Santa Cruz is located 116 km south of San Francisco on the cold Pacific shores of Northern California. It serves as a living stereo type for how many east-coasters may envision California with its palm lined beach, amusement park boardwalk, ocean wharf and surfing culture. This town was even inspired a Beach Boys tune.
The beach is broad and expansive with a year round colorfully painted amusement park which is reminiscent of the amusement parks I remember as a kid. Complete with roller coasters, cotton candy, arcades and clowns. The Santa Cruz Wharf jets far out into the ocean and apart from some good seafood restaurants also serves as a rest stop for wary sea-lions. A mile from the pier the surfing culture is alive and well, as dozens of surfers of all ages paddle out and wait to ride out the perfect waves.
In the downtown core can be found more of the stereo types one would imagine of California as vegan cafes, organic grocery stores, street buskers, surfer shops and palm lined streets.
There are lots of local recreation options within the nearby state parks as Lighthouse Field State Beach, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, Twin Lakes State Beach, Henry Cowell Redwoods and Seabright State Beach. Whether it be hiking, biking, boating, deep sea fishing or surfing; the area has many sports to offer.
Getting there: Domestic and International flights service San Francisco International daily. From there its a beautiful drive down California Route 1 which hugs the Pacific shores and features cool little beach towns, seafood cafes and endless beaches.
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