26TH ANNUAL WOODIES ON THE WHARF
in conjunction with
5TH ANNUAL NATIONAL WOODIE CLUB MEET
Santa Cruz is the funky, sunny, life-lovin’ poster child of California beach towns. Located along Highway One on California’s Central Coast, Santa Cruz has a decidedly split personality, and both sides are cool. First, there’s family fun at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a yesteryear-style esplanade lined with arcade games, corn dogs, a wooden roller coaster, and a historic carousel. Then there’s downtown Santa Cruz, where college students browse for vintage and boho chic, and enjoy local fare at its many restaurants.
But at its heart, Santa Cruz is a surf town, dating back to 1885 when three visiting Hawaiian princes rode the local waves on redwood planks. Where today’s top surfers, side by side with local Santa Cruz surfers, seek out quintessential California breaks at Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point where the World Surf League has in the past and surely will again in the future hold World Championship Tour Events. Need more proof? The late legendary surfer Jack O’Neill, wetsuit pioneer and elder statesman of everything surf-related, made Santa Cruz his home. To learn more about the local surf scene and its legends, visit the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, quaintly housed in a former lighthouse along West Cliff Drive. Look over the seawall to see top surfers riding the break at Steamer Lane. And to chill out like a legend, visit the beachside Jack O’Neill Lounge at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn. Surrounded by surfing memorabilia and a great view of Monterey Bay, sip a signature cocktail, or ask for Jack’s favorite after-surf libation, a Ketel One Martini. In October, the O’Neill Coldwater Classic attracts many of the world’s best surfers.
The century-old Santa Cruz Wharf, host to 26 years of Woodies On the Wharf and this year host to the 5th Annual National Woodie Club Meet, is the longest wooden structure of its kind on the West Coast—a staggering 2,701 feet/823 meters long. Home to many great restaurants, surf, and souvenir shops. Walk to the end to get a bird’s-eye view of Steamer Lane surfers to the north or come at dusk to watch the lights glow on the colorfully lit Beach Boardwalk.
Santa Cruz makes an excellent launching pad to enjoy the Central Coast. If nature is your thing board a boat tour from the wharf for whale-watching in the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary —grays, blues, or humpbacks, depending on the time of year—or take a winding drive thru the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains or head North along the Pacific Coast to visit a string of beautiful beaches. If your more city inclined and have already visited Downtown Santa Cruz, a short drive to the South will take you the beautiful coastal towns of Monterey, Carmel, and Pebble Beach’s Seventeen Mile Drive. Or drive an hour and a half North to visit The City By the Bay, San Francisco. No matter your preference a visit to Santa Cruz is sure to be one for the memory books.