America's Best Little Beach Towns
Santa Cruz, CA
Thrill-seekers flock to the Giant Dipper roller coaster at the Beach Boardwalk amusement park, but Santa Cruz has a surfeit of other attractions: Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, surfers at Pleasure Point (and the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum), and frolicsome seals at Natural Bridges State Beach.
Stay: At the Casablanca Inn, most rooms have ocean views (and a handful have fireplaces, for when those NoCal nights get chilly). The restaurant looks out on the awesome expanse of the Pacific.
Eat: Center Street Grill is the go-to restaurant for salads, pastas, homemade hollandaise sauce, ahi tuna, and freshly squeezed lemonade and orange juice on the outdoor patio.