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Capitola is a small, charming town on the coast of Monterey Bay in California. It is approximately 6 miles east of downtown Santa Cruz.

Get in[edit]

From Santa Cruz, drive south on CA-1. Turn onto Bay Ave.

Get around[edit]

In the summer, Capitola can be popular and crowded. Parking is often scarce. A free shuttle runs in summer weekends to and from city parking lots to the Village.

  • Capitola Parking Information, [1].  edit

See[edit][add listing]

  • Capitola Historical Museum, [10]. Provides a physical history of Capitola with its collections of photographs and artifacts important to Capitola’s history. It also features exhibits on the art or history of Capitola.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Capitola City Beach, right in the Village, is a wonderful family beach - lots of clean sand and small but regular waves for anyone learning to surf.
  • New Brighton Beach, [11]. A scenic state beach located about two miles from Capitola Village. There is a campsite above the beach.


Capitola hosts a number of year-round events, including Twilight Concerts, Art at the Beach, the Capitola Begonia Festival, Movies at the Beach, the Capitola Art and Wine Festival, and many more. [12]

Capitola Art & Wine Festival, [13]. An admission-free event held in Capitola Village. It features music and food, as well as art and wine; many local wineries, artists, and restaurants participate.[14] This has been a Capitola tradition since 1983. In a recent festival, 185 artists and 17 wineries participated.

Capitola Begonia Festival, [15]. This annual festival has taken place on Labor Day Weekend for over fifty years. Festivities include float making/float parade (the floats actually float—it’s a nautical parade!), sand sculpture building, live music, film screenings, and art-related activities.[16] The Pacific Begonia was hybridized in Capitola by the Brown family. A woman named Peggy Matthews noticed all of the begonia flowers going to waste on the Brown Bulb Ranch, and in 1951, was given permission to pick as many flowers as she liked. The Capitola Water Follies featured paddleboards covered in begonias this same year, and that is how the festival began. 1952 was the first official float-making year.[17]

Wharf to Wharf. This six-mile race from the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf to the Capitola Wharf is known as “The best little roadrace in California.” It began in 1973 and has gained popularity ever since. Cash prizes are doled out to the top three winners.[18] The race is for all types of runners and is on a very scenic route. The race is limited to 15,000 runners.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Capitola Village offers a variety of shopping and dining options. The shopping area consists of a number of retail art galleries, jewelry stores, and cute boutiques that will satisfy even the most discerning shopper.[19]

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Cafe Lido is directly across from the beach. Enjoy delicious seafood, creative salads, and the best bread pudding ever.
  • Fog Bank is right on the beach and offers casual, stick-to-your-ribs style meals. Serves breakfast through dinner. Blues bands entertain in the evenings.
  • Margaritaville puts you right on the estuary with spectacular views of the sea and beach. 231 Esplanade, Capitola, CA 95010, 831.476.2263, [2].
  • Tortilla Flats, 4616 Soquel Dr., Soquel, CA 95073, (831) 476-1754, [20]. Best Mexican food and margaritas in town – moles to die for. weekly tapas special (monday and tuesday) and special events menus. $6-$15.
  • Shadowbrook Restaurant, 1750 Wharf Road, 800.975.1511, [3]. Gorgeous setting overlooking Soquel Creek and reached by a "cable car" tram. Fine dining, Old-World charm.  edit
  • Paradise Beach Grille, 215 Esplanade, 831.476.4900, [4]. Overlooking the water in Capitola Village, offers great atmosphere and island fusion cuisine. Full bar.  edit
  • Zelda's, 203 Esplanade, 831.475.4900, [5]. Casual dining in a comfortable setting. Enjoy the day on Capitola's only beachside deck.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Beach House Rentals, 800.330.2979, [6]. Fully furnished homes with all amenities including fireplaces, hot tubs, ocean views.  edit
  • Best Western Capitola-By-The-Sea Inn & Suites, 1435 41st Avenue, +1 831 477-0607 (toll free: +1 800 621-8115, fax: +1 831 477-7008), [7].  edit
  • Capitola Hotel, 210 Esplanade, 888.395.9200, [8]. Boutique hotel across from the beach, in the heart of Capitola Village.  edit
  • The Capitola Inn, 820 Bay Ave (Take the Bay Ave / Porter St exit off Highway 1. Heading west, turn left into The Corssroads Shopping Center. The driveway is straight ahead, up the hill, on the left.), 800-660-2716, [9]. Close to the freeway and a short drive or nice walk to the beach. Excellent specialty coffee machine and heated pool. Also offers extended stay suites.  edit

Get out[edit]

Routes through Capitola
San FranciscoSanta Cruz  N noframe S  AptosMonterey

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