Summer Tales 2022 Day 5 | Santa Cruz

On Saturday morning (7/2) we had breakfast at the hotel at 8:45 am and then we made our way to Santa Cruz. We had originally planned to spend a day in Half Moon Bay, but the weather app predicted cold and cloudy weather there, so we decided to drive a little further south to Santa Cruz. The weather there was announced as warm and sunny and the weather app didn’t lie. It’s curious how quickly the weather patterns can change on the coast and how certain stretches very much have a micro-climate of their own.

We found parking near the Boardwalk (which I could conveniently pay for via a parking app) and then we walked over to the famous Santa Cruz Wharf.


We strolled up and down the pier, looked out for sea lions, took a bunch of touristy pictures and explored the many souvenir and surf shops.


My sister and I saw a great fashion jewelry ring, which was just perfect as a reminder of our trip to Santa Cruz and the ocean. My sister bought it for me and I later bought a matching ring for my niece.


We sat at Cowell Beach for a while, my BIL and nephew were even brave enough to take a dip in the ocean. If you didn’t know, the Pacific Ocean is quite cold for swimming, but plenty of people still go in. I usually prefer to just dip in my toes.


After our beach break, we contemplated checking out the famous Santa Cruz Boardwalk (just so that my family could say that they’ve been on it), but it was so crowded that we turned back after a short distance.

We had promised the kids ice cream and they were bummed when we didn’t want to wait in line at the crowded (and overpriced) ice cream stand on the boardwalk. We were able to easily appease them though when I suggested buying them each a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at the local supermarket (it’s the better deal anyway).

We then decided to take the scenic route back and drive up to Half Moon Bay via Highway 1. We weren’t going to spend a lot of time on the coast, so it was nice to at least enjoy the views from the car. 

When we got to Half Moon Bay, we had to quickly find a restaurant for dinner. We were tired, hungry, and in need of a bathroom, and after a quick internet search, we decided on the Flying Fish Bar & Grill. That turned out to be a great choice. The food was very tasty, we all had some sort of seafood dish (obviously), and it was a relatively quick drive back to the hotel from there. It was a fun, laid-back day and we were all quite content after a day of soaking up some sun.

  1. Good call on going south for some sun!!! That is a part of CA I want to explore more of!

    Good call on the ice cream too ;)

    1. It’s a beautiful stretch of the coast!

  2. This sounds like so much fun. I love the photos and the matching rings. I don’t often get to eat fresh local seafood, so color me slightly jealous.

    1. The seafood was so good. I don’t get it often, but when I am near the ocean, it’s a must!

  3. This sounds so fun. What a great souvenier to get matching rings! Love this.
    And the sea lions – too cute (in their own way).
    It always makes me take a deep breath when I buy ice cream out. Two little scoops cost the same as 2L on sale! But it’s an experience so I try to balance it all out – we do ice cream out a few times a month over the summer (fun, whimsical, and an “event”)…but I mostly convince the kids to have it at home.

    1. You’re totally right that ice-cream at a fun place can be a real treat… but we don’t do it often either because it’s such a mark-up!

  4. Wow, Santa Cruz is gorgeous! I’d love to go there, it looks lovely. I love the matching rings. What a fun reminder of such a great trip.

    1. It’s a lovely stretch of the coast and I know think about our visit every time I look at the ring.

  5. Sounds like a great day trip. Can’t believe I have never been to Santa Cruz.
    Love the rings!

  6. WHAT?? You’ve never been in all your years in CA?? Girl!

  7. I have never to this area. Years ago when a group of friends were planning a running trip, we considered doing the Half Moon Bay half marathon but then the dates didn’t line up well so we did a trail race in the Berkley area which was really fun. But there’s nothing like being by the coast! Someday I’d like to drive from San Francisco down to LA and stop along the way. We’ve been from LAX to a bit north of Santa Barbara – so we have a lot of ground to cover between Santa Barbara & SF!

  8. Those rings are gorgeous! I love them and what they symbolize for you and your family. <3

    1. Thank you Stephany!

  9. So pretty along the coast!! I have never been to Santa Cruz. I really love those rings, too! Perfect ocean souvenir. :) I enjoy oceanfront boardwalks a lot. Bummer that it was so crowded you couldn’t really check it out….. and I am with you on not swimming in freezing cold water! I definitely prefer WARM water for sure!!

  10. The rings are gorgeous. So glad you were all able to get them, and can think of your time together when you look at them. One of my favorite times of my life was when I was a travel nurse, and drove down from Mountain View to San Diego (one assignment to another) along the coast. The varied terrain, the changes in temperature and topography, it was wonderful. And then, from San Diego to Seattle, I went up the 5 for the first part and north of SF, went back out on the coastal road, all the way up through Oregon and into WA. Another amazing trip. Sigh. So I’m happy seeing that you got to do something similar, and build these memories with your family. <3
    My main question, though, is did you see a banana slug? (Sorry, that "mascot" always makes me smile…)

  11. What a fun souvenir to get rings. Love the shape.
    Also a pint of ice crem is always better than just a scoop.

    1. A pint is always better than a scoop! The kids realized that quickly :)

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