Break for the Beach

A food lover's weekend in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is the California beach town of our dreams.

Here, everything–from the abundant sunshine to the surfers to the wooden roller coaster–suggests a springtime paradise.

Until recently, the reasons to spend a weekend in Santa Cruz were many, but they didn't include food. That's all changed, and our food lover's itinerary will guide you to waffle cones loaded with scoops of small-batch ice cream, outstanding sandwiches in proximity to the boardwalk, and a filling station turned open-air coffee shop.

We've also suggested our favorite Sunday farmers' market, where you can order outstanding breakfast tacos before stocking up on vegetables and fruit for the week ahead, including super-sweet strawberries from Santa Cruz's Dirty Girl Farm.

Leave early enough and you can cram it all into one high-calorie, action-packed day trip from San Francisco. The drive is about an hour, the last part of which is spent on winding, redwood-lined Route 17. Or go for the weekend, which will give you the opportunity to build some beach time into your eating excursion.