Last Updated on 06/19/2022
Last weekend, I drove down to Capitola for a beach getaway with some old friends. I’ve been visiting this colorful beach town on the California coast since I was a kid. My mom adores this place. Not only is it a great weekend destination, but also I’d recommend it as an alternative pitstop to Carmel-by-the-Sea on your PCH road trip. It has much more of a surfer, laid-back feel… which is more of my jam.
Usually, photos of Capitola are super saturated and the town looks like a mini Burano, Italy in California. Not the case for a weekend in early March. It was drizzling and overcast the entire weekend. I was lucky to grab these few snaps during a clearing.
Before the days of HomeAway, my mom and I would stay at The Depot Inn or in one of the colorful, mission-style cottages on the beach. If you plan on visiting with a large group like I did, I’d also consider getting a beach house in Aptos or Santa Cruz. Check out the listings on Beach House Rentals too for some great options.
Pizza My Heart has been serving pizza in Capitola since 1981. Expect a line out the door filled with barefoot beachgoers on summer days.
True to its name, Margaritaville makes a mean margarita with fresh lime juice.
Slightly up the hill you’ll find the slightly overpriced Gayle’s Bakery. This place is a Capitola landmark and princess cake institution. I was never into princess things as a kid, but I can remember coming here in the 90s and downing a slice despite its name. Gayle laughs all the way to the bank these days; a 5 inch princess cake will set you back $22.95. The place is a damn zoo, but a packed restaurant is a good sign to me.
Beach it… that’s really the main activity in town.
There’s also a little walkway that runs along the creek if you’re in the mood for a stroll. I always get a kick out of peeking at the cottages and their private river fronts.
Santa Cruz is about 15 minutes away if you want to go to the oldest amusement park in California, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. There’s also a nice downtown area chock-full with surf shops.
“Weather” (pun intended) it’s a gorgeous, sunny day or you’re stuck with cloudy skies, Capitola is a quaint town that I’ve enjoyed visiting at all ages. Have you ever been to Capitola? What was your favorite thing about it?