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At Home in the Capitola Village
Capitola Village, located on the Monterey Bay in California, is a charming beach resort town with a rich history and an array of activities for residents and tourists alike. With its colorful seaside shops, restaurants, and unique attractions, Capitola Village offers a quintessential Santa Cruz experience.
A Glimpse into Capitola’s History
Capitola, originally known as Camp Capitola, started as a simple tent camp along the Monterey Bay’s shore. It welcomed its first guests in 1874, making it California’s first beach resort. A few years later, it became home to the grand Victorian hotel, Hotel Capitola, which was unfortunately destroyed in a fire in 1929.
Today, the charm and romance of the original beach resort are still evident in the vibrant, seaside shops and restaurants nestled on a hillside along Soquel Creek. Exploring the village and its bayfront promenade, filled with window-shopping and snacking opportunities, is a vital part of experiencing Santa Cruz.
Play by the Bay
The bustling scene at Capitola Beach and the bench-filled Esplanade Park that fronts it are the heart of the village. Beachgoers can enjoy a panoramic beach view from the sea wall lined with colorful tiles painted by community members. The beach offers a variety of water activities, including swimming, surfing, boogie boarding, and stand-up paddleboarding.
As you stroll through the village, you’ll find palm trees, bright florals, beach bungalows, and murals at every corner, contributing to the vibrant atmosphere of this quaint beach town.
Shop till You Drop
Summer in Capitola Village isn’t complete without a visit to the Capitola Beach Company. Their rental trailer, stocked with everything you need for a fun day at the beach, including boogie boards, beach chairs, and sun umbrellas, signals the arrival of summer. Don’t miss their boutique, filled with men’s and women’s beach apparel individually selected by owners Jill and Matt.
Just around the corner, you’ll find Nubia Swimwear, offering a comprehensive selection of stylish women’s and girl’s swimwear from designers worldwide. For unique handmade treasures, the Craft Gallery is a must-visit, emphasizing products and pieces from the U.S. and Canada.
Dine with a View
The restaurants on the Esplanade boast incredible views of Capitola Village. With the beach, river, waves, wharf, palm trees, and candy-coated hues of the Venetians, these waterfront restaurants offer unbeatable views and vacation vibes.
Zelda’s on the Beach, Paradise Beach Grille, Margaritaville, and Capitola Beach Grill are just a few of the waterfront spots perfect for al fresco dining. Try Trestles Restaurant for a new favorite. Established in 2021, Trestles Restaurant is named after its location, just steps away from the iconic Capitola Trestle. Their commitment to using local, fresh ingredients to create seasonal fare will leave you wanting more.
Stay in Style
An integral part of the seaside landscape in Capitola Village is the colorful houses lining the beach. Originally built as condominiums in 1925 to bring Venice’s charm to Capitola, they now make up the atmospheric Capitola Venetian Hotel.
Another village favorite is the Capitola Hotel, located in the heart of the village and just steps from the beach. This boutique hotel offers luxury rooms dressed in crisp white cotton linens and the most comfortable beds you’ve ever slept in.
A History Lesson
Capitola has a fascinating history, and even a casual glimpse into the town offers an insight into America’s captivation with recreation and leisure. If you’re interested in the events and forces that shaped the local landscape, the Capitola Historical Museum is a great place to explore the town’s rich history.
Experiences and Tours
There are various ways to experience Capitola Beach and nearby attractions. Capitola Watercolor Journaling Experience, for instance, is a craft class that allows you to explore the beauty of Capitola through art. If you’re more into adventure, you can opt for a full-day tour like the BEST Redwood Forest, Santa Cruz Harbor 1-Day Trip.
Shopping in Capitola Village
Shopping in Capitola Village is an adventure in itself. With its family-owned shops and galleries, you can find everything from funky jewelry and local art to beach attire and perfect vacation mementos. Capitola Beach Company and O’Neill Surf Shop are perfect for beginners looking to catch some waves, offering equipment rentals and surfing lessons.
Capitola Village offers a plethora of dining options with picturesque views and delicious eats. Whether you’re in the mood for a relaxed meal at Zelda’s on the Beach or a fine dining experience at The Sand Bar & Grill, you’ll find something to satisfy your taste buds in Capitola Village.
From hotel rooms with unforgettable views to apartments or houses right on the river, beach, or Esplanade, your stay in Capitola will undoubtedly be unforgettable. Capitola Beach Suites, for instance, offers newly remodeled rooms, fully equipped kitchens, balconies, and a fantastic rooftop terrace, not to mention their iconic mural created by Manuel Cruz in 2017.
Apart from the beach, Capitola Village has numerous nearby attractions like the Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery, Phoebe’s Fine Jewelry and Art Glass, and Armida Winery. Whether you’re an art lover, a wine enthusiast, or just looking for some fun, Capitola Village has something for everyone.
Reviews and Recommendations
Visitors to Capitola Village often commend the area’s beautiful beach, vibrant atmosphere, and various activities. Whether it’s surfing, shopping, dining, or simply enjoying the stunning ocean views, Capitola Village continues to impress locals and tourists alike.
In conclusion, Capitola Village is more than just a beach town. Its rich history, vibrant atmosphere, and varied activities make it a must-visit location for anyone visiting California. Whether you’re a beach lover, a history buff, or a foodie, Capitola Village has something for everyone.
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"I help Long-Time Bay Area Homeowners make their next move their best one yet." -Seb Frey, REALTOR®