For a medium-sized town, Santa Cruz boasts major natural beauty. Hemmed in by mountains and situated along Monterey Bay‘s northern end, the town’s beaches and old-fashioned boardwalk have lured visitors for decades. The accommodations located on the beach range in size from small, family-run vacation bungalows to hotels with over 150 guest rooms. Most of the town’s oceanfront hotels are pricier than those found further from the waves, but visitors find plenty of room bargains from October to June.
Santa Cruz Dream Inn
Renovated in 2008, the beachfront Dream Inn is a Santa Cruz institution, originally made popular by its convenient location in the midst of the town‘s main beach. The hotel is also next door to the Santa Cruz Wharf and Beach Boardwalk, and within walking distance of downtown Santa Cruz‘ shops and cafés. Each Dream Inn’s guest room comes with an ocean view and patio. The inn’s renovation gave rooms a luxe face-lift as well as upgrades to its conference room, heated pool, hot tub and ocean-view seafood restaurant, Aquarius. Additional in-room amenities include refrigerators, flat-screen HDTVs, iPod docks and free Wi-Fi.
Beach Street Inn and Suites
Beach Street Inn and Suites provides one of Santa Cruz’ best values for those planning to spend most of their time at the town’s main beach and famed boardwalk. This beachfront establishment is also conveniently surrounded by a dozen or so bike and surf rental shops, plus a wide variety of restaurants and beachwear shops. Located directly across the street from the main beach and volleyball courts, the motel offers many rooms with ocean view balconies, while others are located poolside. Standard in-room amenities include kitchenettes complete with coffeemakers and refrigerators, plus cable TV with HBO.
Pleasure Point Inn
The Pleasure Point Inn offers adults-only bed and breakfast lodging with stylish boutique touches. Located on steep cliffs directly overlooking Monterey Bay, this peaceful four-room inn is nestled between the postcard-ready seaside town of Capitola and the bustling Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Harbor. Each morning, the inn’s complimentary breakfast spread includes bread, bagels, lox and fresh seasonal produce. The four cozy rooms boast beach views and amenities including a coffeemaker, refrigerator and microwave for in-room food prep, plus a Bose iPod dock, flat-screen cable TV and DVD player.
East Cliff Beach Oasis
Travelers looking to avoid Santa Cruz’ typical hotels can reserve the family-sized beachfront vacation home known as East Cliff Beach Oasis. Housing up to six people, the 1,200-square-foot house is located a mere block away from the small yet inviting Santa Maria Beach in Santa Cruz’ scenic Pleasure Point area. The rental features all the comforts of home and then some, from plasma HDTVs and a spacious, modern kitchen to an outdoor Jacuzzi and shower ideal for rinsing off after a dip in the Pacific. Guests enjoy the sun and sounds of crashing waves while lounging on the house’s front or back patios. Four-legged friends are also welcome upon owner approval.
- Santa Cruz Boardwalk image by Sloguy from Fotolia.com