Signs and travel go hand-in-hand. No matter how good your phone’s GPS, signs usually help somewhere along the way and let you know you have arrived. And in true Santa Cruz style, we have some pretty fun signs that are delightfully dreamy, often nostalgic, usually scenic, and generally artsy. Take a peek at the 12 most Instagram-worthy Santa Cruz signs that are sure to point you in the direction of a good time.
We could probably dedicate one whole top 12 list to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk signs, but a few favorites have got to be their arched “Boardwalk” entrance complete with rides, palm trees, and blue skies in the background and their iconic Giant Dipper sign that has spanned the decades. With over 100 years of seaside fun, it’s no surprise that the Boardwalk takes the cake on Santa Cruz nostalgia.
Another Boardwalk favorite we just can’t (tres)pass up: the notable “DANGER / Live Tracks / No Trespassing” sign on the iconic Lost Boys Bridge.
The nostalgia continues up Highway 1 when you spot that old familiar roadside sign for Jam Tasting at Swanton Berry Farm. Swanton Berry Farm has been providing Santa Cruz County and beyond with delicious ripe strawberries, jams, and pies for over three decades. Their vintage looking sign hails visitors for a charming pitsop that easily lends to a lovely little Instagram story.
Downtown Santa Cruz is full of historical buildings and places that have welcomed decades of visitors and patrons. The Del Mar Theater, once known as the “crown jewel of Pacific Avenue,” was built in 1936 and has been a prominent figure ever since. The ever changing marquee, old-school signage, and prime location in the heart of Downtown, make this a picturesque Santa Cruz landmark.
Stagnaros Bros. Restaurant on the wharf is one of those places that seems to spark memories for many visitors of Santa Cruz. Whether you were dining in, ordering a clam chowder bread bowl, or just oohing and ahhing at the live lobsters and fishy finds behind the glass, memories seem to flood in for many at this popular Santa Cruz Wharf staple.
And for locals, especially those in the Aptos area, the retro Sno White Drive-In sign brings on the nostalgia, having been a beacon for burgers since 1957.
Heavenly views await on West Cliff Drive. The 3 mile ocean side walking path is a local and visitor favorite. An ideal way to take in the ocean views, watch surfers at the legendary surf spot, Steamer Lane, spot whales, and get some exercise. And that W. Cliff Drive sign looks pretty great framed in blooms.
Just as peaceful and beautiful as West Cliff is the Sanctuary Scenic Trail in Pleasure Point. Another oceanfront walking path, the scenic trail is nestled beside the beachy Pleasure Point neighborhood. Surf pioneer and legend, Jack O’Neill, called Pleasure Point home and the surf roots runs deep along this scenic stretch of coast.
The Capitola Village is an Instagram-worthy destination in its own right. Beach views, murals, quaint shops, oceanside dining, palm trees – it’s Instagram gold. But one of our favorite spots is this scenic Capitola Wharf sign complete with a Monterey Bay background. Talented acro-yogis not always included in the picturesque scene.
An artsy take on creating a solution: don’t miss the “Lost Soles” sign in Pleasure Point where wayward flip-flops can be hung in hopes of reuniting with their long-lost sole mate. Between changing tides and forgetful beach goers, shoes have a way of being left behind in the sand. This whimsical sign is actually very helpful to keep shoes out of the bay, while also giving them a chance to be found. And it’s also pretty fun to photograph.
Scenic, yet artsy, everyone loves snapping a photo of the “END” sign at Sunny Cove Beach. The road may end, this top 12 may end, but so do your worries once you hit the coast.