Santa Cruz is a beach town on the California coast, south of San Jose but north of Monterey. While we don’t go to there as often as we should, the drive along the coast is beautiful every time. Especially as you near the Santa Cruz area there are many sites to see and little places to stop along the way. This photo was taken on a sunny, warm day in June:
These two snapshots were taken a couple years later during April on a cool, overcast afternoon. The second photo is courtesy of my father-in-law (credit should be given when due).
The most famous area that even songs allude to is the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Even now it retains much of it’s character from decades ago. As you near the beach area, don’t forget to tell your kids to look out the window so they can start building that enthusiasm.
There is a lot of metered street parking available (don’t forget to bring change) and a couple of lots further down to park in. Entrance into the Boardwalk is free. There is a good selection of rides for young children to young adults to the young at heart. You can buy tickets for the rides or an all-day bracelet as you would at a fair or carnival. Some friends of ours even got season passes and had a great time regularly heading to the Boardwalk during this past summer.
While we may have our daughter go on a ride or two, we prefer to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the beach. These pictures are from a few years ago when we first moved back to the States from California. Ah, I love freshly made funnel cakes with tons of fruit topping and overflowing with powdered sugar! While munching on that my husband and daughter braved the cold waters. Careful, those waves can come in pretty fast and unexpectedly…
After a full day of fun in the sun, water, and rides, you and your little ones will be pooped. And while you can’t sleep on the way home if you are the one driving, you will most definitely feel like doing this:
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Oh my goodness, I had no idea it was so gorgeous there! And fun too!
So now we know what to do together the next time you’re in the area 🙂
I haven’t been to Santa Cruz in years! I think it is time to plan a trip! Thanks for sharing.
Absolutely! These photos were actually taken 1-2 years ago so I’m due for a vacay there as well 😛
You know– I have family in California but have never visited. Is this what I’m missing? It’s beautifual!
Are you kidding?! You so need to visit!
Forgot to add: Lol at baby girl. She looks totally worn out.
I know – don’t you love the ‘spa’ cover over her eyes? Yes, she did that herself… 😛
I live in Santa Cruz and January is a great time to visit! Beautiful weather and less tourist! In the summer it can be really foggy.
Really? Maybe we’ll have to plan another trip down sooner rather than later. Do you have good food suggestions? So far we’ve only had junk food and something at a pricey seafood place…
Beautiful photos! We never really stopped in Santa Cruz, and just enjoyed it from the road. We loved driving down the Coast and were only there on our way to somewhere else. We spent most of our coast time in Monteray or Pebble Beach. I really miss it!
It can be a nice stop for an afternoon visit or so. We have been leaning toward the beach in Carmel lately and our next trip south we hope to include the waterfall at Pfeiffer Beach near Big Sur. We’ve actually never stopped at Pebble Beach though – like it?
So hard to find good food in Santa Cruz! You would think we would have a good seafood place, but we don’t. We don’t get to get out a lot as we have 2 little boys, but I really like Aldo’s and Jonnys in the harbor. Jonny’s is a bit more expensive. Restaurante Avante is good too, on mission. I have heard great things about Celler Door on swift street, but haven’t tried it out yet. My absolute favorite sushi place is in Scotts Valley and it’s called Rumble Fish. They have a great clam miso! Now is a good time to go visit the monarchs at Natural Bridges.
Hmm, it sounds like it’s better for us to drive back and eat something good a bit further north 😛 Good idea about the monarchs! We’ve been meaning to do that for a long time – thanks for the reminder!
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