There’s so much to see and do in Los Angeles but we missed most of it because, after driving through small towns and along almost deserted roads for several months, the traffic and sheer mass of the city was too much for us. We lasted for two days. :-D
Part of the problem is a lack of places to stay. Walmarts in the city ban overnight parking and there are few RV parks. We were planning on staying at Dockweiler RV Park, a very expensive county campground which offers blacktop camping, but by the time we got there it was closed for the day so we moved onto Hollywood Park Casino. The next morning we noticed “No Overnight Parking” signs posted on the distance chainlink fence. Since no one bothered us we stayed an additional night.
Santa Monica has a lot of restrictions for RV parking on the streets so check for signs. There’s absolutely no RV parking at night unless you have permit. Day time parking is restricted on many streets too. The easiest place to park a RV is in Lot 1 North. The lot is really big and not crowded in off season. The listed price for off season RV parking is a flat $24.00 for any amount of time between 6:00 AM to midnight but we were only charged for the spaces that we used – 2 spaces for $12.00 total. Santa Monica has a law that waives parking fees for anyone with a handicapped placard so we may have been permitted to park in this lot for free.
A path from Lot 1 North leads to a ramp that provides wheelchair access to the pier. The wood walkway on the pier is rough so expect a bumpy ride. The ramp from the pier to street level is very steep and long and access requires a strong helper.
La Brea Tar Pits is a fascinating place. Asphalt has been seeping up from the ground in this spot for tens of thousands of years. The pits were fairly small and shallow but very sticky and deep enough so that many animals that wandered unaware into the asphalt would become stuck. An enormous amount of animal bones, some dating from as far back as 55,000 years, have been recovered from the pits. The most common animal was the dire wolf, then saber tooth cats and coyotes. Bison, horses, ground sloths, mammoths, reptiles, birds and even insects have been found.
The pit pictured below is actually a small lake formed from asphalt mining. It’s filled with a mixture of water and asphaltum.
The park has a paved walkway with interpretive signs. There isn’t a charge to enter the park but there is a $10.00 fee for parking in the lot and an entrance fee for the museum. RVs may be parked in the lot if only one space is used. We fit by backing up over the grass.
The museum and the path are accessible.
Watts Towers was on our way out of LA which was good since this was one place we really wanted to see. Simon Rodia, an Italian immigrant, built this huge work of art over a period of 33 years. The sculptures are constructed of metal rods covered in concrete and embedded with pieces of porcelain, tile, glass, bottles, sea shells, figurines, mirrors and other scrap materials. Rodia stopped working on the towers in 1955 when he went to live with his sister. They’ve withstood the passing of time very well and are in excellent condition.
A fence surrounds the sculptures and to get a good look at everything a guided tour is necessary. Tickets are sold at the art center (free admission to the art exhibits) located in the park.
Everything is accessible except a few places in the tower area that are too narrow.
Do not drive a RV down 107th Street. It’s a dead end with very little room to turn around. Park on Graham Ave and walk down 107th.