Beachside Bliss: Pleasure Point

Nestled around Santa Cruz County are a variety of seaside towns to visit: filled with delicious eateries, handcrafted drinks, and spectacular scenery, each of these places embodies the unique flare of the community that calls that neighborhood home. Head straight down 41st Avenue into the heart of the world-renowned surf spot Pleasure Point: the pinnacle of surf culture in Santa Cruz County! This is a lively neighborhood where the local community mingles alongside visitors, exploring the abundance of delectable eateries and charming boutiques lining the streets, all while soaking in the sun-drenched scenery. Don’t miss a chance to watch the surfers take on the waves along East Cliff Drive for true beachside bliss in Pleasure Point! 

PLAY

Embark on a coastal stroll along East Cliff Drive, a picturesque promenade overlooking Monterey Bay, and world-class waves at The Hook and The Point. Pleasure Point is a surfer’s paradise: with sweeping views of the wave break, this is a prime spot to watch the wetsuit-clad surfers ride the swells, shimmy into a wetsuit and hop on a board, or dip your toes in the shoreline, if that’s more your style. Over 100 years of Santa Cruz surf culture shines in the rolling waves of Pleasure Point!  

This panoramic cliffside perch also makes for a spectacular setting to observe wildlife, like sea otters and migrating whales! For a closer look at some wildlife, head down the stairs when the tide is low to check out the tide pools of Pleasure Point Beach. Catch sight of tiny kelp crabs, giant green anemones, colorful sea stars. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a vibrantly-hued sea slug that looks like a miniature sea dragon: a nudibranch! The best time to visit these tide pools is during winter’s King Tides, but any low tide will provide ample opportunity for wildlife viewing in this expansive intertidal zone.

FOOD

Situated at one end of Pleasure Point’s East Cliff promenade is locals’ favorite The Point Market, which serves up laid-back fare to grab-and-go: perfect for a picnic overlooking the ocean. Their breakfast burritos are legendary! A must-try is The Cali Breakfast Burrito, which rolls up eggs, carne asada, and avocado with a Californian twist: french fries. If you missed the breakfast time slot, don’t fret: the menu has plenty of delicious options for munching at any point in the day.

Just steps from the shoreline is Pleasure Point’s 41st Avenue, where you can find plenty of surfside classics to fuel your belly for beachside adventures! Off The Hook Deli has plenty of nourishing foods for your seaside picnic, from freshly made sandwiches to açai bowls and more. Hot slices of pizza are dished up daily at Pleasure Pizza, a Santa Cruz landmark that has been featured in films like Chasing Mavericks. For a fresh bite with Mediterranean flare, try the red chili chicken salad from Zameen at the Point, and don’t miss their feta fries!

If you’re craving something sweet, there’s no place better to satisfy that sweet tooth than local favorite, Penny Ice Creamery. Their unexpected-yet-delicious flavors, like Strawberry Pink Peppercorn and Vanilla Ricotta Raspberry, are created using seasonal, organic ingredients from local farmer’s markets. Try out a new flavor in a house-made waffle cone, and don’t miss out on Penny’s signature topping: toasted marshmallow fluff! 

Another not-to-miss spot, Amazon Juices. With the same ownership as the beloved Westside gem, Cafe Brasil, this Pleasure Point stop brings fresh smoothies, juices, acai bowls, and more, with its unique Brazilian flare.

COFFEE + TEA

Whether you’re a full-blown coffee connoisseur or just looking for a spot to grab a cup of joe, Pleasure Point has you covered. The flagship location of Verve Coffee Roasters on 41st Avenue is a destination for coffee enthusiasts. From their expertly frothy cappuccinos to their perfectly executed pour-overs, this roastery’s robust flavors and rich brews are sure to please. Indulge in the Bowl of Soul, a tea latte that’s drizzled with honey and topped with chocolate sprinkles! Another local roastery making its way on the scene is Cat & Cloud Coffee: sip on your masterfully crafted coffee creations in this community-oriented coffee shop’s warm, welcoming Pleasure Point setting!

DRINK

Seeking a different kind of brew? Settle in for a pint or two at New Bohemia Brewing Co., or NuBo for short. Sourcing their yeast all the way from Bohemia and Bavaria, this local brewery begins the careful process of fermentation that lends well to their high-quality, small-batch brews. NuBo’s love of the craft is evident in each sip of lager, ale, and their unique specialty brews. Their tasting room has rotating brews on tap, an assortment of delectable sausage sandwiches, and a spacious patio to soak up the sun with a pint in hand!

For something a bit stronger, check out the exceptional cocktail menu at Süda, which balances classic tipples like an old-fashioned while also mixing up fresh creations using in-season, local ingredients. The happy hour is sure to please, but Süda’s brunch is a real showstopper you won’t want to miss!

SHOP

Take some time to peruse the variety of unique goods filling Pleasure Point’s diverse array of local boutiques. Creativity shines at Rootstock Collective, an artisan collective where you can browse the featured works of over 70 local artists. This community-centric shop feels almost like browsing a local artists’ market, and with so many outstanding pieces to choose from, you’re sure to find something special to bring home. Nearby, beachcombers will find shopping heaven at Zen Island: it’s brimming with sea-inspired apparel, jewelry, home decor, and gifts!

Antique lovers, rejoice! With an abundance of goods ranging from pottery to furniture and pillows made by hand with vintage fabrics, Pleasure Point hidden gem Patine is a paradise for old-world treasure hunters.

STAY

Unwind after your day of fun in the sun at one of the comfortable accommodations near Pleasure Point. Situated where Pleasure Point blends into Capitola is the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Capitola. Their luxurious amenities include balcony rooms overlooking the bay, plush bedding, and a heated swimming pool with a whirlpool spa, making the Fairfield a top-notch choice! Just down the street is the palm-lined Best Western Plus Capitola-by-the-Sea Inn & Suites. The cozy inn has spacious yet cozy rooms, enhanced suites complete with fireplaces, free continental breakfast, and a heated pool and spa. These centrally located lodgings are the best options for your visit to Pleasure Point!

With its sun-soaked scenery, spectacular swells, and diverse array of boutiques and eateries, the lively surfside neighborhood of Pleasure Point is sure to bring you beachside bliss!