Daytrips are my new favorite. As you probably already know, it is not cheap to live in this part of the country. But I’ve come to realize that you’re paying for more than just a house to live in. You are paying for the most ideal weather. You are paying for the national parks, the wineries, the coast, and the endless places to discover and explore, all possible to visit in a day. And that is worth the cost of living. Needless to say, we will be taking advantage of where we live and what’s around us!
During the Fourth of July weekend, Mo and I took the short 45 minute drive to Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is known mostly for its beaches, but after reading about it on Practical Wanderlust, we decided to hit a few of the spots they recommended.
But first, coffee. If you love coffee, then you must add Verve Coffee Roasters to your list. We drove to their 41st Avenue location because they have a cafe as well, whereas their downtown Santa Cruz location mainly just serves coffee and pastries. The cafe’s laid-back, surfer vibe reminded us both of the cafes in Bondi, which of course got us talking about when we will be going back to visit Sydney. Soon… but not soon enough! Verve’s breakfast menu was quite impressive. If you read it and don’t start drooling… then I’m not sure we can be friends. We’re talking avocado toast, chia pudding, poached organic egg biscuit, just to name a few. I reluctantly chose just one and went with the avocado toast, topped with pickled red onions, watermelon radish, and a poached egg. It did NOT disappoint.
Our next stop was the National Bridges State Park (free parking on street before the parking lot FYI). It is described on All Trails as a, “magnificent oasis of natural beauty located between the edge of the ocean and the outer limits of Santa Cruz.” Couldn’t have said it better myself! We took a few pictures, watched a few surfers and took a short hike on one of the trails.
Our next stop was the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. This is definitely a “touristy” thing to do, but Mo and I wanted to relive some of our favorite high school carnival memories. This one being a highlight… from NINE YEARS AGO. #old
No giant monkey prize this time, but we had such a fun time riding a few roller coasters, playing carnival games and smelling allllll the fried foods.
Our next stop was lunch at Pono Hawaiian Grill, where we both tried Poke for the first time! So fresh, but so raw. I’m still warming up to the idea of raw fish, but Mo was more than happy to take what I didn’t eat off my hands (plate).
Lastly, we walked around the cute little downtown square, where most stores were having sidewalk sales. I loved the quaint mix of cafes, small little antique shops, and a few bigger brands as well (I love shopping the sales at Urban Outfitters). After wandering into a few of the shops, we found ourselves in Pacific Cookie Company and couldn’t believe our eyes/nose… there was a huge selection of freshly baked cookies, and you can actually watch them mixing the dough, shaping the cookies and baking them. Again, so fresh and so raw. I went with the “scoop on a cookie” because OBVIOUSLY, and choose the coffee almond fudge ice cream on a dark chocolate cranberry cookie. Helllooooo beautiful.
We will definitely be back to Santa Cruz to go to a few of the places we didn’t get to this time. The Mystery Spot, the beach and the scenic railroad are just a few!
Have you been to Santa Cruz? Where are your favorite places to visit??