Venice Hotels Articles

May 21, 2010

Travel destinations: Venice Beach, California

You Can Travel With Your Kids (and Have Your Own Fun, Too):

How We Found the Unexpected in Venice Beach, California

This week, my husband, one year-old son and four year-old daughter returned from a ten-day journey by car (yes, I’m serious) from our home in the corner of Northwest Arkansas to the coast of California. And we survived. It was kind of an experiment – we hoped for the best – that there was a way we could travel with our kids and have some of the fun that we desire, too – but expected the worst.

With two young children, we really didn’t know what to expect. We weren’t expecting the perfect vacation, for certain, but we were looking for an experience, and an experience – not just your average trip to the beach, is what we got. With only booked lodging and no real plan, we somehow found a perfect balance of adult and kid activities, all without spending a ton of money, in the Santa Monica area, and most memorably, Venice.

Unable to find any affordable lodging available in Santa Monica, our original destination, I had sort of impulsively booked a beachfront place in Venice, on the Boardwalk, via v.r.b.o.com (Vacation Rentals by Owner). After all, we had decided upon the trip precisely ten days before we planned to leave, so there wasn’t much available. Afterward, I read some travel reviews suggesting that Venice was “seedy” and the Boardwalk a “freakshow,” and I got a bit nervous. But I had booked it; it was done. We were going.

We discovered that Venice is definitely funky, but not scary, and our lodging, Su Casa, is certainly a little diamond in the rough, smack dab in the middle of the wackiest stretch of the Boardwalk. The location is definitely not for everyone. But when we travel, we like explore what life is like there, trying to blend in and escape being just tourists. We did this by finding small local groceries, hitting restaurants frequented by locals and biking aimlessly through the streets of Venice and Santa Monica. And the people ones passing on the bike path, working in restaurants, even an auto mechanic!)are possibly the coolest I’ve encountered in all my travels. They smile, the say hello, they go ga-ga over your kids. They make so-called Southern Hospitality look, well, not so much.

Over the course of our six days there, we became familiar with many of the Boardwalk characters on a daily basis: homeless woman with a daily coffee, pedicure and “assistant,” (as we liked to joke), six o’clock singing man, and Man-Cat

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