Santa Cruz, CA is one of the world’s best-known surfing hubs -- a city whose very name has become synonymous with the sport. While it has been much-contested by jealous beach towns across the globe, surfers in the know refer to this place as the Real Surf City, a vibrant, colorful community with hanging ten at the center of its culture. Where there is surfing, there are beaches. Cowell’s Beach is the place for first-timers to pick up the sport, surrounded by the buzz of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and its rides, arcade and restaurants. Walking the Boardwalk is an experience all its own and a great way to get a feel for the local flavor. Hungry travelers stretching their legs out of their Santa Cruz hotel will want to order up some seafood at the Santa Cruz Wharf, known for its fishy fare. The beach at Natural Bridges State Park is only one of the reasons visitors flock there, in addition to the chance to see wintering monarch butterflies or catch incredible views along the cliffs of West Cliff Drive. From the family-friendly New Brighton State Beach to the clothing-optional Bonny Doon Beach, you’re sure to find a patch of sand that suits you. Should you ever need a break from the sunshine and sand, head to the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, a shrine to the sport that has some of the rarest and most interesting pieces of surf paraphernalia anywhere. Or, seize the opportunity to pet a shark at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, where you can get up close and personal with aquatic wildlife of all sorts. For a truly one of a kind experience, head to the aptly-named Mystery Spot for a puzzling look at phenomena that appear to break the laws of science and physics. When the sun sets on the boulevard and you’re ready to call it a day, stay in comfort and convenience at an IHG hotel in Santa Cruz. With locations near the beaches and must-see attractions, cozy accommodations and friendly staff with a disposition as sunny as the weather, you won’t be able to help making the most of your stay when you book with IHG today.
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