Is there any purer expression of summer than a day at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk? For over 100 years, the seaside amusement park has thrilled all ages with its festive mix of sun, fun and nostalgia. It’s just as enchanting today as the day it opened in 1907 and it continues to delight with new rides, treats and events. Here’s a handy guide to all that's happening this summer at the Boardwalk.
Photo by Garrick Ramirez
Marini's 100th Anniversary SWEETstakes
Marini's at the Beach is celebrating 100 sweet years at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk! To celebrate they are running a SWEETstakes Contest through October 25, 2015, with the Grand Prize being an invitation to design and name your very own salt water taffy flavor AND receive that flavor for an entire year! Now that's SWEET! See website for details on aditional prizes and how to enter.
Brand new to 2015 is Camp Boardwalk, a day camp for kids 6-14 with one-week sessions throughout the summer. Camp Boardwalk brings kids behind-the-scenes for fun and games at the popular seaside amusement park. In addition to Boardwalk rides and games, kids will learn magic tricks from the Boardwalk’s Surfing Magician, draw for fun with a Boardwalk caricaturist, learn to bowl at the Boardwalk Bowl, make salt water taffy, play games on the beach, and lots more.
Eats + Drinks
Whether it’s frozen or fried, the Boardwalk delivers with over-the-top treats. New this summer (in addition to the already existing and popular deep-fried oreos and Twinkies) are deep-fried PB&Js and rice crispy treats. Also brand new to this season are ice cream sandwiches made with Santa Cruz's favorite cookie - Pacific Cookie Company. Wash these treats down with a Giant Dipa from local organic brewery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing.
Bands on the Beach
Free Bands on the Beach
A summer tradition since 1988, the Boardwalk hosts free bands on the Beach Bandstand every Friday night from June 19th through September 4th. There's two shows each night: 6:30pm and 8:30pm with preferred seating made available at 4pm. Grab a blanket -- and a beach ball -- and hit the beach for artists like Macy Gray, Smash Mouth and Papa Doo Run Run. Click here for a full list of performers.
Circus of Nations
Did you know the Boardwalk also books daytime entertainment throughout the summer? New this year is Circus of Nations, a showcase of the world's best acrobatics. In this free show, explore the rich tradition of circus acrobatics as we showcase the very best acts in the world, proving that the greatest circus comes from a wonderful collaboration of nations. Acts include a mind-boggling Chinese contortionist, a light-hearted Canadian clown, energetic African Acrobats, the intense Russian Slack Line, the thrilling German Wheel, and an urban American Rolla Bolla. From July 6 - August 13 there will be three free shows daily on the Beach Bandstand: Sundays - Thursdays: Noon, 3pm & 6pm.
The Surfing Magician
If Santa Cruz is going to offer a magic show, you know it’s going to be from a surfing magician. This summer, the Boardwalk hosts Doug Hofkins, aka The Surfing Magician, who performs a comedic magic show on weekdays near Logger’s Revenge. You can catch his act three times a day at 1pm, 2pm and 4pm. Grab a Crazy Churro and enjoy the show!
Free Movies on the Beach
What’s better than free summertime movies on the beach? From June 24 through August 12, each Wednesday night at 9:00pm, the Boardwalk screens popular classics on a giant screen set between the Monterey Bay and the twinkling lights of the Boardwalk. This year's killer line-up includes Raiders of the Lost Ark, Beetlejuice, and Goonies (see here for the complete list
). Grab a blanket or low-profile chair and reserve a spot an hour or so in advance. Or better yet, get there at 5pm and take advantage of Pepsi Nights (see below).
Photo courtesy of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Boon for bargain-lovers: Each Monday and Tuesday evening starting at 5pm, you can enjoy old-school prices
on Boardwalk essentials: all rides, hot dogs, cotton candy and Pepsi are just $1.00 each. This is your chance to ride the Giant Dipper and the new Undertow for a whopping 83% less than regular price!
Bring a can or bottle of any Pepsi product on Wednesdays and Thursdays evenings after 5pm and get unlimited rides for just $12.95
. The Boardwalk stays open until 11pm for most the summer, so there’s plenty of time for fun. And don’t forget, Wednesdays is free movie night. Cheap date alert: A movie and unlimited Boardwalk rides for thirteen bucks is officially the best deal in town.