Located on California’s central coast, Santa Cruz is one of those cities full of romantic spots ready to be experienced by couples getting engaged or celebrating an anniversary. Famous for the boardwalk and the wharf overlooking Monterey Bay, the Santa Cruz coastline also boasts a giant Ferris Wheel and an old-style roller coaster. Romantic dinners and wine tastings are easy in Santa Cruz, where the weather is lovely, and the atmosphere is inviting.

Here are some ideas for celebrating your anniversary in romantic Santa Cruz:

Explore the Beaches

Image via Flickr by BG3 Photo

All along the Santa Cruz coastline, there are plenty of beaches to visit. The most famous beach is Natural Bridges State Beach, where a huge arched rock stands on the shore as the last remaining natural bridge outcrop. There are other beaches closer to the wharf and many others north and south of downtown. Some beaches are long and perfect for strolling, others are great for noontime picnics under an umbrella, and others are wonderful for nighttime bonfire gatherings.

Kiss on the Ferris Wheel

One of the days you spend exploring the Santa Cruz coastline should end with a stroll along the boardwalk and wharf. Ride the iconic Ferris Wheel for a romantic kiss at the very top. The views of the city and the ocean are lovely, and if you aren’t afraid of heights, the experience will be memorable. After a romantic walk on the wharf and some hotdogs with relish overlooking Monterey Bay, head on back to your hotel to freshen up before dinner and drinks.

Have a Romantic Dinner

Apart from the family-style restaurants on the boardwalk, next to the beach, and around the city, there are plenty of upscale places for a romantic dinner with your significant other. Downtown Santa Cruz is full of little hipster bars and food venues, some more romantic than others. The style will depend on what you like, but the Red Restaurant is a swanky classic in the area. Another option is the Oswald Restaurant close to Riverwalk Park. Dress up a little for the perfect dinner date.

Go Wine Tasting at the Wineries and Vineyards

An entire afternoon can be separated for wine tasting. Santa Cruz has lots of wineries on the coast, on the foothills, and some higher up the mountains. Some wineries have incorporated restaurants with high-class chefs ready to serve you an amazing meal. The best way to go on a wine-tasting escapade is to pace yourselves and eat regularly. Drink water between wineries and take some breaks strolling through the vineyards. Find out more about the wineries in Santa Cruz at the visitor information website.

A romantic getaway in Santa Cruz is just what you need to refresh your free spirit. If you have kids, leave them with the grandparents. Pack up the bathing suits and that pretty dress or nice shirt you never wear. Don’t forget the phone chargers; that way you won’t miss any photo opportunities as you explore Santa Cruz together.