Basically grew up coming to this quaint surf town and then I got engaged here so it will forever hold a special place in my heart.
So excited to spend a couple days with the family here before we head up north to Tahoe (NV side!)
S T A Y
The Dream Inn is the main place to stay in Santa Cruz. It overlooks the boardwalk and the Pacific so it is a total dream. BUT the past few times we stayed here – we went Air Bnb and it was perfect. I recommend staying somewhere near East/West Cliff or even Capitola.
E A T
Verve Coffee is a must stop. If you love good coffee, you’ll love Verve. They do it right and then some. Pick up some of their merch while you’re at! Camp mugs are a favorite.
Walnut Avenue Cafe – cute little breakfast/diner with delicious home-cooked style food.
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing – what you’d think you’d find. An amazing local spot with delicious organic brews.
West End Tap & Kitchen – a great place to eat before diving in to SCMB or SCMW.
The Crow’s Nest – cool outdoor seating (right on the water) delicious food and on weekends they have live music. If artichokes are on the menu, get’em!
Pizza My Heart – a must! Multiple locations – doesn’t matter, just choose one!
Pleasure Pizza – surfers love pizza and you’ll love this spot too.
The Penny Ice Creamery – the best spot for ice cream. Hands down.
Oswald – nice date night spot. Great atmosphere, hand crafted drinks and fine dining cuisine.
S H O P
Santa Cruz Boardroom – all things surf and skate. Their logo shirts are a staple. Free stickers!!
Downtown Capitola – galleries, boutiques and art galore! Plus some great restaurants on the beach. The colorful buildings make this little town a total GEM.
Downtown Santa Cruz – Gap, American Apparel, Oneil Surf to local shops. Everyone I’m sure will find something.
B E A C H E S
Main Beach – right off the boardwalk, can’t miss it!
Seabright State Beach – view of the boardwalk, lighthouse and small craft harbor.
Capitola Beach – typically a busy beach, but centrally located to downtown Capitola which makes it a hot spot!
Seacliff State Beach – a little less busy and you can camp/hike.
Rio Del Mar State Beach – a quaint little beach with public parking, restrooms, picnic benches etc. This is where I spend most of my CA beach days.
A C T I V I T I E S
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk – a classic! Do as little as you want there, or go BIG! Either way it’s a total spectacle.
Santa Cruz Wharf
Santa Cruz Surfing Museum – a nice little walk on W. Cliff you’ll make your way to the quaint Surfers Museum. Sweet little spot. Great for pictures!
Bike Rental – the day my husband proposed we rented a tandem bike and rode it all around Seacliff and Capitola.
Surf Lessons – surf city! But if you’re not from the West Coast, fair warning the water is collldddd.
Paddle Boarding – if you’re up for the challenge! Perfect spot in Santa Cruz harbor.
Drive up to Carmel! With world class shops, restaurants and coastal views, it won’t disappoint!
P A C K
Sunny days and chilly nights. Layers are key.