Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk History


The family-operated Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been entertaining guests by the beach since 1907. One of the last of the classic seaside amusement parks in the United States, the Boardwalk is considered one of the best seaside amusement parks in the world.

Our History

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.

Links to more Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk history:

A Century by the Sea

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: A Century by the Sea, is a 164-page book filled with interesting facts, stories, and hundreds of photographs from the Boardwalk's colorful past. Available at your local bookstore or at the beautiful Millions of Memories store on the Boardwalk.

100 Years, Millions of Memories DVD

Our 90-minute documentary is filled with rare film footage, vintage photographs, and heartfelt interviews that capture the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's enduring appeal to children of all ages. Available at the beautiful Millions of Memories store on the Boardwalk.

Boardwalk Historium

Take a walk through Boardwalk history on the second floor of Neptune's Kingdom. The free exhibit includes photographs from the Boardwalk's first 100 years and antique arcade games restored on the TV program American Restoration.

Historic Walking Tour

Take a walk through Boardwalk history. Our free Historic Walking Tour brochure includes points of interest and fun facts about the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Cocoanut Grove plus locations of 18 interpretive signs displayed throughout the park.

Click here to download the Historic Walking Tour brochure.


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