Summer Guide to the Beach Boardwalk

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.


Live Music on the Colonnade at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Enjoy free live music on Thursdays throughout the summer at the Beach Boardwalk’s Colonnade Stage; located beach-side of Neptune’s Kingdom. Rock out to Bay Area bands while you enjoy a variety of Boardwalk treats with the ocean as your backdrop. Colonnade Deck picnic table seating is very limited and first-come-first-served. There will be a dance area in front of the stage. Concerts are from 8:30pm – 10pm every Thursday from June 15 – August 10, 2023.

Free Movies on the Beach
What’s better than free summertime movies on the beach? From June 16 through August 11, 2023, each Friday 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, Space Jam, Selena, Shrek, and more. Bring the family, your blanket, or a low-back chair, and smell the kettle corn, corn dogs, and saltwater taffy filling the air!

Here is the Boardwalk Movies at the Beach schedule:

  • June 16, 2023: The Lost Boys
  • June 23, 2023: Mamma Mia!
  • June 30, 2023: Space Jam
  • July 7, 2023: Labyrinth
  • Jul 14, 2023: Selena
  • July 21, 2023: Minions: The Rise of Gru
  • July 28, 2023: Top Gun: Maverick
  • August 4, 2023: Shrek
  • August 11, 2023: The NeverEnding Story

For the full Boardwalk Music lineup, plus other free music and movies around the county, check out our 2023 Free Summer Movies and Concerts blog.

For additional Boardwalk Entertainment throughout the summer, check their website.


From June 19-30, 2023, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is offering Summer Discount Nights on weekdays after 5pm. Purchase a “Summer Discount Night” wristband and get Unlimited Rides after 5pm for only $19.95 + tax! Valid Monday-Friday only. See details here. See the Tickets page for more information on savings.


The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk recently opened a brand new shop on the Colonnade – The Walk! The store features original Boardwalk apparel designed by local artists. And near the Logger’s Revenge is the Coca-Cola Refreshment Zone – a spot to grab a quick drink or a fresh salad or deli sandwich.


Whether it’s frozen or fried, the Boardwalk delivers over-the-top treats. Don’t skip out on an opportunity for deep-fried PB&Js and rice crispy treats. 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. Cruzin’ Crepes offers delicious made-to-order crepes filled with sweet or savory fillings and fresh-brewed, flavored teas. Looking to wash these treats down? Head over to the newly opened Coca-Cola Refreshment Zone to grab a one-of-a-kind beverage from Coca-Cola or enjoy a Boardwalk Dreamin’ IPA from local brewery, Humble Sea Brewing Co.

And no trip the the Boardwalk would be complete without a stop at Marini’s Candies! From classic Salt Water Taffy and candy apples to more adventurous finds like chocolate covered bacon, Marini’s has something for every sweet tooth!


Although the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster and the Looff Carousel are still Boardwalk favorites, the spins and wave-shaped track of the 65’ Shockwave keeps its 24 riders thrilled every second, on individual motorcycle-style seats facing outward around a large disk. Enjoy a panoramic ocean view from high above the Boardwalk as you float around a watery track on Logger’s Revenge. And a pro-tip for a day at the Boardwalk: buy your wristbands in advance to save! Or better yet, snag an annual pass that pays for itself in just two visits! See more info on the Boardwalk tickets page.


Don’t pass up on a few games at the Boardwalk! Test your skills, win prizes, and at least get a good laugh at the many Midway Games. From classics like Dime Toss and Milk Bottle to less traditional favorites like Jungle Climb and Ping-A-Palooza, you and your crew are sure to be entertained! And of course, if you’re looking for traditional arcade games, a round of mini golf, or to give bowling a shot, head over to Neptune’s Kingdom, Casino Arcade, and the Boardwalk Bowl.