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June 12, 2007

The beach at Santa Cruz, CAHave you been “over the hill” yet this season?

To locals, that means traversing the Santa Cruz Mountains (also known as The Coastal Range) to get to Santa Cruz county. Usually the destination is one of the many beaches along the Monterey Bay: Santa Cruz, Capitola, Rio del Mar being some of my favorites. Depending on traffic, the trip is usually about a half hour by car. So by Silicon Valley standards, it’s very close.

The Log Ride at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, CA - photo by Mary Pope-HandyA major destination on the other side of “The Hill”, particularly when out-of-town visitors arrive on your Los Gatos doorstep, is The Boardwalk. This year, the Boardwalk is celebrating its 100th aniversary, so there’s even more going on than usual!

For instance, this Saturday night, the Boardwalk features a fireworks display that should be incredible in honor of the milestone birthday. The show will be choreographed to music and will begin at 9pm.

Additionally, every Friday night (beginning June 22nd) there will be free concerts at the Boardwalk, called Bands on the Beach. The music begins at 6:30pm and again at 8:30pm.

The Giant Dipper, built in 1924, at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Photo by Mary Pope-HandyThere are some good deals to be had at the Boardwalk if you just plan ahead.  First, if you think you’ll be back more than once this season, get a season pass. This is especially helpful if you have visitors here from out of the area. Also if you visit the amusement park’s site, there are cupons you can print online too. Oh, and admission is free – it’s only the rides, food, and souveniers that will cost you. Even if your goal is simply people-watching, you’ll have plenty to do at the Boardwalk!

And here’s a little secret that I didn’t find on the Boardwalk’s website: starting June 25th, “1907 Nights” are back. On Monday and Tuesday evenings after 5pm, rides are a mere 75 cents each (the Giant Dipper is usually $4.50!!)

So go early (avoid monstrous “beach traffic” if you go on weekends by getting onto Highway 17 by 10am), park close, and pack layers so you can stay a good long time, even if the fog rolls in. Have a great time.  And don’t forget the sunscreen!