Santa Monica has it all for running, from beaches to bike paths, great parks and rugged trails. Here are some of our favorites.
Ultimate Beach Run: The Strand Beach Path. Few cities in the world rival L.A. for fantastic beach running options. This 22-mile path starts at Will Rogers Beach in the north, to Venice, Manhattan, and Redondo beaches, ending at Torrance Beach in the south. For a good part of this, you can also run right on the beach, which generally features hard-packed sand great for running. A great section is the 3.3 miles from Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach.
Pallisades Park. The 1.6-mile path along Pallisades Park, above the beach, is a real treat: a beautiful, palm-lined greenway with lots of star-gazing and views of the Santa Monica Pier. There are steps down to the beach, too, where you can join the Strand Beach Path.
Zuma Beach, Malibu. A very runnable beach in Malibu. You can run for 1.6 miles one way from the southern end of the beach to the changing station at the northern end. There are also opportunities to combine this with jaunts up into the canyon trails behind Zuma Beach.
Ballona Creek/Playa Del Ray. Just a few miles south of Santa Monica and near LAX, we love the area around Ballona Creek, for its running variety. Run along the wetlands on the Ballona Creek bike path, and combine it with a stint on Dockweiler Beach.
There are tons of additional running opportunities near Santa Monica. See our L.A. running guide, which features 25-plus routes highlighting L.A.'s beaches, bike paths, parks, canyons, and famous streets. We also have running guides for Orange County, and a fun list of the Top 20 Runs on the California Coast.
This article was authored by Mark Lowenstein, chief running officer of Great Runs. Great Runs is the ultimate guide to the best places to run in the world's major cities and destinations. It's for runners who travel and travelers who run.