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Cruising through California: Santa Monica

IMG employee Cy Witherspoon recounts his and his family's adventures visiting popular destinations throughout California.

By Cy Witherspoon | Aug 15, 2023, 10:46 AM

Recently, my family and I went on quite an adventure to see several parts of California where I previously lived. Having spent most of my life in southern California, I wanted to show my Midwestern family the places I used to spend much of my time.

I admit, I got a little overzealous when mapping out our schedule for the trip. It was my goal to show my wife the beautiful parts of the state while also introducing my kids to the area about which I often tell them stories. We crammed a lot of activities into our week in California, and I was able to document the time we spent in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, San Diego, and many more popular destinations.

Santa Monica Beach

Our adventure began in Santa Monica, which marks the end of one of the most iconic roads in the U.S.: Route 66. Santa Monica is also home to the world-famous Santa Monica Pier.

The legendary boardwalk and pier opened in 1909 and have been featured in thousands of films, TV shows, and music videos. Today, the area hosts several performers such as dancers, sketch artists, musicians, and vendors selling all sorts of memorabilia and souvenirs. Tourists can find an array of jewelry, hats, shirts, signs, magnets, and more for sale along the boardwalk.

Santa Monica Pier

During our visit, we ate at a restaurant on the pier called MariaSol, which offers a fresh and delightful selection of Mexican seafood translated in Spanish as “mariscos”. If you’re in Santa Monica and visit MariaSol, I highly recommend the ahi tuna tostadas – they were delicious!

Fish Tacos

Although it was a little chilly at the time we were visiting, we ate on the restaurant’s patio, which provides a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean. This spot is a great place to admire a west coast sunset over the horizon on a clear day. After a long flight and full first day, my family and I decided to call it an early night so we could rest up and continue our exploration of southern California throughout the coming days.

Pacific Ocean

The following morning, we ate breakfast at Huckleberry, a popular café among the locals, located along the 3rd Street Prominade. Highly recommended by staff at our hotel and reviews online, it did not disappoint. One cool feature of the café is the map drawn in chalk showing where all their suppliers are located within the state.


Huckleberry has a plethora of fresh baked pastries, cookies, and cakes. Their menu also features delicious sandwiches, hearty burritos, and glorious pancakes. There are plenty of vegan and gluten-free options as well, but if you’re an omnivore like me, you would really enjoy the house-cured lox bagel. Overall, Huckleberry is a must-try if you’re in Santa Monica – just make sure you go early in the day because they only serve breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast and Coffee

Once our time in Santa Monica was up, it was off to our next California destination!

If you’re ready to start planning your trip to Santa Monica, don’t forget to include travel insurance on your must-have list. I never travel without it and suggest the same for you. Learn more about IMG’s best travel insurance plans or get a quote today!

About the Author:
Cy Witherspoon has worked at IMG since 2013 and is responsible for recruiting new partners for the company and providing the company’s partners with training and digital support.

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