The 5-acre oceanfront site upon which the Annenberg Community Beach House now sits was originally developed during the Gold Coast era of the 1920s by William Randolph Hearst for actress Marion Davies. The Davies estate featured a mansion of 100-plus rooms and an ornate marble swimming pool. As with many Hearst projects, the vision of architect Julia Morgan provided a cohesive grace to the rambling estate. The Beach House was a hot spot on Santa Monica’s Gold Coast, with Hearst and Davies entertaining luminaries from the Hollywood set, such as Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Samuel Goldwyn, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable and other stars of the day.
In 1947, Joseph Drown purchased the property from Davies and converted it into Oceanhouse, “America’s Most Beautiful Hotel,” along with the Sand & Sea Club, a limited-membership beach club. After the Oceanhouse venture ended, the main mansion was demolished in 1956. The popular Sand & Sea Club continued to operate.
The property was sold to the State of California in 1959, continuing to operate as the ever-popular Sand & Sea Club under a concession agreement. In the 1990s, the City of Santa Monica ran the facility, known as ‘415 PCH,’ until the 1994 Northridge Earthquake severely damaged all structures on site.
In recovering from the earthquake, the City embarked on an extensive public input process to re-envision the role of 415 PCH as an important public gathering space. Although a reuse plan was adopted in 1998, the project sat on hold while the City tried to secure funding. Wallis Annenberg of the Annenberg Foundation, held fond memories of visiting the Sand & Sea Club. When she learned of the City’s struggle to identify funding to realize its vision for a year-round public beach facility, she enthusiastically offered to help. The Annenberg Foundation provided a $27.5 million grant that paved the way for the site’s rehabilitation.
Staff from the Foundation and the City worked with Frederick Fisher Partners, Architects; Charles Pankow Builders; Historic Resources Group; Mia Lehrer & Associates; AdamsMorioka; and Roy McMakin to form the new Beach House. The project involved rehabilitation of the historic Marion Davies Guest House and pool, as well as construction of new recreation and event spaces. Three overarching themes guide the interpretation of the site with our year round cultural programming reflecting those themes.
In some navigational systems the address may appear as 415 Palisades Beach Road, Santa Monica, CA. Questions? Call 310-458-4904
Annenberg Community Beach House
415 Pacific Coast Highway
Santa Monica, CA, 90402
From Los Angeles:
Take the 10 West, which will become Pacific Coast Highway when it reaches the beach. At the second traffic light, Beach House Way, turn left into the parking lot.
From Santa Monica (downtown):
Head west towards Ocean Ave. Left at Ocean Ave. Right at Moomat Ahiko Way (after Colorado/the Pier entrance) which will have signs for Pacific Coast Highway. Left at Beach House Way into our parking lot.
Pacific Coast Highway south. Right at Beach House Way, into parking lot.
When you arrive, note the number of your space and pay at the Park & Pay machines located in each section of the lot.
The Beach House lot has 14 preferred parking spaces for fuel efficient vehicles and 12 disabled parking spaces.
Guests displaying a valid Disabled Person placard or license plate, or Senior Beach permit issued by the City, may park in the Beach House lot at no charge.
If the Beach House lot is full, additional parking lots 8 & 9 (south) and Will Rogers State Beach (north) are within walking distance. The bike path connects these lots to the Beach House on the ocean side.
Check Santa Monica’s City-Wide Parking Map for updated information about the Beach House parking lot and lots Pacific Coast Highway.
Santa Monica hotels are all within four miles to the ocean, with most adjacent to or in walking distance of the beach. The Santa Monica hotel collection has a wide variety of accommodations from luxury to budget and offers a central location to greater Los Angeles. Santa Monica hotels are also near Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Downtown LA and Hollywood.
Here are some helpful sites: