Santa Cruz Journals

Touring the Monterey Peninsula - Part I - Santa Cruz

An April 2002 trip to Santa Cruz by Armed With Passport

Palm Tree Trio Photo, Santa Cruz, California More Photos
Quote: Santa Cruz is one of the first places that you will encounter on the on the Monterey Bay when heading towards the Monterey Peninsula from San Francisco. It has natural beauty, a fun boardwalk with an amusement park, and everything that a reasonable-sized city has to offer.

Touring the Monterey Peninsula - Part I - Santa Cruz

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Overview

Palm Tree Trio Photo, Santa Cruz, California
Quote:
If you only have a little bit of time (as we did), go to Natural Bridges State Beach before getting to the city proper. There is a large water-eroded rock in the shape of an arch next to the beach access area. We weren't there at the right time to see the monarch butterflies, but apparently they come to the State Park in droves around October every year. I had never heard of it before, but the Santa Cruz boardwalk is quite a substantial commercial enterprise. Following the ocean road from Natural Bridges, you will pass a pretty lighthouse and then see the top of the boardwalk's rollercoaster, built in 1924. If you can find a place to park, this is a great place to spend the day, especially i...Read More

Natural Bridge State Beach

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Attraction

Natural Bridge State Beach Photo, Santa Cruz, California
Quote:
We stumbled upon this state beach while on our way to Santa Cruz's boardwalk. As luck would have it, I saw a sign with the name "Natural Bridge State Park" on it; I exited California Route One an exit early and followed the signs. (Incidentally, besides enabling you to view the state beach, this side road which leads to Cliff Drive is the best way to enter the Santa Cruz boardwalk area; it takes you to the state beach, past the lighthouse containing the surfers' museum, and through a posh neighborhood of expensive houses bordering a breathtaking rocky shoreline.) We arrived at a parking lot on a bluff overlooking the ocean. In front of us was a large rock in a little inlet. To its right was ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 3, 2002

Natural Bridge State Beach
West Side of Santa Cruz on West Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, California
(916) 653-6995

Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse

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Attraction

Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse Photo, Santa Cruz, California
Quote:
The squatty brick lighthouse that is seen today is not the original lighthouse that was built on the spot back in 1868. What you see today was built by the parents of an 18 year old boy, Mark Abbott, who drowned at the famous Steamer Lane surfing beach below. The parents used the insurance money paid to them from their son's death to build the red brick lighthouse in 1967. The original lighthouse was built with state funding back in 1868. It was made of wood and has a tower containing a white light to warn boats of the dangerous rocks below. The light was changed to red subsequently to distinguish the lighthouse beacon from the redidential lights nearby. During World War II, the lighthouse towe...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 4, 2002

Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse
West Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, California
(831) 420-6289

Flowers and Ocean Photo, Santa Cruz, California
Quote:
This IgoUgo journal entry picks up where my written journey ended in San Francisco. My wife and I had spent a couple of days in the city by the bay and were now heading for Monterey Peninsula. This entry begins as we are in a rental car just heading out of San Francisco. California Route One, or The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), started as a six-lane super highway and then gradually turned into two-lanes as it went through some pretty woods (we rolled down the windows to catch the pine scent) and then spilled out toward the ocean. We encountered some beautiful ocean vistas and steep sea cliffs as we drove down PCH at a pretty good clip (about sixty miles per hour). Things slow...Read More