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June 07, 2023 2:52pm
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Visit Northern Californias Most Well Known Beach Town

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Sausalito residents and visitors looking for a day or weekend near the ocean complete with summertime fun, food, and an atmosphere that will remind you of your childhood days at the beach won’t be disappointed with the many entertainment and recreation offers in Santa Cruz, CA! Whether you are in the mood for a laid back day in the sun hanging out at the beach, shopping and searching for foods of all flavors, or surfing one of California’s most famous breaks, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied in Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz Attractions

Santa Cruz is known as a beach town destination with a laid back “by the shore” feeling that you won’t find in many other locales in the state. Owing to its long tradition as both a surfing and amusement park town, Santa Cruz tends to be the place that Northern Californians think of when they think of vacations on the beach.

Visit the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk while you are in town and see the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the country (also a designated State Historic Landmark). With the historic and whimsical restored carousel (also a National Historic Landmark) circa 1911, and one of the oldest surviving wooden roller coasters, the Beach Boardwalk is a throwback to simpler times with an impressive offering of amusement rides for all ages and a unique seaside location.

Santa Cruz is also well known throughout California as a haven for artists, musicians, and political activism and the vibrant personality of the city can be felt throughout the many coffee houses, music venues, and even in the outdoor and downtown spaces. Check out the downtown area for uniquely Santa Cruz themed shops and great restaurants, and hang out until the after hours scene picks up and find nightlife to fit any taste!

The Original Surf City

Perhaps its biggest claim to fame, Santa Cruz is among the best surfing spots in all of Northern California. Residents as far north as Napa and Sausalito and from hundreds of miles in every direction flock to Santa Cruz to hang out by the beach and surf the famous breaks. Bring your own gear, or take a look at the many local surf shops and rental outfitters so that you can get out and catch a wave of your own.

Avid surfers from around the world visit Santa Cruz to stop by the many historic places that are important to the surfing world. From the Santa Cruz surfing museum, which is staffed by a local surfing group that has been in town since the 1930’s, to the original O’Neill and other surf shops near famous breaks like Steamers Lane and Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz is a treasure trove of historical information and revered places for surfers.

Getting from Sausalito to Santa Cruz

Driving to Santa Cruz from Sausalito can be one of the most scenic and leisurely drives anywhere in Northern California almost any direction you choose to take. From the North Bay Area, you will get to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and drive through San Francisco itself before choosing the more direct (but slightly less scenic) 101 or 280 highways or the famed highway 1 that runs directly along the Pacific Ocean. In any event, even if you are in more of a hurry to reach your destination you will be able to experience the majestic redwoods while driving over highway 17 into Santa Cruz from either highway 101 or highway 280. Within a few short hours, you can travel from Sausalito’s quiet wharves down to the sun and sand of Santa Cruz and entertain yourself for a day or an entire weekend!

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Photos copyright by Jay Graham Photographer
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