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
This shop recently opened inside Neptune’s Kingdom arcade. Budding magicians will find it stocked with toys, pranks, gags, special effects, instructional videos and other tricks-of-the-trade. The tiny magic shop is operated by magicians Doug Hofkins (aka The Surfing Magician) and Josh Logan.
Sour Taffy at Marini's
Taffy from Marini's is the best... but now they have even more flavors! Try these new sour flavors this season: grape, watermelon, cherry and pineapple.
New Kiddie Ride
Fasten your seatbelts! Bouncin’ Buggies takes young riders for a bouncy ride on a sporty beach buggy. Bouncin’ Buggies replaces Rugged Buggies, which was retired after 40 years of service.
EATS AND DRINKS
Tater Twist - Photo by Garrick Ramirez
Whether it’s frozen or fried, the Boardwalk delivers with over-the-top treats. Don't skip out on an opportunity for deep-fried PB&Js and rice crispy treats (just added to the mix last year). And these aren't the only fried eats to be tried - artichokes, oreos and twinkies to name a few can also be found at the Boardwalk. Sweet tooth? No problem. This magical place offers an ice cream sandwich 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. Click here for more information on some of the Best Bites at the Boardwalk.
Quick tip if you are a fan of French Fries! Don't miss out on Extreme Fries - French fries loaded with toppings like BBQ Chicken & Cheese, Bacon & Cheese... and just on Friday concert nights – crab! Located at Hot Dawgs in the Cave Train.
And if you are a healthy eater, the boardwalk has you covered too! The Boardwalk was recently named a 2016 Golden Carrot Award Winner, awarded by the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency’s Healthy Restaurants Project for healthy food choices offered at California Wraps and World Grill.
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 17th through September 2nd. There are 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 Foghat, Smash Mouth and Papa Doo Run Run. Click here for a full list of performers.
Free Movies on the Beach
What’s better than free summertime movies on the beach? From June 22 through August 17, 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 The Lost Boys, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and The Wizard of Oz (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).
Prepare to Be Entertained... Daily!
From June 20 – August 14 the Boardwalk will offer free daily shows with performers interacting with park guests on two new small stages. Scheduled performers include pirate Capt’n Jack Spareribs, magician Ryan Kane, comedian Greg Frisbee, jugglers Scotty & Trink, Street Drum Corps, the Piano Juggler and the Surfing Magician. Click here for the full schedule.
Photo courtesy of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Boon for bargain-lovers: Each Monday and Tuesday evening starting at 5pm, you can enjoy Boardwalk rides for just $1.00 each. Plus more old-school prices will be available throughout the park. This is your chance to ride the Giant Dipper and the Undertow for a whopping 83% less than regular price! (Not valid July 4, 2016.)
Bring a can or bottle of any Pepsi product on Wednesdays and Thursdays evenings after 5pm and get unlimited rides for just $12.95+tax. The Boardwalk stays open until 11pm for most the summer, so there’s plenty of time for fun. And don’t forget, Wednesday is free movie night. Cheap date alert: A movie and unlimited Boardwalk rides for thirteen bucks is officially the best deal in town.