Take a short walk along a long pier.

No Santa Cruz beach vacation would be complete without a visit to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf.

This 100 year old wharf is the longest coastal timber pile wharf in the country, stretching out a half mile into the Monterey Bay, and hosts a variety of local businesses, seafood restaurants, gift shops and barking sea lions. Get your fish & chips, clam chowder, salt water taffy and fridge magnets here.

You can easily spend a couple of hours at this tourist haven before moving on to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, just a short walk away. But first, take in the views of Monterey Bay and its various surfers, sailboats, sea gulls and other wildlife (you might see a seal, sea lion, otter, whale or dolphin or two swimming by) and, of course, the sleeping sea lions under the wharf. (Follow the noise of the the not-so-sleepy ones barking and you'll easily find them.)

There are a number of great restaurants to choose from. Some of the more popular seafood restaurants like the Dolphin, Gilda's, Marini's, Gilbert's Firesfish Grill, Woodies Cafe, Vino Prima Wine Bar and Stagnaro Bros. Restaurant offer all the seafood options you'd expect and more. You're going to want something by the window, or even outside ideally on a nice day. Just watch out for those sea gulls. Then walk off that big lunch and browse the various souvenir gift shops along the wharf like Made in Santa Cruz, Bonnie's Gift Shop and Santa Cruz Bay Company.

You can even rent a boat, boogie boards, wetsuits and fishing gear at Santa Cruz Boat Rentals or a kayak from Venture Quest Kayaking. (Kayak tours on Monterey Bay are also available.)

Check out the free annual Woodies on the Wharf event June 23rd - 25th featuring more than 200 iconic pre-1952 wood-bodied automobiles, from 10am - 4pm, and the thousands of runners participating in the six mile Wharf to Wharf Race (“the best little road race in California”) every year from Santa Cruz to Capitola-by-the-Sea in late July.

Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf. 21 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Phone: (831) 420-5725. Pay to park.

 Santa Cruz Wharf boat display

Santa Cruz Wharf boat display

 Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf telescope

Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf telescope

 Stagnaro Bro's Seafood Restaurant Santa Cruz Wharf

Stagnaro Bro's Seafood Restaurant Santa Cruz Wharf

 Santa Cruz Wharf

Santa Cruz Wharf

 Sea Lions lounging under the Santa Cruz Wharf

Sea Lions lounging under the Santa Cruz Wharf

 Humans lounging and taking in the views from the Santa Cruz Wharf

Humans lounging and taking in the views from the Santa Cruz Wharf

 There are a number of restaurants to choose from on the Wharf

There are a number of restaurants to choose from on the Wharf

 Sleeping Sea Lions at the Santa Cruz Wharf

Sleeping Sea Lions at the Santa Cruz Wharf

 View inland from the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf

View inland from the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf

 The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk visible from the Santa Cruz Wharf and a short walk away

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk visible from the Santa Cruz Wharf and a short walk away

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