100 years ago the California coast had tons of amusement parks along the coast. Over the years many of these coastal amusement parks have been closed. While recent years have seen a resurgence in many piers in Southern California seeing new small theme parks the oldest remaining theme park in the state and the only remaining original California coastal park is the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz California.
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is located at 400 Beach Street in Santa Cruz California. While the Boardwalk may be most visited during the warm summer months the park is open year round. Entrance into the park is free but rides cost. Visitors can buy tickets like you would at a fair or they can buy unlimited ride passes and even season passes.
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been entertaining guests for over 100 years and while little exists that dates from the parks earliest days there are a couple classic rides that still remain from the golden era of the California sea side amusement parks. The two rides that still remain from this golden era are the carousel which is over 100 years old.
The Giant Dipper Roller Coaster also dates to the parks early days. The Giant Dipper is one of the main attractions at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The Giant Dipper has been in many movies. It is one of the oldest roller coasters in the country. While the age of the coaster may make it special it is also known for being a really great ride as well. While the park has two more modern coasters the Giant Dipper is considered the best roller coaster and possible the best ride at the park. The Giant Dipper has one of the best views of an roller coaster. The ride itself is thrilling wooden coaster that travels over a long distance and does so quickly and smoothly.
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk features many rides most of which are carnival type rides. There are a few major and worthwhile attractions at the park. Ghost Blaster is an interactive ride where you shoot targets to get points. The Cave Train adventure is a fairly long dark ride adventure that features both old and new elements. The Haunted Castle has been a park favorite and has been renovated this year and expanded. The renovations were much needed and the ride has become much better.
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has more then just rides though. There is a arcade with old and new machines. You can also play Laser Tag. There is an excellent indoor min-golf course with a pirate theme and features animatronics and special effects. Bowling is also available here as well.
Besides the attractions there are plenty of shops and food locations. Most of the food is what you would expect from a fair such as cotton candy and funnel cake. The food is great and there is a variety. There is a large variety of stores offering different products.
Considering entrance to the park is free it is certainly worth visiting. You can always walk around and just look and decide what you want to do after you have walked along the boardwalk. While my trips to Santa Cruz are for surfing I almost always find myself also visiting the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk too.