Summer is not complete until you spend a day at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California.
We’ve been living in the Bay Area for 3 years now and one of the things I absolutely love about living here is that there are so many great places to go to that are just a short drive away.
Santa Cruz, California is about a 50 minute drive South from San Jose, depending on traffic. It’s a cute little beach city to escape to if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley. Everything moves a little slower and the people are so chill it kind of reminds me a lot of San Diego. The vibe is very laid back and you can find many people just walking around carrying their surfboards and wearing flip flops. A nice change from all the stress that traffic and big corporations in San Jose bring.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been a must go to place for us every summer.
The Best Time To Go
To avoid the huge crowds on the weekends, the best time to go during the Summer months is during the week day. This actually works out great because there are special deals from Monday to Friday that will save you some serious money.
Mondays & Tuesdays are Retro Nights from June 18-August 14
$1.50 Coca Cola drinks
$9.95 Unlimited Attractions
$2 select games
We went on a late Monday afternoon and stayed to the night and there was minimal lines for rides, games and food!
Wednesdays & Thursdays are Coca Cola Nights from June 20-August 16
$14.95 Unlimited Rides if you bring in a Coca Cola product
$9.95 Unlimited Attractions
Wednesday Nights from June 20-August 15
FREE movies on the beach!
Friday Nights from June 15-August 31
FREE live bands right on the beach!
There are so many more events that go on throughout the year so be sure to check their website prior to going so you can plan your trip and get the best out of your stay there!
Where To Park
There is a parking lot directly across from the boardwalk which costs $15 for weekdays and $20 on weekends.
Rides and Games
We love all the rides at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. There’s a good variety of rides for little ones and big ones alike. My 2 ½ year old was able to ride many toddler friendly rides such as the Speedboats and Bouncin’ Buggies while my 7 year old was able to ride the Sea Swings and Rock and Roll.
The games are in my opinion a little pricey. We let Gabe play a couple of games but he blew through his $20 games allowance so fast that he was pretty bummed not being able to win at least one little toy. Some games were $5 for 2 tries! He had more fun riding the games and they were a much better value the day we went.
What To Eat
There are a variety of food options at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. There’s the traditional selection of Hot Dog on A Stick, Asian noodle bowls, pizza, mexican food, burgers, and hot dogs. And then there’s carnival food! Yummy funnel cakes, churros, chocolate dipped ice cream and caramel apples. We even saw a new spot that sold boba milk teas! No matter what you’re in the mood for, the boardwalk is sure to have it.
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is open late during the Summer months, until 11:00pm on most nights (make sure to check their website for exact dates and times). If you can, I’d suggest staying there until the sun goes down. The boardwalk has such a different vibe at night with all the lights lit up and the sounds of the games, rides and children having fun. Just make sure to bring a sweater or jacket because it does get very chilly at night since its right by the ocean.
Whether you’re a Bay Area native or here on vacation, I hope you’re able to visit The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. It truly is such a magical place to spend a long Summer day with your family.
Check out this previous post I did a couple of years ago on Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The kids were so little then!