The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

If you’re looking for an old school beach boardwalk experience combined with the latest amenities and conveniences, then head south out of San Francisco and down the California coast a bit to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. This authentic ocean boardwalk first opened in 1907 and has been providing thrills and fun activities for families ever since. Two of the Boardwalk’s most famous rides, the Giant Dipper wooden rollercoaster and the Looff Carousel, are registered as National Historic Landmarks and date back to 1924 and 1911, respectively. There are also plenty of newer rides designed for people of all ages and appetites for thrills. The Carousel deserves special mention, as it still features the 342-pipe organ that has been entertaining visitors since shortly after the park opened in 1907. Few sights and sounds evoke a stronger sense of the turn-of-the-previous-century zeitgeist quite like the harmonics of air passing through these pitched pipes.

While the organ fills the air with sound, the food vendors on the Boardwalk fill the air with the unmistakable scent of decadent fair foods, such as deep-fried Twinkies, corn dogs, strips of chocolate-dipped bacon and other fair fare. Visitors can graze on these treats while taking a break from the rides and other attractions, such as:

  • The Casino Arcade
  • Neptune’s Kingdom
  • Mini Golf
  • Laser tag
  • The Fright Walk
  • The Laser Maze
  • Climb ‘n Conquer
  • The Boardwalk Bowl
  • The Double Shot
  • The Cliff Hanger
  • Crazy Surf
  • The Fireball
  • And other rides and attractions.

Different parts of the Boardwalk have different hours of operation, depending on the day of the week and the time of the year. During summer, all rides and attractions are open from mid-to-late morning until late in the evening. During fall, winter and spring, the rides are often open on the weekends, but are closed during the colder months for maintenance and upgrades. Ticket prices depend on what your family would like to do. Admission to some attractions can be bought separately or money-saving all-access passes to everything in the Boardwalk are also available. For more information about tickets, pricing and availability, please visit the Boardwalk website at So if you’re craving a bit of fun and a sense of yesteryear, why not take a lovely and leisurely drive down the coast to Santa Cruz? There aren’t many places like this left in the U.S. and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a truly unique Bay Area experience!