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Long weekend in Santa Cruz

February 25, 2018

Despite living in the Bay Area, we’ve only ever done short trips to Santa Cruz (typically to the Board Walk). So for President’s Day weekend we decided to take a long weekend in Santa Cruz to finally have time to explore the area a little further.

The first day we walked around downtown for a bit, exploring some of the shops and restaurants. Bookshop Santa Cruz was fun to poke around, but then bookstores always are. The Patagonia outlet was sadly packed; they were having.a sale, so it was so packed that it was impossible to actually look around. The Verve Coffee Roasters location on Pacific was a nice, light space, but it wasn’t really designed to actually sit down and enjoy your coffee (but then, there were enough people ordering that the space was clearly designed with throughput in mind.

We also walked along W Cliff Drive, which offered great views of the Santa Cruz Wharf and the Boardwalk. You could also watch surfers (both beginners and those with more experience) catch waves (or wait to catch waves, which actually seemed to occupy most of their time). We followed the drive out to the lighthouse on the point (the lighthouse actually contains the Santa Cruz surfing museum, but we didn’t bother to check it out).

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The next day we hiked through Wilder Ranch State Park along the ocean. The day was gorgeous, with bright blue skies and lots of sun. The wind along the ocean was fierce, though; I had to keep a hand on my hat constantly to keep it from blowing away. But the views more than made it for the wind (and its chill). After our hike we also explored the original ranch site a bit.

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After Wilder Ranch, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then headed to Natural Bridges State Beach. Sadly the monarch butterflies were already gone (which was doubtlessly better for then; I shudder to think how they would have fared with the wind), but we got a great view of the remaining bridge (at some point they should probably rename it to Natural Bridge State Park). And the wind driving the waves caused some great impacts against the rocks with some truly impressive spray (I actually got my boots a bit wet when I misjudged the size of an incoming wave).

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Overall the weekend was fun, but I’m glad we didn’t plan on spending more time there; a long weekend was about right. Santa Cruz really isn’t that big; I hadn’t realized that it’s less than half the size of Sunnyvale (roughly 65,000 people vs. 150,000). Of course, living in the Bay Area we get a bit blasé about being near the ocean. There were other folks staying in our hotel that were clearly thrilled about being near the beach (they were also clearly from much colder climates). So if you need more time near the ocean, Santa Cruz is a good place to hang out.

From → Travel

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