Morrison stayed and played in here. You can get the Jim Morrison bike tour here.
Here's a guide to where to play beach volleyball, basketball, and tennis in Santa Monica.
Beach volleyball courts:
There's nothing like a good pick up game of basketball to get the blood flowing. You won't have much trouble finding a place to play in Santa Monica.
Bring your ball and play as long as you want at these courts:
Tennis, anyone? If so, you've got plenty of inexpensive courts ($4 per person per hour for visitors; $3.25 for residents) in Santa Monica where you can get your game on:
Be sure to make a reservation as these courts fill up fast, especially during the summer months.
Call the tennis reservation office at (310) 394-6011 to lock in your game time. City-sponsored group lessons are offered year-round; for information call (310) 458-2239.
Skateboarding is a favorite sport here. Dogtown, anyone? With so much skating lore in our past and present, you'll find people skateboarding virtually everywhere - along the bike paths, as an easy mode of transport on the streets, and at the city's own skatepark.
Santa Monica's Cove Skatepark is 20,000 square feet of ramps, bowls, stairs, a pool with tile coping, an over-vert bowl and the Douglas Park rail designed for skateboarding, bicycle riding, and in-line skating.
This is the place to go if you're looking for a challenging skatepark to get the adventure adrenaline flowing.
The Cove, as locals call it, is a drop-in public skatepark. Protective gear (helmets, kneepads, elbow pads) is required.
There are "Bikes Only" and "Adult Skate" (for people 18 years and older) hours, so be sure to call first before heading out to make sure your mode of ride is on for the day. More than once my son and I have arrived to find it was "Bikes Only" hours and my skateboarder was mega disappointed.
The Cove is in Memorial Park, where you'll also find baseball and softball fields, an indoor gym, and a fun playground for the little ones.
Get more information at The Cove website, or call The Cove directly at (310) 458-8237 to check the day's riding schedule and for more information. Discover other Santa Monica Activities here.