We had Grandma and Grandpa back for a weekend after their trip up to Canada and after accidentally melting them in an attempt to find an open house on the Saturday we decided a trip down to the slightly cooler Santa Cruz was in order. I’m not a massive fan of crowded touristy places but Sam bribed me with breakfast and I do like to be beside the seaside!
Is it weird to have a favorite road? Well mine (so far) is the 17 from Los Gatos down to Santa Cruz, it’s only got a couple of lanes and it goes through some lovely foresty bits with treeeeeees. We headed off nice and early as traffic can get pretty hectic down to the beach, and well breakfast! We went to Santa Cruz Diner and, as always, it was amazing, although a little busy. Somehow, we had pancakes coming out of our ears despite getting omelettes, one day we’ll get used to sides of pancakes! As it was so busy it was quite a long stop for breakfast so we’d recommend getting there as early as you possibly can if you’d prefer less diner time and more beach time, or just go with the flow, you never know who you might meet!
After a few minutes in the car, we made it down to Santa Cruz Boardwalk and straight into Neptune’s Kingdom for a wee play on the arcade games while we waited for the grey to disappear a little. There’s also miniature golf in here and laser tag. We did the miniature golf last time and it was so much fun, there’s even a glow in the dark section that impressed Poppy, but it is definitely not pushchair friendly due to steps up, down and round about and Kenna is getting a bit big to wield a golf club near!
Outside all the rides were in action and as I’m not a ride goer I managed to get a whole lot of steps in as bag lady and baby entertainer while the rest of them took it in turns to enjoy the different rides. You can buy a wrist band to go on all the rides for $39.95 or you can get a top up card and put credit on it, it’s $1 for 1 point and most rides are either 5 or 7 points so it adds up quickly. There are food and drink stands all down the Boardwalk which is both great and slightly annoying as you get bombarded with requests for treats and not the healthy ones lol. But, you can’t beat the atmosphere or that wonderful combination of smells – sugar and sea. For those others of you that are left holding the bags and the baby, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of seats with brilliant ocean views as well as a good few shops where you can accidentally buy beach related clothes and knickknacks.
We were also really lucky to see the Beach Train coming in from Roaring Camp Railroads, it’s such an impressive train and seeing it has made me want to do the beach trip all the more. You can read more about Roaring Camp in Best of the Bay: Roaring Camp if you haven’t already.
If the people, the rides, the food and the shops all get too much, or you run out of money, there’s also a lovely stretch of beach down there which isn’t as busy as you’d think and a pier you can walk (or drive) along and take some pics, see people fishing or grab a beer in the bar at the end.
Have you been down to Santa Cruz? What's your favourite bit? Let us know in the comments below.