CA. Trip...Forget Santa Cruz?

Jun 11th, 2006, 03:27 PM
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CA. Trip...Forget Santa Cruz?

I am once again planning a trip to California. We'll have 2 nights in Big Sur and 4 nights in Yosemite (reservations already made). Is it crazy to spend one or two nights in Santa Cruz? I know most of you will say "stay in Monterey or Carmel" but after reading about the area, I'm not sure that it fits us. Is Santa Cruz really "cheesy"? The choices of hotels are awful, but the boardwalk sounds ok and I'm looking at taking the Roaring Camp Railroad ride. Any advise would be greatly appreciated!
seashell is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 03:36 PM
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I would think an Overnight would be okay in Santa Cruz, the Roaring Camp train and Boardwalk is fun. The downtown on Pacific Ave. I also like. Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting company is great for coffee & tea drinkers. As far as accomodations, I see if any one else has suggestions. I've only stayed at the budget places there: Super8 and Comfort Inn 3 blocks from the Boarwalk. Expensive for what you get especially on a summer weekend. When will you be there seashell?
Jun 11th, 2006, 03:37 PM
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Typo alert. I meant Boardwalk, LOL.
Jun 11th, 2006, 03:41 PM
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There are some great places in the Santa Cruz area. What about staying in Capitola or Aptos, if Santa Cruz seems a little too pedestrian for you? Natural Bridges State Park is great and has some wonderful tidepools. If you're around on a Friday night there are some great free concerts on the beach in front of the Boardwalk; real oldies but goodies. Check out the schedule at
Catbert is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 04:38 PM
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Catbert- I enjoyed looking at the boardwalk link myself. Guess I have to get over the hill (from San Jose) to one of those Friday night concerts soon. And leave before 3 pm to avoid traffic!
Jun 11th, 2006, 05:01 PM
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Millions of Californians have vacationed in Santa Cruz over the years w/ no adverse effects. It is a very good location for a family visit. If you were only going to Santa Cruz I'd say go somewhere else - but for 2 days/nights out of a longer trip it will be lots of fun.
janisj is online now  
Jun 11th, 2006, 06:22 PM
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Thanks for your help everyone. I'm one of those who plans trips waaaaay in advance...especially if I need reservations in a national park so we're not going till next year. I'm a budget room shopper myself but found such mixed reviews and high prices for the motels/hotels in Santa Cruz, especially for something close to the water. Thank you for the other suggestions Catbert, I'll look into them.
seashell is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 08:12 PM
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My family vacationed in Santa Cruz for a week last year and loved it. We did lots while there: the Boardwalk, the Railroad, Capitola, The Big Foot Musuem as a joke, some little aquarium I think affiliated with UC Santa Cruz, tidepools, the beach, and of course, eating Marianne's ice cream every day! OOh, there is a great chocolate shop there too...I am blanking out on the name but we met the owners who were incredibly nice and gave us lots of yummy samples! You will enjoy a few days there so go for it!
laurenzo is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 08:33 PM
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You could spend a morning or afternoon doing a side trip north of Santa Cruz to check out the Elephant Seals at Ana Nuevo State Reserve. There are tons of them on the beach and they can be seen year round. It is an easy but nice 3 mile round trip hike to see them.
npurpleh2 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2006, 09:38 AM
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I just wanted to add my 2 cents - perhaps I am biased, but I think Santa Cruz is great. A lot of people over look it because they are interested in more romantic and upscale vacation spots, so they head to Carmel. Santa Cruz is more of a funky beach town with a strong influence from the university and more than a few odd ducks wandering around.

Others have given really good advice so far.

I just wanted to comment on a couple neighborhoods, which is probably where people get the idea that Santa Cruz is cheesy because that is all they see.

As you come into town from Hwy 17, you end up on Ocean street which goes toward the beach. There are bunches of motels on each side of the street - mostly Best Western, National 9, and that sort of thing. The prices are high in summer due to the demand. There isn't much character to this street and traffic is bad because it is the main route into town.

The neighborhood around the Boardwalk, generally called the Beach Flats can be a little bit sketchy. For the most part it is perfectly fine. If you look at a map, the area near the wharf and that end of the Boardwalk and back towards downtown (Pacific Ave) is fine. The area near the other end of the Boardwalk, closer to the river, isn't so great. It isn't terrible or anything, just not the best neighborhood.

So if the only thing a person sees of Santa Cruz is Ocean street and the Beach Flats, I can see where the "cheesy" descriptor comes from - LOL.

As others have mentioned, there is so much more to Santa Cruz and the surrounding area though. And the Boardwalk is a lot of fun. I have been on the Giant Dipper more times than I can count (went on it 50 times in one day when I was 12) and I never get tired of it

J_Correa is offline  
Jun 12th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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Thank you J_Correa! You given me some very useful info. Much appreciated!
seashell is offline  
Jun 12th, 2006, 11:13 AM
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The boardwalk is OK....I, personally, don't see Santa Cruz as a big vacation destination or must see.

I would suggest maybe staying 1 extra night in Big Sur....
ilovetotravel29 is offline  
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