We head north from the Los Angeles Harbor to Santa Monica. Santa Monica is the last congested city we will encounter on this leg of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Santa Monica Beach is really very nice. 35 miles of sand with playgrounds and picnic areas. It is also more handicapped accessible than many of the beaches. In addition to all that it was the original Muscle Beach. However, the real tourist magnet in Santa Monica is its famous double-jointed Santa Monica Pier which is actually two adjoining piers.
I am not much of an amusement park enthusiast so we only did a drive-by the pier — a very slow drive-by, I might add. It doesn’t appear that much has really changed in the forty years since I was last there. It still has the 1920s carousel, the video arcade, the aquarium, shops and restaurants. It also has a trapeze school which I do not believe was there 40 years ago. The end of the pier is still reserved for fishermen.
Santa Monica is also the end or for some the beginning of Route 66.
Pacific Coast Highway 1 runs north to Gaviota State Park before it turns inland. The coastline is beautiful and as we travel north the ocean waters will begin to turn from blue to turquoise blue which is beautiful and as we travel north the coast becomes more rugged, the unrelenting waves crash into the cliffs and protruding rocks. The Beauty and the Beast quickly come to mind as a descriptive.
You have seen the Mugu Rock many, many times but you probably don’t know that. It’s featured in television commercials, particularly auto commercials. Totally off track, but renting this piece of the PCH does not come cheap. $70 an hour to Caltrans with a 2 hour minimum and over $90 an hour per officer assigned to the project goes to the California State Highway Patrol. Then there are the insurance coverage and other requirements to get the permit. 79 permits for commercials were issued in 2012.
Whether you plan on fishing, sightseeing, cliff diving or rock climbing be aware that the Mugu Rock area while very beautiful is very dangerous.