Best Time to Visit Santa Cruz – Sun, Surf and Sweets!

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Hello, fellow travel enthusiasts! 🌞 As a lifelong Californian, I’ve explored just about every nook and cranny of our sun-kissed state. And you know what? Every year, without fail, I find myself irresistibly drawn back to one spot: Santa Cruz. So, you may be wondering, when’s the best time to visit Santa Cruz? Though Santa Cruz has its charm throughout the year, if I had to pick the crème de la crème

 of months, it’d be September. Pull up a seat, and let me share some personal insights with you.



Santa Cruz’s Charm – The Beach Boardwalk!

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, California

Let’s dive straight in. No visit to Santa Cruz is complete without a day (or three) at the iconic Beach Boardwalk. It’s not just about the sun and surf, though they’re splendid. The rides, the arcades, the aroma of tantalizing treats – it’s all part of the magic. Fun fact: my absolute favorite ride is the Giant Dipper. The rush, the nostalgia, it’s an experience I relish every single time. And, oh, the food! Funnel cakes are my weakness, perfectly sweet and crispy. And my husband? He has a love affair with the saltwater taffy. He never leaves Santa Cruz without grabbing a bag full of them.


Riding the Seasons in Santa Cruz

While the beach, the surf, and the scenic beauty are year-round delights, the Beach Boardwalk rides and arcades are not always open all year long. They operate primarily in the summer months and on weekends during off-peak seasons. So if you’re specifically looking for that thrilling Giant Dipper experience or arcade fun, do plan your visit accordingly.

1. Late Spring (May to June)

Santa Cruz California Mountains panoramic view at sunrise or sunset

 As the boardwalk starts bustling, these months offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds. The nearby Santa Cruz mountains, with their springtime bloom, are a bonus.

2. Summer (July to August)

Santa Cruz, California Beach Boardwalk

 Prime time! Warm days, cool nights, and the Boardwalk at its liveliest. But remember, it gets busy, so book accommodations in advance.


3. Early Fall (September to October)

 Still lovely, with the summer crowd thinning out. Perfect for whale watching too, as humpback and blue whales grace our shores.


Events and More


Align your trip with events like the Santa Cruz Film Festival or the Capitola Art & Wine Festival for an enriched experience. Santa Cruz always has something brewing!


Final Thoughts


Choosing the best time to visit Santa Cruz depends on your ideal vacation vision. But here’s a tip straight from my heart: soak in the authentic spirit of this town. Whether it’s summer or winter, Santa Cruz has its unique magic waiting just for you. And don’t forget that Boardwalk visit – it’s a memory you’ll cherish forever.


Wishing you waves of fun and memories to cherish,

Mushi and Zell 


P.S. If you’re planning another trip to California and need tips or insights, Dive into my article on California’s 15 Most Visited Cities. I’ve got a treasure trove of recommendations. 🌊🎡🍭