This post is sponsored by FAGE; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links which don’t cost you anything extra to purchase from, but help keep things running at The Naptime Reviewer.
I am all about gifts of experience and time, and this Mother’s Day, my only request was a beach day with my family. I even offered to pack everything to ensure we had the best, most stress-free day we possibly could. The weather was absolutely perfect, the sun was shining, and it was a day full of love, laughter, and endless snacks. We spent the day at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which is one of my childhood favorites. It’s only a couple of hours away from our home and has so much to do for the whole family.
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a classic seaside amusement park located along a beautiful sandy beach in a friendly beach town. The Boardwalk features more than 40 rides and attractions including two National Historic Landmarks: the world-famous 1924 Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster and the beautiful 1911 Looff Carousel, plus many scream-inducing thrill rides, gentle kiddie rides, casual restaurants, gift shops, games, indoor arcades, and miniature golf.
When visiting for the day, you really don’t need to bring much, but here are my recommendations for having the most perfect day at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk:
What to Bring to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
- Drinks – Waters, juice boxes, sodas, etc. (no glass bottles and no alcohol is allowed on the beach)
- Beach chairs – I prefer the low-to-the-ground beach chairs because I like my legs to be in the sand
- Beach blankets
- Beach umbrella
- Beach hats, sunglasses, and swimsuits
- Sand toys, football, volleyball (they have public nets)
- Snacks – FAGE Total Split Cups (more details on my faves below), brie cheese with fig jam and crackers, string cheese, salami, wax peppers, little sandwiches, etc.
- Empty bags for trash and smaller bags for collection shells or saving snacks
We prefer to only pack snacks because the boardwalk has so many great eateries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can literally find anything you’re craving from garlic fries to ice cream cones to funnel cakes, fish and chips, pizza, candy (try the salt water taffy), and so much more. You can take a walk to the end of the pier to eat or stay right on the boardwalk.
For the snacks, we use a cooler bag rather than a big cooler. You will have to walk quite a ways from the boardwalk out to the waterline to set up your camp for the day, so you will want to pack as light and efficient as you can. A giant cooler with wheels will not work well on the Santa Cruz sand because it’s so soft and wheels won’t be able to roll on it.
I always make sure to pack a lot of protein-packed snacks for a day at the beach because my kids are on-the-go the entire time. They burn up so much energy and end up craving things like FAGE Total Split Cups, salami, and cheese. FAGE Total Split Cups come in a variety of flavors as well as a few different fat varieties and are non-GMO Project Verified snacks.
The FAGE Total Split Cups contain 30% less sugar and have no artificial sweeteners or no-calorie sweeteners. My girls love the raspberry and strawberry fruit toppings, and my husband likes mango and blueberry. They are honestly all so good, though, and the smaller sizes travel well in the cooler bag.
What to Do
I suggest you spend half of your day on the beach (preferably the first half before it gets too crowded). After your time at the beach, you can put everything back in your car and have fun on the boardwalk. The boardwalk has so many fun things to do:
- Rides – Thrill rides, family rides and kiddie rides
- Casino Arcade – Over 300 Video Games, Shooting Gallery, Air Hockey and more.
- Neptune’s Kingdom – Mini Golf, Arcade, Pool Tables, Air Hockey, Ping Pong, Food and more.
- Buccaneer Bay Mini Golf – The best miniature golf course in the area! The two-story 18 hole course has a pirate theme and black light cave. Located inside Neptune’s Kingdom.
Cost: $7 per person.
- Laser Tag – Bring a team or two of friends or just jump yourself into our 3,500 square foot arena. High scores are recorded as you tag opponents and dodge obstacles under the glowing black lights. Located inside the Casino Arcade.
Cost: $7 per person.
- Fright walk – The Boardwalk’s popular walk-through attraction is now located “under the Boardwalk” and upgraded in 2017 with additional scares and more square footage. Fright Walk’s spooktacular makeover will impress the bravest thrill-seekers with new high-tech surprises and some good old-fashioned frights.
- The Vault Laser Maze Challenge – A real test of balance and agility. Avoid touching the glowing laser beams as you make your way under, over, and through the tricky maze to the finish while friends track your progress then try to beat your score. Cost: $6 per person, $12 for 3 plays.
- Climb ‘n Conquer – Experience the thrill of rock climbing on our 26-foot climbing wall! Race friends to the top—up to 6 climbers at a time—or take it slow and enjoy the view. Appropriate for guests weighing between 50 and 250 pounds. Located by Entrance 3. Cost: $6 per climb or 2 climbs for $10.
- Boardwalk Bowl – The Boardwalk Bowl is a state-of-the-art facility for family bowling. Located directly across the street from the Casino Arcade, at the corner of Beach and Cliff streets.
- Smiley Orca Face Painting and Henna – Enjoy fast, high-quality face painting and henna designs from award-winning artists. Located next to the Giant Dipper exit and Cliff Hanger.
- Cali Caricature – Visit Cali Caricature and take home a fun, classic and customized amusement park souvenir—featuring you! Located next to the Haunted Castle and Cave Train Plaza.
You can visit the boardwalk’s website for ticket pricing, ride heights, and events coming up.
I buy my FAGE Total Greek Yogurt at either Target or Walmart. You may use this store locator tool to help find FAGE near you. You can also find really great cooler bags and other snacks at either of those stores.