Friday, May 24, 2013

Santa Cruz

After last week's short trip to Half Moon Bay, this week we ventured out to explore Santa Cruz beach. We were accompanied by our lovely friends mentioned in this post.

Santa Cruz is an hours drive southwards from Sunnyvale. We took the scenic CA-17 route. The traffic this week was no different than last time and we were slowed down tremendously. After a very frustratingly slow drive through the over crowded, winding roads. we reached the Santa Cruz beach.
It was different from the Half Moon Bay beach because it was very lively and colorful. Shops, eateries dotted one side of the beach. There is a small amusement park  called 'The Boardwalk' on the beach. It has a whole bunch of fun looking rides. 
Boardwalk Entrance
There is a heritage train that starts at the beach and takes you to the Roaring Camp in Felton. It is an hour long ride that goes through the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and stops at Felton and returns after an hour. The tickets are sold on board and costs $28 per head for a return ticket. The train is has an open top and the ride through the Redwood forests is superb. There is nothing much to do at Felton except walk around the big camp. There is only one food stall which, like all tourist spots, serves over-priced bad food. I'd advice you to carry a picnic lunch with you to enjoy there.

Train through the Redwood forest

Train going through the tunnel

We came back to the beach after a bad lunch at Felton. The weather had suddenly become much colder and we were shivering. We walked along the beach, visited the curio shops and grabbed a quick bite. The cold wind made it quite difficult for us to stay and so we started back home at around 6 pm.

Santa Cruz Beach

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Half Moon Bay

  To take our new car for a spin, we went on a long drive to Half Moon Bay last Sunday. Half Moon Bay is 45 minutes drive (roughly 35 miles) from Sunnyvale. After checking out the weather forecast, we decided to start in the afternoon to avoid the chilly breeze.    

The car was an absolute treat on the freeway. It zip, zap, zoomed at great speed with ease. CA-92 W is supposed to be the best part of the route since it is very scenic and windy. V was looking forward to check out how the car behaves on the turns. But it looked like everyone was going to the beach that day and the road was packed. At one point, we were going at 11 mph on a 45 mph stretch! 

After getting the wrong directions, being lost and finding our way back, we finally reached the Half Moon Bay State beach also known as the Francis beach at around 4 pm. It is a broad, sandy beach and is picturesque. Fishing, surfing, sunbathing, picnicking and barbecuing are popular activities here. There are campgrounds by the beach where one can camp in tents, trailers or recreational vehicles.

It was a beautiful day to be at the beach. The wind wasn't very chilly and the sun wasn't too harsh. We spent a couple of hours walking on the sand, watching the waves and clicking pictures. There is something very therapeutic about sitting on the beach, watching the waves and the seagulls. It felt very refreshing.

There is a small downtown close by where we got some lunch. But I think it would would have been nicer if we had carried a picnic lunch to have on the beach.

A visitor center and restroom facilities are available. I hear there is a horse riding trail too along the beach. We saw a few stables along the way which offer pony and horse riding. We headed home around sunset and the roads were pretty empty by then. It was a much nicer drive back home.