Santa Monica Beach has alot of things going for it - It's fun, it has alot of tourist attractions, dozens of hotels, and attracts millions. However, it can also be called expensive, overrated, and just plain filthy and dirty. The Pier is great - but prices are HIGH and the water and sand are SO dirty. I grew up going to beautiful Padre Island and the beaches of the Gulf Coast, Texas, Alabama, and Florida - white sandy clean beaches. Santa Monica was a huge shock to me the first time I visited .. and saw YELLOW sand and BROWN GREY water instead of blue.. It's nice to visit but I would NEVER swim in it.