Santa Cruz, California

From museums to the iconic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, there’s something to suit everyone’s interests in Santa Cruz. Over the years, this Central Californian coastal city has become synonymous with sand, surfing, and fun. The small city of roughly 65,000 also has museums and historic sites which offer a break from the obvious fun in the sun. Here are six famous sites to visit in Santa Cruz.  

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Wharf

West Cliff Drive

Santa Cruz Surfing Museum

Roaring Camp

Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

If you’re in the mood for a classic summertime experience, you definitely need to visit the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Families from all over the world come just to enjoy the boardwalk.  The amusement park opened in 1907 and is known as one of the world’s best seaside recreational attractions. You’ll enjoy several historic roller coasters to choose from, including the Giant Dipper, which was constructed in 1924. If you’re visiting on a hot day and need to cool off, make sure to take a ride on the Logger’s Revenge.

As the boardwalk is the area’s main attraction, it’s practical to book a room at a nearby hotel.

Santa Cruz Wharf

The Santa Cruz Wharf is a famous fishing pier which dates back to 1914. It’s built out of Douglas fir pilings that are more than 70 feet in length. They are lodged 21 feet down into the ocean floor. The pier itself stretches more than 2,000 feet.  With several nearby boutiques, you’ll enjoy everything from fishing to dining and shopping.  

West Cliff Drive

For a truly breathtaking scenic experience, take a leisurely stroll or a bike ride to West Cliff Drive. You’ll enjoy six miles of stunning coastal scenery as you travel down the coastline. The road’s panoramic views are sure to provide for a memorable photography session. If you get tired as you’re walking or cycling, you can rest on one of the many benches. The path is also wheelchair accessible.

The Surfing Museum

This small but informative ode to the golden state’s favorite pastime has a unique history and claims to be the world’s first surfing museum. It’s located inside the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse.

Roaring Camp Railroad

Are you ready to go on an old-fashioned train ride? Hop aboard the steam train at the Roaring Camp Railroad and enjoy your trip through redwood groves and up and through the mountain where you’ll eventually end up at the top of Bear Mountain. Enjoy stunning scenery and learn about the unique history of the area during their guided tour.

Santa Cruz Mission

You’ll be within walking distance of the downtown Santa Cruz area when you visit Mission Santa Cruz. The mission experienced significant damage in 1857 during an earthquake and only a single small adobe structure survives. A replica of the rest of the complex was built in 1931. If you’re an art enthusiast, you’ll definitely want to go inside the church to see the 1797 oil painting of the Virgen de Guadalupe.

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