Boardwalk Still a Happening!

CA-Modern traces history and thrills behind Santa Cruz's vibrant 107-year-old attraction



Strolling the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in the balmy twilight, it's hard not to conclude that this was what the Beach Boys were longing for in 1964 with their plaintive serenade in 'I Get Around':

"I'm gettin' bugged driving up and down the same old strip, I gotta find a new place where the kids are hip"

It's not just the mural across the street that depicts that cruising scene. It's not just the vintage rides packed with screaming thrill seekers, sneaking glimpses of surfers on the crashing waves through eyes petrified with excitement—though that's a big part of it.

Most of all, it's that the Boardwalk is still a happening, in a very mid-century way, five or six decades later. In 2014, the Boardwalk is both yesterday and today—and rocks for the whole family!

Our CA-Modern magazine story, 'Thrills to No End,' conveys that clearly in an exhaustively researched piece for the new summer 2014 issue.

For our tale, the Boardwalk is placed solidly in California history as the only one of many beachside amusement parks to outlast their cultural heyday, from the mid-'50 to late '70s.

"Cruising was a big deal [back then]," says Ted Whiting of the Boardwalk of the 1950s, when he was a kid. "On a Saturday night, there would be a steady stream of cars from Pacific Avenue to the Boardwalk and back."

Whiting, whose family has helped run the Boardwalk since 1927, also shares a local's secrets on surviving the Fun House's Spinning Disk and how the 90-year-old Giant Dipper was "a rite of passage for every young kid in Santa Cruz."

To read additional interviews with colorful locals who look back on the mid-century Boardwalk, and to discover why the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk carries on as a vital family summer adventure today, check out 'Thrills to No End,' a sneak preview of the new summer '14 issue of CA-Modern.