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.

Santa Cruz vs Monterey with little kids

Annapolis, Maryland
1 post
Save Topic
Santa Cruz vs Monterey with little kids

Hi -

My sister is getting married near Santa Cruz Sept 29th 2012. My husand and I were thinking of making a family vacation of it and going a week early. We have 2 boys (5 and 3.5yrs old). We would be traveling from MD.

Wondering where we should set up camp for the week. Santa Cruz vs. Monterey or are we missing something entirely?

Is it warm enough to actually hang on the beach in Sept in No. Cal?

What to do with 2 little boys? Any recs?



Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
29,335 posts
6,139 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Santa Cruz vs Monterey with little kids

The Santa Cruz to Monterey area is warm enough to enjoy the beach in September (note: September and October are 2 of our warmer months at the beach during the year). Since its after school starts again, Santa Cruz Boardwalk is most likely back to just weekends. (The park itself is free - you have to pay if you ride the rides - there are small kid friendly rides.).

The things you might enjoy doing while here are:

1) Monterey Aquarium

2) Point Lobos -http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=571

3) Santa Cruz

4) Roaring Camp ( if the kids like railroad Rides)


5) Take a boat ride on Elkhorn Slough


6) Dennis the Menace Park in Montery


7) Gilroy Gardens


and much more....

In terms of staying at Monterey or Santa Cruz both work.

What type of lodging and per night lodging cost are you looking for

Also, you are close enough to do a day drive to Big Sur area.


Monterey Peninsula...
Level Contributor
2,453 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Santa Cruz vs Monterey with little kids

Since the wedding is in Santa Cruz, it will definitely be worthwhile to spend a few days exploring the Monterey Peninsula, too. Kids will love Monterey's Dennis the Menace playground, and they'll have lots of fun building sand castles Carmel's white-sand beach. The aquarium is also a fascinating place for people of all ages. We also have a lot of beautiful parks, with Point Lobos being a must-see. After a few days in Monterey you can move up to Santa Cruz for some more exploring before the wedding.

For more ideas on what to do, I suggest you browse my website, the link is below.

-Mr. Toy


San Jose, California
Destination Expert
for California
Level Contributor
16,954 posts
114 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Santa Cruz vs Monterey with little kids

I would divide the time between the two places as others have suggested.

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
Level Contributor
32,956 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Santa Cruz vs Monterey with little kids

I agree that it would be good to divide up your time.

Here is a traveler article to familiarize you with Santa Cruz.


As mentioned, the Boardwalk may be on limited schedule, but there is a link in the article for you to see. If it is open they have a special section of rides for children who the ages of yours. Roaring Camp Railroad also has a link in the article so you can check on its opening schedule at that time of year.

Be sure to take the to see the sea lions which hang out at the Municipal Wharf.

Your sister probably has resources to help you decide where to stay in Santa Cruz, but if not, I would recommend the Dream Inn, which is at the head of the Wharf and has a nice beach.

5. Re: Santa Cruz vs Monterey with little kids

-:- 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: 19 June 2013, 08:43