Photos: Visiting The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

As a professional photographer, I love visiting stunning places around the Bay Area. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is great to photograph, because you have the classic boardwalk atmosphere (salt water taffy, a big wooden roller coaster) but also the beauty of a California beach.

Here are some recent photos of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. I hope these help to inspire your visit, and help you decide what to see.

Try to arrive at the boardwalk early. You’ll beat the crowds and get easier parking.

Arrive at the boardwalk early.

The beach is beautiful first thing in the morning! Main Beach is a reason to visit all on its own.

Main Beach is beautiful

As the sun comes out and the fog burns off, more people will make their way down to the ocean.

The fog burns off by early morning

When the Boardwalk’s games and rides open, the crowds start to arrive! The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a classic seaside boardwalk that’s a lot like Atlantic City and other beaches on the East Coast. Some call it the Coney Island of the West.

Crowds start to arrive when the boardwalk opens

There are so many rides it can be hard to tell them apart in photos!

Rollercoasters and other rides blend together

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is also historical. The Boardwalk has been there since the early 1900s. Many parts are new, but the Colonnade is original and has been entertaining guests since 1907. You can still visit the arcade and food stalls there.

The Colonnade has been around since 1907

Smaller kids will enjoy rides like these bouncy cars.

There are plenty of rides for little kids

Of course, there are rollercoasters and bigger thrill rides, too!

Modern rollercoasters are a thrill

A classic ride to try is the aerial chair ride that takes visitors soaring over the boardwalk, with awesome views of the nearby beaches.

Soar above the boardwalk

The Big Dipper is one of the boardwalk’s signature attractions, and a historical landmark. It’s a wooden rollercoaster that’s operated since the 1920s.

The Big Dipper is a rollercoaster and a historical attraction

The Cave Train is another classic ride. It’s a little corny, but definitely a fun throwback to the Boardwalk’s earlier days. It can be a bit scary for little kids, though.

The Cave Train is a little scary for small kids

Of course, you’ll want to try the food! The Sandae ice cream is a classic treat.

Enjoy your visit!

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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