Historic Landmark: Visitors mingle at the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, Calif. which is a National Historic Landmark. The boardwalk opened in 1907 and continues to operate today. The facility includes an amusement park, an indoor arcade, games, and a miniature golf course. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Santa Cruz Boardwalk: The entrance to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk was decorated for the holidays when we visited the city during our Christmas RV trip in 2017. Beyond the overhead entrance was a tall Christmas tree welcoming visitors to the park. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
By GARY WARREN
Formerly of Los Alamos
We are off of the road until after Christmas so the next few Post From the Road will feature a holiday RV trip we took five years ago. This trip still remains one of our favorite RV journeys.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since we traveled to the west coast for Christmas in 2017. Our son in law, Tim, is from Santa Cruz, Calif. and we were invited to join his family for the holidays.
We arrived at Santa Cruz on Christmas eve and parked our RV at Tim’s parent’s house in the RV drive that included full RV hook ups. That would a sweet deal for any RVer! Christmas eve and Christmas day were set aside for family Christmas activities and festivities.
After Christmas we were treated to a few days of sightseeing around this magnificent area of the California coast. Santa Cruz is located on the northern side of Monterey Bay overlooking the bay and the Pacific Ocean beyond.
Today, Santa Cruz thrives on tourism given its beautiful beaches and surf which blend in to the rugged central California coast line. The quaint downtown is a short distance from the beaches and features restaurants and shops, many of them based on the ocean and marine life in the area.
The famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a keystone fixture on the beach in town. The boardwalk has been named the best seaside park in the world many times. A giant amusement park is a popular activity for all ages and even features two rides which are National Historic Landmarks including the very prominent 1924 Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster. The boardwalk property is also a National Historic Landmark.
Indoors at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk visitors find an arcade, video games, pinball machines, vintage games and a miniature golf course. When one tires after the rides and arcade games there is a variety of food and drink choices for everyone.
Outside of the boardwalk on the beach there are numerous beach volleyball courts and various water sports available for guests. Of course, many visitors just enjoy wading in the water and sunning on the beach.
A short walk away from the boardwalk is the Santa Cruz Wharf, a pier which stretches over one half of a mile out over the bay waters and has many shops and restaurants.
Another popular activity on the coast is viewing the tide pools around Santa Cruz. We visited pools located near Natural Bridges State Park and the Seymour Marine Discovery Center.
Tide pools are created on rugged rocky slabs and ledges along the coast line that are in a constant dynamic state of change. When the high tide occurs the rocky ledges are submerged under water. When the tide is low the rocky ledges are out of the water and can be easily seen by walking around the rocky slabs.
When the tide is out, holes and crevices in the rocky shore retain the sea water creating hundreds of tide pools. The pools vary in size and depth and all contain thousands of algae and various marine life. One can view several species of mussels, sponges, tiny crabs and many other creatures of sea life.
While walking and viewing the pools and marine life is allowed the tide pools are a Marine Protected Area and should never be disturbed. Walking among the tide pools gives visitors a tiny peak of what exists in the world under the oceans.
A short drive east of Santa Cruz located in the Santa Cruz Mountains is the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. This park is located in a rain forest which is conducive for the redwoods, furs and other varieties of green foliage.
The main attraction is the grove of the giant redwood trees. While there are several hiking trails in the park, the Redwood Grove Loop Trail is the most popular. At just under a mile, the Redwood Grove Loop Trail features many of these magnificent trees and gives visitors an up close view of the redwoods. The tallest tree in the park is 277 feet tall. It was amazing to walk among these giants!
After a few very special days in Santa Cruz, it was time for us to get in the RV and travel south. However, we didn’t go far. Next week’s Post From the Road will feature our visit to Monterey, Calif.
Editor’s note: Longtime Los Alamos photographer Gary Warren and his wife Marilyn are traveling around the country, and he shares his photographs, which appear in the “Posts from the Road” series published in the Sunday edition of the Los Alamos Daily Post.
Christmas Decorations: A closer view of the Christmas tree at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk reveals the beach ball decorations and the garland on the tree made from flip flops which were very fitting for a tree on the beach. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Tide Pools: Tide pools can be found in various locations around Santa Cruz, Calif. Seen are waves as they crash against the rocky shore line during low tide with hundreds of tide pools along the rocky ledges of the coast line. During high tide, the rocky ledges are submerged by the sea waters. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park: Visitors at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains gaze at the magnificent redwood trees while hiking the Redwood Grove Loop Trail in the park. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Walking Around the Giants: Visitors enjoy walking around the giant redwoods at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park a short drive from Santa Cruz, Calif. The trail through the grove of massive redwoods give visitors an up close view of some of the tallest trees in the world. The tallest redwood in the park stands 277 feet high. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com