Living Like Locals in Santa Cruz

Tanner and I have realized over the years that we’re (collectively) not great planners.  This summer rolled around and we didn’t have a family trip on the books, but also, in our defense, we did have a newborn on the calendar arriving in May… so we kinda just were playing the rest of the summer by ear.  T took a week off of work when Willow arrived, so come early June I was craving another week of his time…and to just relax, our little family of now four(!).  Lazy beach time or a cabin getaway… I didn’t care… and my only criteria was a 2-3 hour distance-max to drive.  After narrowing down some options, and realizing you really need to be on top of the ball to get the best house rentals (note to us for next summer!), we landed on a beach house in Santa Cruz.  We both hadn’t been back to the area since college and knew so much had changed since then so we were excited to explore all over again.  Also, the house we rented was technically Pleasure Point / Capitola which we had never explored before so it was all new to us!

I had a whole list of restaurants to try and beaches and hikes for exploring but ultimately it was one of those perfectly lazy beach weeks in which we stuck mostly to the three block vicinity around our house.  The house we rented was just a block from two separate beach entrances–both of which were perfect smaller spots to take kids.  Our mornings were slow.  Verve coffee (brewed at the house) and morning walks to Pleasure Point Market for breakfast burritos and surfer watching.  We all became absolutely mesmerized by the surfers.  Afternoons were spent on the beach, napping or checking out a few spots I had on my list (faves below!).  And even though I had a whole list of restaurants recommended to me, we only ate out a handful of times.  We were just on that slow-mo schedule,  barbecuing back at the house and walking to the beach for sunset was just the perfect speed for us.

A few personal highlights from our week::

– morning breakfast burritos from The Point Market

– the chips and salsa from Palapas (per my brother-in-law’s insistent request that we go and order)

– indigo and raw amber finds at Patine

– a chocolate and caramel double scoop ice cream from Penny Ice Creamery

– foggy mornings drinking coffee and moving slow, just hanging at the house

– evening sunsets at the beach and all of Rex’s rock finds (we may have brought a handful home–along with some sand that he just couldn’t part with, ha)

Additional faves from the week included:


Bookshop Santa Cruz (downtown–we picked up a few new books for Rex!)

Stripe + Stripe Mens (downtown)

Cameron Marks (and that cute little shopping area with Kelly’s French Bakery)

And highly recommended from you, and bummed we didn’t make it to this trip:

Eat / Drink:

Cat and Cloud Coffee

Aptos BBQ

Gayle’s Bakery (Capitola)

Harbor Cafe (for brunch)

Beaches / Parks:

Natural Bridges

Wilder Ranch


Mini Mint (for baby)


I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Willow will be three months this week.  No longer a newborn (tear!).  I’ve been especially sad and hormonal about this lately as I think I know deep down she’s probably our last baby.  And I just love this newborn stage so much.  Soaking it up as much as I can… which has been harder this time around juggling two.  I feel like this newborn stage has been flying by 10x as fast as it did with Rex.

I mean, doesn’t he look straight out of a movie or what?


Rex’s rock finds… He found some gems and this trio definitely came home with us.


Wearing  |  Margaret O’Leary Cardigan (highly recommend! I wear it so often I now want it in black for fall).  Marysia Swimsuit.  Ozma Jumpsuit (another summer staple–pictured below).

Packing list…


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