We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

What to do?

salt lake city
Level Contributor
38 posts
74 reviews
Save Topic
What to do?

We will be in HMB July 24-26. Anything special going on at this time. We are bringing our 2 teenage daughters and they definately want to see the ocean.(First time for them)We want to make it nice for them and affordable. We will be nearing the end of a 7 day trip to Northern CA

Should we spend most of our time at the beach and if so which one?

San Jose, California
Destination Expert
for California
Level Contributor
15,866 posts
110 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: What to do?

If you want a classic beach experience, then head down to Santa Cruz. There is the Boardwalk on the beach with games and rides, quite a few good beaches for sunbathing, hanging out, and swimming (although the water is cold). Santa Cruz is also known for surfing. Definitely a good choice with teens.

Closer to HMB, there are also plenty of beaches - some of my favorite actually - but they are more beachcombing sort of beaches rather than sunning, swimming, seeing and being seen sort of beaches. I like them for the fact that they are scenic and generally not at all crowded. Pescadero State beach is a nice one. There are quite a few beaches along Hwy 1 between HMB and Davenport so you can drive along and stop as you like.

salt lake city
Level Contributor
38 posts
74 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: What to do?

Sounds great! Thanks for the info. this will help in our planning.

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
Level Contributor
32,358 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: What to do?

Here are some things to see and do in and near Santa Cruz....

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk


Watching surfers at Steamer Lane


Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (it says beaches,it isn't.)




The beautiful UC Santa Cruz Campus


Natural Bridges State Park


Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad


Just for fun the Mystery Spot...(watch the video)


That should get you started.....

Teenage girls? Pacific Avenue, the pretty tree-lined main street of town is lined with boutiques and sidewalk cafes.


Girls love Urban Outfitters. Hold on to your credit card.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
15,054 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: What to do?

For fun beach activities, the Santa Cruz boardwalk and wharf that Puter mentioned are tops. It's the only traditional beach resort town in CA north of the Los Angeles area. Much of the CA coast is not warm and sunny like all the travel mag pictures would suggest, & more CA surfers wear wetsuits than not!

Are you and your daughters interested in nature? For a scenic and wildlife experience, I like 3 places. About 7 miles north of HMB is Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, a renowned tidepooling spot. It's just off Hwy 1 in the town of Moss Beach. Check the tide tables and try to go at low tide when you see the little critters. Bring sturdy beach footwear.


South of HMB are two spots worth a stop. Pigeon Point is among the tallest lighthouses on the West Coast. The tower isn't open to visitors currently, but there are exhibits at the base and around the grounds, and a fine viewing deck overlooking the ocean.


Farther south is Año Nuevo State Reserve, one of the world's premier Elephant Seal habitats. These are not cute and cuddly circus seals; they can be as big as a car, although the ladies "only" get up to about 2,000 pounds. You can see these regal creatures much of the year in some phase of their lives. Winter breeding season is the busiest time, then in spring the adults return to sea and the weaned pups grow up. In the summer, you'll see groups of seals on shore molting (shedding their old fur so they can grow new coats for the trip back to sea in the fall). You can also see other marine mammals and birds. The hike to the beaches where the seals are is about 3 miles round trip, mostly gravel with some rolling dunes. It is not wheel-friendly, but I've seen kids of 8 or 9 make it.


Año Nuevo is about 35 miles south of HMB. You've probably heard about the potential closure or scaling down of CA state parks because the state has been using money for tinder, toilet paper, and kitty litter for so long. So check ahead for both Año Nuevo and Pigeon Point closer to your visit.

salt lake city
Level Contributor
38 posts
74 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: What to do?

Thanks so much Puterand Frisco Roadrunner all these ideas help, will definately check those websites.

6. Re: What to do?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 03 December 2009, 07:24