Santa Cruz will provide with so many options for a relaxing and unpretentious romantic getaway. Breathtaking nature, beaches and semi-endless walks hand in hand, the Californian town has everything and more. Here is our top 6.
Enjoy a long weekend with your significant other in Santa Cruz (CA), a small beach town less than
two hours south from San Francisco, on the famously picturesque Pacific Coast Highway. There, you’ll bask in the Californian atmosphere, in the soul surfer’s capital.
Natural Bridges State Beach
Probably the most photographed landmark in Santa Cruz, the natural rock bridge in the middle of the ocean will make you want to grab your camera to take one of those artsy sunset photos. Surrounding the fully equipped beach area, beautiful meadows are everywhere.
Natural Bridges State Beach is one of the most popular shores around, for surfers and swimmers alike. So why not take a couple of surf lessons while you are at it? Although, if you’d rather enjoy a quieter experience, take the opportunity to dip your toes, at low tide, to see crabs, sea stars or anemones.
The West Cliff Drive
Surrounded by lovely and chic houses, West Cliff Drive presents a beautiful scenic view of the Pacific Ocean. On clear days you could see as far as Monterey (42mi/67km) down south! Strolling hand in hand along the 3 miles long paved, biking and walking trail will give you plenty of time to appreciate the minute details of your surroundings, from the sound of the waves to the chatter of the surfers on the small patches of sand to the colorful flowers. While you are at it, check out the Lighthouse Point, certainly the most stunning and unforgettable place for a proposal, and Streamer Lane, dubbed the best surf spot in the area by the legends of the sport.
Wilder Ranch State Park
You are here at a local favorite. Situated in an old dairy ranch turned into a museum, purchased by California State Parks in the 1970’s, Wilder Ranch is full of surprises. If Natural Bridges is breathtaking, the six amazing beaches, and over 30 miles of trails, making Wilder Ranch State Park are not to be dismissed, especially if you’d like to enjoy a more peaceful day on the littoral. Indeed, most of those beaches will offer you a little bit of privacy, granted that you’re not afraid of a little hike that will serve the double purpose of showing great views over the coast and the preserved nature surrounding you and taking you to Strawberry Beach, a beautiful sandy shore in a rocky cove, and the most remote of the park.
The Santa Cruz Wharf
As one of the best places to end a day spent at one of the numerous beaches around, the Santa Cruz
Wharf promenade definitely has an addicting vintage feel. Walk to the end of the pier and watch the
sea lions and seagulls that seem to congregate to get their photo taken by the tourists. During the
summer, you could catch one the movies projected on this oceanfront (Wednesdays) or a free live
music concert (Fridays).
Surrounded by easygoing restaurants and shops, the Wharf is also close to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park. At sunset, the lights from the old-fashioned amusement park will color
Santa Cruz Wineries
Apart from the beautiful sandy littoral and the redwoods, Santa Cruz is also known for its wineries,
producing a large variety of grapes (from Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay). Mostly located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, those wineries will offer the perfect romantic setting for couples photographs and a picnic with one of the best views over the Silicon Valley.
Abbott Square Market
A nice space with outside accommodations… Opened late 2017, with small restaurants and cafés and ample outdoor seating in a beautiful piazza, the square shares a lot of similarities with other urban foodies must-stops, like Grand Central Market in Los Angeles or the Pearl District in San Antonio. Constructed on the impulse of the Museum of Art and History, the Abbott Square Market is bringing back the community, and the town visitors, in Downtown Santa Cruz. In this new relaxing setting boasting lots of food options, kids and pets friendly, the museum wants to bring art outside its walls.
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