Inland temps hit 90 this past weekend, which means beach season is here! The coast was calling and my family responded—Saturday was our first beach day of the season and it couldn't have been more perfect. Many Silicon Valley residents don't take advantage of the fact that we live a short drive from a vast selection of beautiful and varied beaches. Just hop on Highway 17, drive over the hill (direction: away from SV breakneck pace), and 30 minutes later you're lounging at a little slice of paradise—for free.
Some people erroneously believe the Boardwalk is the best beach destination Santa Cruz has to offer; they're gravely mistaken. I can't reveal my family's secrets, but let me tell you this: Santa Cruz is full of hidden treasures and it's worth every minute of your time to explore the many beaches and neighborhoods along the coastline. Cliffs, caves, coves, surfers, tide pools, dolphins, sea lions, starfish, walking & biking paths, arresting vistas, stunning Monterey pines & cypress trees, breweries, cafés, and free parking abound. Why not make it your goal this beach season to find your own personal gem, your secret Santa Cruz beach getaway? Happy exploring!
Beware: Weekend beach traffic on Highway 17 can be horrendous. Depart early to ensure a speedy flight over the hill; hit the road by 3 pm to avoid traffic on the drive home, or wait until later in the evening.