The 6 Best Running Routes in Santa Monica

Running along the beach
Running along the beach | © Bradley Wentzel / Unspalsh
Dominic Bertolami

Freelance writer

Angelenos love to run, and Santa Monica is an ideal place to get it done. As it offers everything from parks and beaches to stairs and hiking trails, this city is not short of options for those growing tired of the treadmill.

These top running routes located in the neighborhoods or along the coastlines of Santa Monica will inspire those looking for fitness encouragement, while the avid runner will find the unique options just as fun.

1. Douglas Park

Natural Feature

With multiple benches surrounding its quaint duck pond plus a large playground and plenty of trees, this family-friendly park in Santa Monica is an excellent place for a run. Cool down in the shade, or stretch out on the grass. Meet a friend for a jog and a game of tennis on either of the park’s courts, or bring the dog for a bit of midday exercise. With plenty to see in the park, your workout session will fly by in no time.

2. Santa Monica Stairs

Natural Feature

© Bruno Nascimento / Unsplash

Located in the heart of Santa Monica, this staircase and its surrounding area offer a popular place for exercise with a breathtaking view. Take your workout to the next level by tackling this moderately difficult run. With no memberships or waiting in lines, burn off that extra travel weight while enjoying the peace of the outdoors. Make sure to hydrate and bring plenty of water as the California sun can be brutal in the middle of the day.

3. Palisades Park, Santa Monica


3. Palisades Park, Santa Monica
© SD Anderson / Flickr
Situated atop Santa Monica’s coastal sandstone bluffs, take in the Pacific Ocean view while jogging along this grassy path. As Palisades Park lies just a few steps from the beach, end a midday run in the refreshing ocean water, or relax in the cool shade of a palm tree. Bring your dog for a sunset outing, and let the relaxing atmosphere clear your mind while exercising your body. With multiple bus stops and ample parking, this running route is easily accessible no matter where you are coming from.

4. Santa Monica State Beach

Natural Feature

© Konrad Hädener / Flickr

There is no better place to run for free than at the beach. Whether a crisp morning jog or a relaxing sunset sprint, Santa Monica State Beach offers an ideal setting for a bit of outdoor exercise. Take advantage of the variety of training equipment found near the Santa Monica Pier, or treat yourself to a post-run smoothie at the pier. Whatever your goal is, running this route offers plenty to see while leaving your skin with a healthy sun-kissed glow.

5. Will Rogers State Beach

Natural Feature

© JCS / Wikimedia Commons / Lizenz: CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

Made famous as the beach from Baywatch, Will Rogers State Beach is a secluded haven away from the city’s bustling center. This relaxed flat path through Santa Monica and under the famous Santa Monica Pier extends farther toward dramatic bluffs and rolling waves. Stop for a game of volleyball, or just enjoy the view. This escape along the Marvin Braude Bike Path will keep you motivated.

6. Temescal Canyon Loop

Hiking Trail

View of the Temescal Canyon in Pacific Palisades, California.
© Jon Bilous / Alamy Stock Photo

Just north of Santa Monica, this moderate hiking trail features a waterfall during wet seasons and high panoramic ocean views contrasted by deep wooded canyons. Accessible year round, this trail is ideal for a daytime run away from the city. With multiple paths, choose from a variety of routes depending on endurance, strength or fitness levels. It’s a great choice for group outings or to improve on personal goals.

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