The Ultimate Guide; Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Established in 1907, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is the emblem of thrills. It’s an iconic spot that combines waterfront amusement with scenic views of the ocean, delightful eateries, and perfect hubs for beach bums.

This legendary destination is the oldest amusement park in California. And it’s still unrivaled over a century later as far as arcade games, as well as wild rides, are concerned. The park blends old charm with new rides to offer a sweet spot between the past and the contemporary fun.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk makes a great day out for families and offers solo travelers an exemplary place to meet or socialize with the locals and other travelers.

The Best Things to do in Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk


An amusement park wouldn’t be complete without rides. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has it all from vintage to modern ride that caters to both cautious and daredevil fun-seekers.

If you have small kids, there is an area dedicated to safe yet fun smaller rides. So every member of the family will have had a blast at the end of the day.

While there are dozens of attractions spread all around the historic park, the highlight of your visit will probably be the Giant Dipper, a sturdily built wooden coaster that has been in operation since 1924.

The classic coaster has been featured in several movies such as ‘Dangerous minds’ and ‘Sudden Impact’.  If you’re fond of adrenaline rush kind of fun, then this coaster is unmissable.

Play games

If coasters aren’t your cup of tea, you’ll find plenty of non-rides activities to keep you busy throughout the day. You can try out the regular fairway carnival games – basketball hoops, coin tosses, and many more.

Hit the Beach

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is located slap bang where San Lorenzo River meets the Monterey Bay. So it’s just fair to spare a moment for some sun, sand, and waves.

Note that changing facilities can be a challenge so it helps to wear a swimsuit under the clothes.

Live Performances

You can catch live performances, especially in June through  August. Live bands and popular acts light up the mood every Friday night. There are also karaoke nights during the summer months.

Tips for visiting

  • Understandably, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a very popular destination. So, it can draw huge crowds especially during summer. If you’re eager to dodge touristy spots, fall and spring would be the perfect time to visit.
  • Be sure to pack beach essentials; sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, towel, and drinking water.
  • You can rent a locker for a dollar to keep your belongings safe.
  • If you’re on a shoestring budget you can bring packed lunch then buy as many or as few tickets as your wallet would allow.

Opening Hours and Admission

The best part is, the entrance fee is absolutely free. You only pay for the activities you’re willing to try. They have various ticket options ranging from a seasonal, unlimited all-day pass, or a single ride ticket.

Opening hours vary from season to season. However, if you’re keen to enjoy some space and tranquillity morning hours are recommended.