(see more detail at www.99places.com
) This fun seaside town offers great beaches, a boardwalk for the kids with vintage carousal and roller coaster, great hikes and terrific shopping and restaurants. Also, with some new options for accommodations and dining, Santa Cruz offers is a more attractive weekend getaway than ever before. The months of March and April offer great weather and attractions like whale watching.
Santa Cruz Boardwalk: With “classic” rides and all the expected boardwalk treats, kids generally love the Boardwalk. There is a range of rides for both younger and older kids. The 1911 carousel is a National Historic Landmark. Once you’re done with the rides, you may want to head down to main/Cowell’s beach.
Santa Cruz Wharf: A great place to catch the sunset after a day of frolicking at the beach. Stop at the Dolphin Restaurant for a killer view of the sunset. The chowder and calamari get high marks but the view is the main selling point for this restaurant. The sea lions provide added entertainment and after dinner you can hit Marianne’s Ice Cream for a delicious dessert.
Main Beach: A broad, flat beach, you can play in the waves, watch dolphins, and listen to sea lions bark in the distance. Locals recommend the walk from Cowell Beach to Natural Bridges State Park but it is three miles each way so perhaps a bit far for families with younger children.
Natural Bridges State Park: While not a great swimming beach, you can see birds, sea lions, sea otters and sometimes, migrating whales. In addition the park boasts one of the largest concentrations of migrating Monarchs in the United States. While January is the best month for Monarch viewing, there is still plenty to see in February. The visitors’ center is open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
See more at www.tripicks.com