California's best seaside amusement park is admission-free and features 35 rides and attractions, restaurants, miniature golf, video-game arcades, and family bowling—all located on a mile-long sandy beach. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's most famous ride is the 1924 Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster, which has been featured in films such as The Lost Boys, Dangerous Minds, and The Entertainer. Both the Giant Dipper and the park's oldest ride, the 1911 Looff Carousel, are National Historic Landmarks. Visitors appreciate the park's free summer entertainment, which includes the popular Free Friday Night Bands on the Beach concert series that brings in acts like Eddie Money, Herman's Hermits, and Blue Oyster Cult. The boardwalk is one of the last great seaside amusement parks in the United States and is designated a California Historic Landmark. Look for a quick history lesson and amazing photographs upstairs in Neptune's Kingdom.

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Expert Review of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Beach Review of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Away Travel Expert: Christine Loomis
BeachExpert Rating 4.0 out of 5
BeachExpert Tips & Helpful Hints
  • Two of the boardwalk rides have National Historic Landmark status: the Carousel, which started up in 1911, and the infamous Giant Dipper, built in 1924. Whichever ride you choose, be aware that there are minimum and maximum height restrictions for most of them.
  • The boardwalk is free for all to roam and enjoy. You can buy passes or individual tickets for rides.
  • Summer is typically very crowded, especially between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Set out on fall or spring weekends if you want to avoid the crowds.

400 Beach Street
Santa Cruz, California 95060

Visitor Information

Telephone Number: (831) 423-5590
The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Away Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.