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where do I go

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dallas,tx
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where do I go

somebody please help me. I live in texas and never see water. I am trying to decide between santa monica and laguna beach. which one is nicer. Also I booked at the Fairmont miramar is it worth it?

Los Angeles...
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1. Re: where do I go

It depends on your interests and what you want to do.

Laguna is much more beautiful but it's more of an artsy pretty type town. You'd have to head a little north to Newport Beach or Huntington Beach for more of a beachy laid back nightlife feel.

Santa Monica is nice and has a lot more to do without the artsy expensive feel. More of a real beach scene and night life. Much closer if you want to venture out to other tourist type places like Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Malibu.

Sutton Coldfield...
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2. Re: where do I go

We stayed at the Fairmont Miramar a couple of weeks ago, it was beautiful - lovely surroundings, comfortable room and attentive service. It was right by 3rd Street Promenade which was great in the evenings. Our teenage daughters were in shopping heaven!

It was nice to look at the ocean from the hotel room, but when you go down to the beach it's quite scruffy and I found the large number of vagrants lying around on all the benches quite offputting. They are mostly harmless, but I did see a few being agressive to people and begging while they were out eating meals on 3rd St.

We didn't go to Laguna, so can't comment on that.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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for Singapore
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3. Re: where do I go

The Fairmont is a nice hotel, it wasnt as always this luxurious (10 years ago but it is always one of the top hotel in SM) as it is now. It has gone upscale like the whole of Santa Monica.

I had stayed there before and after it had changed management (and name) a few times and always a great choice if you want to be near (next to) the Promenade.

As for the homeless in SM, they used to be everywhere esp. at night (sleeping around the promenade, cant even get a bench if you want to !) but since the cleaning up has began (new buildings, upgrading of old ones etc), the homeless are seen less and less and thank godness SM doesnt smell like their public bathroom anymore !

You will be happy either beach you choose as they are much nicer than Galveston (I had lived in Houston for 5 years after I left Santa Monica). I was horrified when I went to Galveston. Anyway, have a whale of a time ! It is so different from TX, you will like it.

dallas,tx
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4. Re: where do I go

Thanks everyone so far. I don't care so much about doing LA as I already live in a big city with great shopping. I am looking for something really beautiful and fun where we can sit at sidewalk cafe's and hang out. Please keep the responses coming.

Los Angeles...
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595 posts
8 reviews
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5. Re: where do I go

That can be either place. Both places will have their cafes and restaurants with nice views.

It all comes down to do you want more "stuff" to do and nightlife (Santa Monica) or more relaxing and pretty to look at (Laguna).

dallas,tx
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6. Re: where do I go

that's what I neede to know. Thanks...Oh is santa monica somewhat clean or is run down and smelly. I saw one review that eluded to this. No offense to the people of SM

Los Angeles...
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7. Re: where do I go

S.M. itself is fine. There are a good amount of harmless homeless people that hang around near the beach and the third street promenade. I'm sure if you happen to walk where one just took a leak it would smell not too fresh, but as a whole the city is clean.

Hermosa Beach...
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8. Re: where do I go

"[I]s santa monica somewhat clean or is run down and smelly."

The beach at Santa Monica has a large commercial pier with a few amusement park rides and amusement park-type food stalls on it. There's a large parking lot adjacent to the beach just north of the pier. For this reason, Santa Monica gets more visitors and people using the area than Laguna Beach, I think. Santa Monica does have a larger homeless population that Laguna Beach as well. This might surprise people from areas with little or no homeless population. Someone who lives on Maui would probably find all of the beaches in Southern California dirty and crowded, I think.

Not that Laguna Beach is quieter and more secluded, because it isn't. It's just that there's fewer people really using the beach and the cities that are adjacent to the beach aren't as populated as Santa Monica. Parking near both beaches will always be difficult.

It can get busy and crowded around the pier in Santa Monica, but if you travel north or south a little bit, it actually gets pretty quiet.

Physically, the beach at Santa Monica is separated from the town by a eight-lane highway (the Pacific Coast Highway) and a steep cliff. There's only a few points that provide a walking bridge over the Pacific Coast Highway, including stairs that lead down to the beach from the pier. At Laguna, there's still the same Pacific Coast Highway to cross (only in Laguna I think it's a four- or six-lane road), but the beach is pretty much level with the town in most places. If you go a little north or south there are cliffs.

If you're planning on spending a lot of time actually on the sand at the beach, I would say Laguna's Beach is a little more pristine than Santa Monica. However, Santa Monica has more to offer tourists because of it's larger size and location.

If you want to see what the area near the beach at Santa Monica is like, here's a link to a live web cam:

http://www.westland.net/piercam/

I've also taken a few photographs of the area:

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These photographs were taken late in the afternoon on a Saturday in November, back in 2003. This was during the off-season when fewer people use the beach.

dallas,tx
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9. Re: where do I go

wow thank you

dallas,tx
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10. Re: where do I go

what do you all think of the Ambose hotel. i booked at the fairmont and I know the view is nice of the ocean but it is really pricey. I am wondering if I wouldn't be better off saving my money and just hanging out down by the water. I am not a hang on the beach person but side cafe's and stores are up my alley that I can read at and look at the water. Opinions please. Thanks in advance

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