Roadtrip California: Santa Cruz, Marina and Monterey

Santa Cruz streetsOn the road and heading towards the famous Pacific Coast, Highway 1. The next stops on our California Road trip was Santa Cruz, Marina, Monterey and Carmel-by-the-sea.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk Entrance sign

Santa Cruz

We needed a stop here after Yosemite and the very long drive in-between. We were happy to experience the laidback surf culture on offer. Famous for the name, the warm summer climate, nice beaches and entertaining Boardwalk it was a nice refreshment to get back to civilisation.

We began with a walk down the Wharf. I found a great T-shirt and Kim found her fridge magnet. There are all sorts of cool stores down here so definitely worth checking it out for any souvenirs you want to collect.

Our lunch stop was at Ideal Bar & Grill. The main reason we chose to eat here was for convenience. However  there was a good atmosphere and the whole restaurant and bar was busy so we were happy with our choice.

Santa Cruz Sky Glider
Santa Cruz Boardwalk Beach
Next up was the Boardwalk. Somewhere everyone must stop at when in Town.  We decided on the Sky Glider as our thrill ride giving us a birds eye view of the amusements beneath us and fantastic views over the beach.

Marina Dunes RV Park

Marina Dunes RV Park

We spent the next two nights at Marina Dunes RV park.  It provided great showers, good wifi and laundry facilities which is just what we needed after Yosemite.

As the sun began to set we took a short stroll through dunes to watch our first Pacific Ocean sunset. It may have been a bit grey nevertheless the sun still made an appearance which put a smile on our faces.


Monterey is famous for its wildlife, coastline and the popular attraction of the Aquarium. Kim and I decided to take a pass on the Aquarium and went to Lovers Point instead.

For the afternoon we wanted to find somewhere to chill out so we headed to Carmel-by-the-Sea. Note to self, avoid this area on the weekends as it can get very overcrowded. However after a lot of driving around we found a quiet spot to park and a little slice of paradise to finally relax.

Some top tips for your visit:

  • Firstly visit the Souvenir stores on the Wharf.
  • Secondly take a ride on the Sky Glider.
  • Most importantly, avoid Carmel-by-the-Sea at the weekend.

Sky Glider Santa Cruz Beach

Our conclusion on Santa Cruz, Marina, Monterey and Carmel-by-the-sea:

To sum up, we would highly recommend visiting Santa Cruz and taking in the relaxed surf culture. Get yourself some famous Santa Cruz apparel and enjoy the Boardwalk & beach. In addition, Carmel-by-the-Sea has some beautiful beaches too, so definitely worth spending some time there.

Click here for our ultimate 4 week California & Nevada roadtrip travel guide.

1 Comment

  1. Akim
    May 14, 2020 / 8:32 pm

    Hi nice website

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