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Day at the Santa Cruz Beach

For a good time, call… no no no! For a good time, go to the Santa Cruz beach and pier! Parking, of course, is a pain in the butt and in the private parking lot across from the boardwalk costs $12. Not cheap! Oh well. This is about fun not money.

The Boardwalk has places to eat, an arcade, an amusement park, and an entertainment stage. The best deal there is to buy an arm band for the day as individual tickets cost too much given every ride requires 4 or more tickets. The gondola ride will get you a sky high view of the park and from one side to the other. It’s fun to stand around near the tower that slingshots people up to the top just to watch their faces. EEEK! There are several roller coasters which might be slightly better for the stomach. The flying chairs are good too. If you need a spot to cool off and enjoy some good music, go hang out at the indoor carousel with it’s calliope, animation, and brass rings. Don’t forget the ice cream.

Santa Cruz BoardwalkBoardwalk amusement parkBoardwalk gondola

The beach has lots of volleyball courts and they all do get used. Pass. Set. Spike! The beach is also dotted with umbrellas, sand castles, sun bathers, and blankets. The water is not too bad once you get used to it after the initial freeze of the Pacific Ocean. Spend some time walking in the surf and taking in the charged atmosphere and California sun.

Santa Cruz beach volleyballSanta Cruz beach

The pier is a good long walk or, for a fee, you can drive out on it and park. There are parking spots along the length though you will likely have to go to the parking lot at the end to find an open space. Walking the pier takes you past boat rentals where they lower you in the boat down to the water. They also rent sea kayaks. Farther along is a staircase to a platform down below where you can watch sea lions taking their naps or trying to at least while at least one non-napper bellows out to tourists. The baby is sound asleep, completely oblivious even when other sea lions shift their positions on the deck. If you look under the pier, you may find a sea lion sleeping on one of the many cross beams out of the sunlight. Not everyone loves the California sun. Out in the water, a group of sea lions lie in a circle with their heads and feet above the water.

Kayak rentalsSea LionsMore sea lions

Back up on the pier are tourist shops and restaurants. A trip to the pier would not be compete without a stop for some fish and chips. Somehow, they just taste better on a pier. I advise taking cash out there on the pier with you, though. If you do get caught short, expect to pay both the ATM provider and your bank hefty fees to access your money out there. Sometimes, like on a beautiful day at the beach, it’s worth it. Oh, and don’t forget the lemon squeeze on your fish.

For lots more fabulous pics, click here.

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