Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk

400 Beach Street

Santa Cruz, California 95060

In times gone by, the Pacific coast was home to a string of boardwalks, amusement facilities, and bath houses. One by one, they all disappeared; the Pike in Long Beach, Playland in San Francisco, and other parks and rollercoasters in Venice, Santa Monica, Portland and San Diego.

Santa Cruz originally became a tourist attraction back in 1865, when a man by the name of John Liebrandt built the first of many public bath houses near the mouth of the San Lorenzo River. Increasing numbers of tourists were attracted as bath house owners preached on the health benefits of bathing in salt water. Soon, concessions and a boardwalk patterned after the ones at Coney Island sprang up nearby.

Rides and Pastimes...

Giant Dipper (1924)

Built in just 47 days at a cost of $50,000, this coaster is a classic wooden twister, filled with a half mile of graceful arches and sweeping fan curves surpassed only by its 70 foot drop and its 55 mile per hour speeds. The structure was designed by Arthur Loof, who has envisioned a giant wooden coaster that would be "a combination of earthquake, balloon ascension, and aeroplane drop." In 1987, the Giant Dipper was honored as a National Historic Landmark by the US National Park Service.


This SDC Windstorm steel coaster was designed in Germany and manufacted in Italy. It's compact space allowes it to fit nicely in the limited space on the boardwalk. It is described as unusually smooth for a coaster of its size, with 80-degree banked turns and twisting dives. The only other similiar coaster in the US is located at Long Island's Adventureland.

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