Going outside during the coronavirus always feels a little bit fraught with danger to me. Hiking is beyond me right now, but I was longing for a walk close to the water, and Andy was longing for some outside exercise. So, we decided to give a stroll through Palisades Park in Santa Monica, California, a try.
Palisades Park offers plenty of grassy spots and benches to relax. It also features a trail that runs along the bluffs, treating you to gorgeous views of the ocean and Santa Monica Pier. I’m not going to lie, depending on when you go, you will have to deal with a fair number of people. I’m not talking about congregating crowds – these are just people, like us, hoping to get away from their apartments for a while.
Tips for Visiting Palisades Park
Tip 1: If you want to avoid as many people as possible, go in the early morning (and possibly in the late afternoon). You will still encounter maskless joggers, but Santa Monica generally enforces the mask rule, so most people you encounter relaxing in the park are masked up. Early mornings, even on the beach, have comparatively fewer people milling about, and that makes me breathe a bit easier when venturing to Palisades Park.
Tip 2: Social distancing is pretty easy to do, but if you are nervous, do not sit on the benches. They are placed close to the walking trail, and it could mean that you are briefly maskless while eating your lunch and a maskless jogger, walkers, families could pass. I understand that the risk is considerably less outside, but if you don’t want to take the chance, find a spot away from people and the trails.
Tip 3: Do not forget your mask. At this point, I think most of us remember to have one with us at all times, but in Santa Monica, you’ll get a steep fine if you are caught outside without one (with minor exceptions).
Tip 4: Relax. This is the one that is hardest for me. When I see people coming anywhere towards me, I tend to start strategizing how to get away from them. It’s not the most relaxing feeling in the world. But once I’m watching the ocean or eating lunch with Andy in a shady spot in the grass (socially distanced, of course), I do start to enjoy Southern California’s beauty. I’m really good at staying inside on most days, but I admit that there are times when being outside feels like a much-needed soul boost.