Guide to: Santa Cruz

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. 

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