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Boardwalk History

The family-operated Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been entertaining locals and visitors since 1907. The oldest amusement park in California and one of the last seaside amusement parks on the west coast of the United States, the Boardwalk remains a favorite destination for Northern California families.

The Giant Dipper roller coaster and Looff Carousel are both National Historic Landmarks and the entire Boardwalk property is a California Historic Landmark.

The Boardwalk's roots go back to 1865, when John Leibrandt opened a public bathhouse near the mouth of the San Lorenzo River. Other bathhouses followed and scores of tourists began visiting Santa Cruz to enjoy the highly-touted natural medicine of bathing in salt water.

Soon more concessions sprang up including restaurants, curio shops, and photo stands. Toward the end of the century Fred W. Swanton, considered one of the greatest promoters and entrepreneurs of his time, laid plans for a casino and boardwalk, a Coney Island of the West.

Learn More About Our Colorful Past

Wild Mouse Coaster at the Boardwalk

Never a Dull Moment NEW History Blog

Discover amazing facts about California's oldest amusement park. Ted Whiting III shares personal stories based on decades of experience working on "the 'Walk" and many hours of research into Boardwalk Archives.

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Shared Boardwalk Memories

Boardwalk Memories

Explore a fascinating collection of favorite memories and family photographs contributed by Boardwalk guests, then share yours!

See Memories

100 Years Millions of Memories DVD Case

100 Years, Millions of Memories DVD

Watch a 90-minute documentary filled with rare film clips, vintage photographs, and interviews that capture the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's enduring appeal.

Available at Millions of Memories shop near the Casino Arcade.

Boardwalk Historium in Neptune's Kingdom

Boardwalk Historium

Soak up a little Boardwalk history on the second floor of Neptune's Kingdom, the building once housed an indoor salt-water swimming pool.

The free exhibit includes photographs and memorabilia from the Boardwalk's first 100 years.

Boardwalk Walking History Tour

Historic Walking Tour

Take a stroll through Boardwalk history! Our free brochure includes points of interest and fun facts about the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Cocoanut Grove plus a map identifying locations of 18 interpretive signs displayed throughout the park

Download the Historic Walking Tour Brochure

Download History Tour Activity Workbook

Join the Big Kahuna Club

Sign up for a monthly round-up of the latest Boardwalk discounts, special events, and insider news!

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