I love my state of California. Between being a tour guide and having lived here more than 20 years I have seen the majority of the state. There are still a few places that I have to visit and on that list I can now take Santa Cruz off!
I try to visit San Francisco at least once every two years and have been lucky to make it there the last three years in a row. Last year the kids and I went to the Bay area for a little over a week. We spent time staying with a friend who lives on the Peninsula and we spent a few nights in a hotel located in San Francisco. On a day trip we ventured to Santa Cruz which is a place I have always wanted to see, but hadn’t had the opportunity to see.
Armed with a map and a couple of printouts we made our way to the coast on the windy Highway 17. We started the day out visiting the University of California Santa Cruz. There are ten ‘University of California’s’ in our state and this campus has to be one of the most beautiful that I have seen. I loved that there is lots of open space and beautiful landscaping. There are trees everywhere and you can actually see the Pacific Ocean from campus. They have a historic hay barn at one of the entrances to campus and for me that sums it up; they have a bit of the old and a bit of the new here. The center of campus has the Bay Tree Bookstore and we were sure to stop here for our college gear.
After a great visit to the university we made our way down to the famous Santa Cruz Boardwalk. I love beachside amusement parks!! Having been a big fan of “The Lost Boys” movie in my teens I have seen the boardwalk on film many times. Visiting it in person did not disappoint. After stopping for a meal across from the boardwalk we continued to the arcade which was a big hit with the kids.
We then continued to the ticket booth and purchased ride tickets, and then off to play we went. They have rides, and more rides, and more rides. It really is quite a lot to do and see. There are two floors of rides and everything has spectacular views of the ocean! There even is a large roller coaster, the Giant Dipper, overlooking everything below. We took in all the rides we could and snacked our way through the day. By the time we stopped by the beach for a few minutes to take in the views Matteo was asleep in his stroller.
I look forward to returning to Santa Cruz for spring break in a few short months. It is a beautiful city and has a great vibe. It reminds me of a much nicer Venice Beach although the people are very different than their southern California counterparts. Some hippies, some tattoos, people overall seem pretty mellow and relaxed. I was so impressed with the city that I would totally consider moving here and calling it home.