Where to Find Parking Near Santa Monica Beach

by Paul Joseph  |  Published November 10, 2023

Santa Manica Beach is regularly packed with sun-seekers jostling for the best spot – and we’re not just talking about where to lay your towel, but where to park your car as well.

Cars parked in front of Santa Monica Beach (Photo: Laura LaRose via Flickr / CC BY 2.0 DEED)

The idyllic two-mile stretch of coastline located west of downtown Los Angeles is a magnet for visitors who flock here to enjoy the golden sands, crystal clear waters and famous pier jutting out into the Pacific with its array of entertainment. As with all popular beach towns, there are plenty of parking options within easy reach of the shoreline, but on busy days finding a spot can still be a challenge. So we’ve done the research for you by creating a useful guide on where to find parking near Santa Monica Beach.

The options for parking near the beach come down to metred street parking or off-street lots and garages. Parking is broken down into three zones: the Southern Zone, Central Zone and Northern Zone, with prices starting at around $2.50 per hour, or $7 per day. Alternatively, if you prefer the security of off-street covered parking, there are several lots and garages to pick from. Our number one choice is Ocean Avenue Garage, situated less than 10 minutes on foot from the pier, where you’ll pay $1.50 for the first two hours and $3 for every hour after that, with a daily maximum charge of $21. Another option we’d recommend is an underground garage on Wilshire Boulevard, where you’ll pay just $16 for all-day parking. One other point to bear in mind is that Santa Monica beach lots are usually open from sunrise to sunset only, so be careful not to leave your car beyond these hours.

You can book both of the above parking garages on, as well as at several other parking lots near Santa Monica Beach

Free parking near Santa Monica Beach

If you’re planning to spend the day at Santa Monica beach then you won’t find any free parking – even on Sundays, which is typically a day when parking is free in cities across the US and beyond. However, if you’re content with a short visit, and don’t mind carrying your beach paraphernalia the 15-20 minute walk it takes from the city’s downtown district, then all the public parking structures in downtown offer free parking for the first two hours, and then reasonable hourly rates after that.

Long-stay parking near Santa Monica Beach

If you’re staying in Santa Monica for a longer period and plan to spend a fair bit of time at the beach, you may want to think about finding a long-term parking spot to save you searching for metred street parking each day or paying hefty day rates at a garage. So, for example, at Santa Monica Square garage, located two blocks away from Santa Monica Pier, monthly rates start at $240 – representing a significant saving compared with paying for individual days for an entire month. However, be aware that on some days this garage closes as early as 8.30pm.

For the best parking rates near Santa Monica Beach, go to