One recent weekend, we drove out to Santa Cruz for the day. With its wonderfully mild weather and intoxicating sea breeze, the area is a perfect place to get away and relax. Here are some highlights from the outing.
Natural Bridges State Beach
Our main objective was to visit the tide pools and see what sea creatures we could find in them. Unfortunately, at the time that we went (a mid-August afternoon), the tide was rather high and everything had been swept back to the sea. Nevertheless, it was still a lot of fun climbing the rocks to get to the tide pools; with the waves crashing over the rocks, it was like a glorious adventure navigating through the area. It also felt good to stand in the calmer waters at the beach and feel the waves splash over our feet.
Downtown Santa Cruz
We next strolled through downtown Santa Cruz. It is a great way to leisurely spend a couple of hours due to the quaint stores and hippie atmosphere. We had a delightful time at Sockshop and Shoe Company (1515 Pacific Ave.), browsing through all the creative socks containing fun and funny patterns. Zoccoli’s Delicatessen (1534 Pacific Ave.) was also a great place to pause for a bit. There, we treated ourselves with a slice of tiramisu. It was light and fluffy, perfectly refreshing so we could walk around some more without feeling weighed down.
For dinner, we went to Santa Cruz Diner (909 Ocean St.), a casual dining spot with friendly service and a quaint atmosphere. Everything was affordable with generous portions, ie. a jumbo country fried steak with mashed potatoes and vegetables plus soup or salad was $7.99. Though none of us were adventurous enough to try it, the place also offers a variety of Asian food including pho!
Finally, we ended our day at Marianne’s Ice Cream (1020 Ocean St.). The place can be quite packed, but there is a reason for it as the ice cream is delicious! They have both interesting flavors and the more normal flavors, with many different kinds to choose from. The cookie dough and salted caramel were two that we got. Both were creamy and thick, almost filling enough for a meal on its own!