« Destinations

Santa Cruz, CA

Where better to hit the sand than Santa Cruz? Its beaches are legendary, and they’re way warmer than others around the Bay Area. The reason? They face south on crescent-shaped Monterey Bay and get drenched with sun all day, and though the water is cold—a chilly 55º on average—you can often laze on the sand in mid-winter with your shirt off. But the people, not the beaches, are what make Santa Cruz so notoriously—and deliciously—weird. Why are Santa Cruzians so aggressively political? Here’s my theory: Santa Cruz is the southernmost edge of the Bay Area Bubble. South of here, Los Angeles’s sphere of influence predominates. Santa Cruzians stand guard at the gate, and when you’re the sentinel, you have to be militant. - John Vlahides


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