Do you ever wonder what goes on behind-the-scenes at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk? How do the rings in the Looff Carousel make it from the clown’s mouth back to the ring dispenser? Where do over 100 years of signage and old ride props end up? And who are the magic elves that keep the rides-including the nearly century-old Giant Dipper-operating smoothly and all those vibrant colors freshly painted?
Extending a half mile into the Monterey Bay, situated between the colorful Santa Cruz Boardwalk and the surfer-filled waves of Steamer Lane, the Santa Cruz Wharf offers some of most thrilling views along the California coast. At 2,745 feet, it’s the longest wooden pier in the United States, resting on over 4,400 Douglas-fir pilings. Built in 1914, the timber centenarian continues to offer a timeless Santa Cruz experience. Stroll its wooden walkways-ideally with a cup of clam chowder in hand-and discover fresh-seafood eateries, local gift shops, nature and history displays, fun seasonal events, and of course, those famous barking sea lions.
Though we’re never quite ready to bid adieu to summer, we’re always eager to welcome fall. The magical season sees life’s pace begin to slow, the air turn crisp, and sunlight bathe everything in golden hues. We love scouring pumpkin patches for the perfect jack-o-lantern, and watching masked, pint-sized ghouls wander streets with trick-or-treat bags held wide open. A noticeable uptick in baked goods doesn’t hurt either. Below we share some ideas for how to celebrate autumn in Santa Cruz County with plenty of frights, food, and fall color to last the season.
By Molly Ressler
When it comes to family fun in Santa Cruz there’s no shortage of choices. Thrill seekers can ride zip lines through the forest with Mount Hermon Adventures or make their stomach drop on the Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Those looking for less of an adrenaline rush can explore the shorelines of countless picturesque beaches, hike through redwood forests, and then take the kids out for ice cream. If you’re looking for family-friendly outings that are both entertaining and educational, however, these five local landmarks won’t disappoint.
Do you know about Santa Cruz’s pioneer cemetery, Evergreen? The Gold Rush era treasure is a stone’s throw from the free samples at Costco, yet it’s possible you’ve zipped past it on Highway 1 without realizing one of California’s most enthralling historic sites was hidden in plain view.