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Spend a Day with History

Few of those who visit Santa Monica know about one of its most spectacular pieces of history. The Annenberg Community Beach House may sound like any run of the mill beachfront community center, but don’t let its name fool you. This preserved five-acre property belonged to none other than the mistress of newspaper tycoon William R. Hearst: Marion Davies. Located right on the water only a few blocks from Oceana Beach Club, this neat location is the perfect way to spend a day with history.

Built during the Gold Coast era in the 1920s, the Annenberg House was originally a private, oceanfront mansion before it was expanded into "America’s Most Beautiful Hotel" in 1947. Now converted to be accessible to the entire Santa Monica community—visitors and natives alike—the house offers several ways to uniquely spend your day. With plenty of entertaining options for both children and adults, this could be your perfect family activity. Play board games in the game room, or spontaneously sign up for a yoga class. Rent a paddle board, watch local synchronized swimmers dart through their routines, or cheer on your child as they play youth beach volleyball.

For a small fee, you can even swim in the same historic pool as stars like Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, and Greta Garbo. Wander the halls of Davies’ sprawling guest house and let your volunteer tour guide describe the stylish and dramatic lives of Hearst, Davies, and their friends.

If you’d rather not share the pool with those under the age of eighteen, wait until sunset, when the property’s famous pool becomes a sanctuary for you and your company. Watch the sun settle into the Pacific Ocean from a lounge chair or on the pool steps, and enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks from the Annenberg Community Beach House staff.

Make sure to check the Beach House’s calendar before dropping by—the estate runs on very organized hours, and sometimes only certain attractions will be available, depending on the day. No matter what you do at the Annenberg Community Beach House, your bed back at the Oceana Beach Club will be waiting for you when you get back.

Address: Annenberg Community Beach House, 415 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica, CA 90402

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