A Travel Price Comparison for California Santa Monica vs. Redwood National Park for Beaches, Families, Backpackers, and Couples

Should you visit Santa Monica or Redwood National Park?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Santa Monica or Redwood National Park? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a funfilled, energetic, and active town. Other popular activities here include food, beaches, and shopping.

Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is a impressive, monumental, and grand park. You'll find world class beauty here as well. And you can't forget about the beaches and hiking.

Santa Monica and Redwood National Park: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Home to the Santa Monica Pier
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less attractive beach
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Santa Monica or Redwood National Park?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Santa Monica. Although Santa Monica and Redwood National Park are both popular with visitors, Santa Monica has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Santa Monica is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, beaches, and shopping, while Redwood National Park is known for its hiking and impressive beauty. Santa Monica is more touristy than Redwood National Park and is known for its active lifestyle and fun-filled activities. It is also home to the Santa Monica Pier. Redwood National Park is popular for being the home of the world's tallest trees.

How is Santa Monica different from Redwood National Park?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Redwood National Park and Santa Monica. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Santa Monica or Redwood National Park?

Santa Monica
Redwood National Park

Santa Monica is a good destination for its museums and landmarks. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for its historical sights.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Santa Monica. There's a thriving arts scene and a number of museums around town. Check out the Museum of Flying, the California Heritage Museum, or the Santa Monica History Museum.

If you're looking to pass the time, head to a museum or historic sight in Redwood National Park. There is little in the form of museums, but you can visit the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center on the south side of the park and see exhibits about Yurok culture and the area's ecology.


Is the Food Better in Santa Monica or Redwood National Park? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Santa Monica
Redwood National Park

Santa Monica is well known for its restaurant scene. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for its local flavors and cuisine.

Dining out in Santa Monica is an experience not to be missed. You'll find a diversity of restaurants in the area, many of which make use of the town's many farmer's markets. The restaurant scene has a beachy vibe with a lot of outdoor dining opportunities. There are also a range of cuisines to choose from such as Mexican, Italian, casual, and upscale.

While Redwood National Park is not famous for its food, you'll find what you need there. There are no dining or grocery options within the park but there are some options just outside the park.

Is Santa Monica or Redwood National Park Better for Nightlife?

Santa Monica
Redwood National Park

Santa Monica is well known for its evening party scene. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for nightlife.

Santa Monica is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. There's a relaxed and laid back vibe to the nightlife scene. Many venues offer outdoor seating and live music in a casual setting. You can hang out on a patio and enjoy the California climate while you sip cold drinks and the beach town atmosphere.

The nightlife scene is quiet in Redwood National Park The laid back setting offers little in the form of nightlife.

Is Santa Monica or Redwood National Park Better for Beaches?

Santa Monica
Redwood National Park

Santa Monica is an amazing town to visit for the beach. Also, Redwood National Park is still popular, but not quite as popular for its beaches.

Santa Monica offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. Santa Monica Beach is large and lined with bike trails. It's also filled with activity and you'll find many water sports, beach volleyball, and surfing in the area. There's also the famous Santa Monica Pier, which has an amusement park aquarium, Ferris wheal, dining, and shopping.

Redwood National Park is a good option for a beach vacation. The park runs along the Pacific coastline and there are 70 miles of coastal trail in the park. Beaches are rugged and sandy and favorite sections include Gold Bluff Beach, Crescent Beach, and Enderts Beach, which has great tidal pools.


Is Santa Monica or Redwood National Park Better for Hiking?

Santa Monica
Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is an amazing park to visit for the nearby hiking options. However, Santa Monica is not a hiking destination.

People visit Redwood National Park specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. Hikes range from coastal trails to world-renowned hikes through the redwoods. You'll feel humbled in the presence of these grand and majestic trees. Several of the most well-known hikes include Fern Canyon, the Cathedral Trees Trail, and Redwood Creek Trail.

Santa Monica is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Santa Monica or Redwood National Park?

Santa Monica
Redwood National Park

Santa Monica is well known for its shopping areas. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for shopping.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Santa Monica. It's easy to pass the time shopping in Santa Monica. There are independent vendors, fashion boutiques, and art galleries. Head to Montana Avenue or Main Street for some of the best shopping.

Shopping in Redwood National Park can be found for those interested. You'll find park stores at the visitor centers if you want to pick up a small gift or souvenir.

Is Santa Monica or Redwood National Park Better for Families?

Santa Monica
Redwood National Park

Santa Monica is an amazing town to visit for its family-friendly activities. Also, Redwood National Park is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Santa Monica is very family-friendly. Many families spend their days hanging out on the beaches, soaking up the sun, and even trying to surf. There's a boardwalk as well as bike paths that are perfect for people watching. You should also check out the Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, which is a thrilling amusement park.

Redwood National Park is a very family-friendly destination. There are plenty of kid-friendly hikes in the park and the kids will love exploring the varied landscapes and diverse ecosystems. Less than a mile long, Fern Canyon is the perfect hike for little kids and it's not-to-be-missed. Cathedral Trees Trail is three miles, and also a highlight of any trip to the park.


Is Santa Monica or Redwood National Park Better for Couples?

Santa Monica
Redwood National Park

With fun activities for couples, both Santa Monica and Redwood National Park make for a superb place to visit.

Santa Monica is a very popular place to visit for couples. Fun days on the beach, peaceful walks at sunset, and a wild nightlife scene make this the perfect couples destination for couples who enjoy activity and excitement.

Redwood National Park makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There are historic lodges that make for a romantic getaway. You can fill your days with hikes through magical landscapes and breathtaking settings surrounded by the impressive redwoods.

Is Santa Monica or Redwood National Park Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Santa Monica
Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is an amazing park to visit for backpackers. Also, Santa Monica is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit Redwood National Park. There are miles of backcountry trails that let you can explore the park in relative peace and solitude. This is an amazing way to experience the park, but do make sure you purchase a permit in advance.

Santa Monica is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There's no shortage of activities in the area, whether you're into surfing, partying, or sunbathing. There's also at least one hostel that's great for budget travelers and backpackers.

Is Santa Monica or Redwood National Park Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Santa Monica
Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is not a good place to visit for its public transit. However, Santa Monica does not have public transit.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Redwood National Park. There's no public transportation within the park.

Santa Monica does not have public transit. The Metro E Line connects the city to downtown Los Angeles. There's also the Big Blue Bus as well the Santa Monica Circuit, which are small electric carts that offer free rides between Wilshire Boulevard and Marine Street, and from the ocean to Fifth Street.


Is Santa Monica or Redwood National Park a more walkable city?

Santa Monica
Redwood National Park

Santa Monica is well known for its ease of walking around. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for its walkability.

Santa Monica is a very walkable destination. The city is very walkable, particularly in the more touristy areas.

Redwood National Park is not a very walkable town. The park is large and spread out, so you'll need a car to get around.

For even more information, also check out Is Santa Monica Worth Visiting? and Is Redwood National Park Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Redwood National Park or Santa Monica?

How long in Santa Monica or Redwood National Park?

In either Santa Monica or Redwood National Park, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Redwood National Park than Santa Monica because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Santa Monica, and 3-5 days is enough time in Redwood National Park.

Families should spend more time in Santa Monica than Redwood National Park. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Santa Monica, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Santa Monica than Redwood National Park. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Santa Monica that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.


  • How many days in Santa Monica or Redwood National Park? Ideal Length of Stay
    Santa Monica 1-3 
    Redwood National Park 3-5

One day in Santa Monica or Redwood National Park?

In Santa Monica, you'll find shopping and museums. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. One reason most visitors come is for the beaches. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Santa Monica, one day is sufficent for most.

In Redwood National Park, many people enjoy the that this impressive park offers. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

A weekend in Santa Monica or Redwood National Park?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Santa Monica. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. One reason most visitors come is for the beaches. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this town. It offers something for everyone.

Redwood National Park is a fun place to experience. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. Lots of people come for the hiking. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring.


Five days in Santa Monica or Redwood National Park?

Santa Monica is a fun place to experience. One reason most visitors come is for the beaches. It's also a great beach destination, too. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

In Redwood National Park, many people enjoy the that this monumental destination offers. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Lots of people come for the hiking. So, five days is just the right amount of time to spend here.

A week in Santa Monica or Redwood National Park?

You'll find food and shopping around the funfilled destination of Santa Monica. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Redwood National Park is a popular place to visit. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America, The Best G Adventures Tours to United States of America, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Las Vegas.


Which place is cheaper, Redwood National Park or Santa Monica?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Santa Monica is $210, while the average daily cost in Redwood National Park is $111. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Santa Monica and Redwood National Park in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santa Monica $123
    Redwood National Park $44
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santa Monica $246
    Redwood National Park $88
Compare Hotels in Santa Monica and Redwood National Park

Looking for a hotel in Santa Monica or Redwood National Park? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Santa Monica


Hotels in Redwood National Park


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Santa Monica Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santa Monica $50
    Redwood National Park $53

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Monica

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Santa Monica:

  • Santa Monica to Long Beach Airport (LGB) - Deparure Private Transfer: $80
  • Santa Monica to Los Angeles Airport Departure Private Transfer: $74

Is it cheaper to fly into Santa Monica or Redwood National Park?

Prices for flights to both Redwood National Park and Santa Monica change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Santa Monica $52
    Redwood National Park $33

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Monica

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Santa Monica.

  • Los Angeles Premier Dinner Cruise from Marina del Rey: $124

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santa Monica $38
    Redwood National Park $33

Tours and Activities in Santa Monica

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Santa Monica are as follows:

  • Santa Monica Pier's Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $9.99
  • Self-guided adventure hunt: Discover Santa Monica: $13
  • LA & Self-Guided Aerospace Legacy Audio Tour: $30
  • Explore Malibu's Coast: PCH & Beyond - Self Guided Audio Tour: $30
  • Scavenger Hunt Experience in Santa Monica: $30
  • Santa Monica Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Santa Monica Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour: $49
  • Onewheel Board Experience: $60
  • Los Angeles: Latin Dance Club Crawl Experience: $65
  • Sights and Sips Cruise Tour in Marina del Rey: $69
  • LA: Santa Monica & Venice Beach Guided Bike or eBike Tour: $72
  • 3-Hour Santa Monica and Venice Beach Bike Guided Tour : $72

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santa Monica $21
    Redwood National Park $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Monica

Also in Santa Monica, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Private Vintage VW Hippie Tour to Malibu with wine tasting: $195


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Santa Monica and Redwood National Park, we can see that Santa Monica is more expensive. And not only is Redwood National Park much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Redwood National Park would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Redwood National Park and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Santa Monica would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Santa Monica than you might in Redwood National Park.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Santa Monica Expensive? and Is Redwood National Park Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Santa Monica or Redwood National Park?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Santa Monica or Redwood National Park in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Santa Monica and Redwood National Park. Most visitors come to Santa Monica for the beaches and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to Redwood National Park because of the beaches, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Santa Monica is a little warmer than Redwood National Park. Typically, the summer temperatures in Santa Monica in July average around 70°F (21°C), and Redwood National Park averages at about 57°F (14°C).

In July, Santa Monica usually receives less rain than Redwood National Park. Santa Monica gets 0 inches (0 mm) of rain, while Redwood National Park receives 0.1 inches (3 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Santa Monica 70°F (21°C) 
    Redwood National Park 57°F (14°C)

Should I visit Santa Monica or Redwood National Park in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Santa Monica as well as Redwood National Park. The autumn months attract visitors to Santa Monica because of the shopping scene. Additionally, the hiking trails and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Redwood National Park this time of year.

In October, Santa Monica is generally much warmer than Redwood National Park. Daily temperatures in Santa Monica average around 67°F (20°C), and Redwood National Park fluctuates around 55°F (13°C).

Santa Monica usually gets less rain in October than Redwood National Park. Santa Monica gets 0.2 inches (6 mm) of rain, while Redwood National Park receives 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Santa Monica 67°F (20°C) 
    Redwood National Park 55°F (13°C)

Should I visit Santa Monica or Redwood National Park in the Winter?

Both Redwood National Park and Santa Monica are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Santa Monica this time of year.

Santa Monica is much warmer than Redwood National Park in the winter. The daily temperature in Santa Monica averages around 57°F (14°C) in January, and Redwood National Park fluctuates around 48°F (9°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Redwood National Park. In January, Santa Monica usually receives less rain than Redwood National Park. Santa Monica gets 0.7 inches (17 mm) of rain, while Redwood National Park receives 6 inches (152 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Santa Monica 57°F (14°C) 
    Redwood National Park 48°F (9°C)

Should I visit Santa Monica or Redwood National Park in the Spring?

Both Redwood National Park and Santa Monica during the spring are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Santa Monica for the beaches. Also, many visitors come to Redwood National Park in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty.

In the spring, Santa Monica is much warmer than Redwood National Park. Typically, the spring temperatures in Santa Monica in April average around 61°F (16°C), and Redwood National Park averages at about 50°F (10°C).

Santa Monica usually gets less rain in April than Redwood National Park. Santa Monica gets 0.2 inches (4 mm) of rain, while Redwood National Park receives 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Santa Monica 61°F (16°C) 
    Redwood National Park 50°F (10°C)

Typical Weather for Redwood National Park and Santa Monica

Santa Monica Redwood National Park
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 57°F (14°C) 0.7 inches (17 mm) 48°F (9°C) 6 inches (152 mm)
Feb 58°F (15°C) 0.9 inches (24 mm) 49°F (10°C) 4.7 inches (120 mm)
Mar 58°F (15°C) 0.4 inches (10 mm) 50°F (10°C) 5.3 inches (135 mm)
Apr 61°F (16°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 50°F (10°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
May 63°F (17°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 53°F (12°C) 1.5 inches (37 mm)
Jun 66°F (19°C) 0 inches (0 mm) 56°F (13°C) 0.5 inches (13 mm)
Jul 70°F (21°C) 0 inches (0 mm) 57°F (14°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Aug 71°F (22°C) 0 inches (0 mm) 58°F (14°C) 0.5 inches (12 mm)
Sep 70°F (21°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 58°F (14°C) 0.9 inches (23 mm)
Oct 67°F (20°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm) 55°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Nov 62°F (17°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm) 52°F (11°C) 6.5 inches (164 mm)
Dec 58°F (14°C) 0.6 inches (15 mm) 49°F (9°C) 6 inches (153 mm)