The Santa Monica Pier is one of the best Los Angeles spots for an easy family day trip. Every summer, lots of families take their vacations in Los Angeles. Now, there are plenty of fun, cheap and free things to do in Los Angeles, California. Disneyland, Universal Studios, some terrific cultural experiences and hands-on museums all make Los Angeles a great place for family travel. But theme parks can be pricey; as much as children love them, a theme park vacation can really bust our travel budgets. The Santa Monica Pier’s Pacific Park is an old fashioned amusement park, with some rides, games, and the standard cotton candy/hot dog carnival type amusement park fare. My kids love it, and for a family looking to save money on a Los Angeles vacation, it’s a cheap option compared to the big theme parks.
Pacific Park, the family amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier, has 12 amusement rides (roller coasters and such), 21 games, and a separate area for younger children. My kids especially love the “Sea Dragon” ride which swings back and forth like a pendulum. Admission is free, and parents can decide whether to pay for each ride or buy wristbands. While Pacific Park is open from 11:00AM to 11:00PM (12:30PM on weekends), I’d recommend that families leave before it gets too late; a rowdier crowd frequents the Santa Monica Pier at night, particularly during the summer travel season.
For amusement park loving families that live in Southern California, the new “Inkie’s VIP Pass” package can save even more money. The amusement park package provides unlimited rides throughout the year – valid an a renewable, yearly basis – and can be bought online. Inkie’s VIP Pass package, just introduced this year, includes:
- Unlimited rides wristband with no black out days
- Two free “Family or Friend” wristband vouchers
- $20 in game vouchers for any of the midway games
- Four meal vouchers for Pacific Park’s newly cleaned up oceanfront food plaza
- 20% off any other meals at the food plaza (there are some “real food” options here)
- Two additional free ride tickets at the Santa Monica Pier Carousel
- 20% off any merchandise bought at the Pier Gear store
- 15% off a birthday party package at Pacific Park
The VIP Pass at California’s only family amusement park on a pier is currently $125 for children ages 7 and under, or $175 for older kids and adults. While a family vacationing in Los Angeles from out of state should buy the one-day wristbands, those of us who live closer to the Santa Monica Pier year round can save a lot of money on this incredibly popular kids’ activity. I recommend it!