Capitola-by-the-Sea is a scenic city located on the Monterey
Bay in Santa Cruz County, approximately 70 miles south of San Francisco
and 35 miles north of Monterey. Change is underway with the addition of
several new hotels. Poised to capture tourists pocketbooks as well
as their hearts, overnighters are learning more and more about its
seaside charms, and they are staying longer in Capitola.
From the annual events such as the
Begonia Festival to Surfing Santa's arrival, there's more to
this place than simply strolling the wharf, kayaking, surfing,
fishing, shopping, dining and hikes. Special events create a festive
atmosphere throughout the year, providing plenty to see and do each
time you visit.
Surrounded by the Santa Cruz Mountains
on one side and the Monterey Bay on the other, west of Capitola Village
are New Brighton State Beach and Pot Belly Beach and sharing a common boundary
with the city is Soquel, which extends up the hillsides that climb all
the way to the top of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Soquel Creek starts in those
same hills above Capitola and flows into Capitola Village and into the ocean
near Cliff Drive, Esplanade and Riverview Avenue. This is where the annual
Begonia Festival Boat Parade is held. Stretching further at the foot of the
river is the beach and Capitola Wharf.
A charming town with boutiques, eateries, a theatre and
an intimate sand beach where surfers find nice wave breaks close to shore
at Capitola Jetty, we think of Capitola as a smaller version of Laguna
Beach. These beaches probably have more differences than similarities but
what we like about this Central Coast spot and the Orange County beach
are the artsy flavor of the town in which each beach sits.
For over 100 years, Capitola has
made tourists feel at ease by keeping life simple and pleasing.
Festivals celebrating begonias, sand castles, wine and art are
highlights for a town, located just around the bend from the big
city lights of Santa Cruz. The river, Soquel
Creek, the site of the annual Begonia Festival where flower laden floats
drift down the river, is held one weekend in September. Also held in September
along Capitola's Esplanade is Capitola Art & Wine Festival.
If you seek thrill rides and amusements, cruise north
a few miles but if you are looking for relaxation, 300 days of sunshine
and a friendly small town feel, park yourself next door in Capitola. Some
of the fun things to do include sitting at the benches along the beach
and watching waves and people, dining at one of the restaurants overlooking
the ocean and pier and shopping at the dozens of unique shops winding near
the water front.
How Capitola got its name - "Camp Capitola" likely
was named in 1874 after the heroine in a series of popular novels. The
land, which primarily served as a lumber port, was purchased from heirs
of the ranchos and the name acquired by Frederick Hihn, a German who sought
his fortune in the California Gold Rush. He bought the seaside village
and welcomed those who found the location appealing as a camping spot for
Escaping the heat of inland California locations, the
newly laid rails of the Santa Cruz-Watsonville Railroad provided a mode
of transportation for thousands seeking relief. As word got out about the
spot, Hihn subdivided parcels of his village and sold summer vacation lots.
The yet-to-be gold mine of prime property stayed in the
family for a short time after Hihn died, but then was sold just as World
War I began. Henry Allen Rispin had shared a vision common to developers
all along the California coast. Changing the name from Capitola or "Camp
Capitola" as many knew it, he called it Capitola-by-the-Sea. Poor Rispin's
timing could not have been worse! He lost his shirt (went bankrupt) just
as the Great Depression of 1929 hit.
Finally when two world wars ended and America began focusing
on the homestead, Capitola got serious and incorporated in 1949.
Capitola Chamber of Commerce for events, relocation,
maps and information -capitolachamber.com
Capitola Museum provides an interesting and well documented
history of its favorite city. Web:
capitolamuseum.org 410 Capitola Avenue, Capitola,
Airports Distance Driving Time
San Jose International 35 miles 45 Minutes
San Francisco International 62 miles
Oakland International 60 miles
Monterey Peninsula Airport 43 miles
Watsonville Municipal Airport 14 miles
Highway Access Five State Highways:
1, 9, 17, 129 & 152 (Providing access to U.S. 101)
Parks and Parkland - 42,334 acres owned and maintained
by the State of California in coastal and mountain areas. County
provides an additional 850 acres of parkland, numerous city parks. Miles
of challenging trails for equestrian and mountain biking uses.
Beaches - 29 miles of coastline, free access to
all public beaches - Gateway to the Monterey Bay National Marine
Sanctuary, world-class surf breaks. Additional Small Craft Harbor,
two municipal wharfs, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and five golf courses.
Santa Cruz Visitors: