If you caught my Capitola beach style post back in August, then you know I promised to share more about this darling town. You may be thinking, summer is over lady and I’m in “Back to School” mode (thank god), but lodging books fast in this quaint town, so if you are tinkering with the idea of a trip to Capitola next year, read on my friends! Our family books lodging the winter before our summer getaway.
We always go for a week or two so renting a beach house is ideal.There are many great options on VRBO, but we have typically stayed at the below two rentals. Both lovely.
1. The past few years we have stayed at this little gem called the Rose Cottage. It’s charming and cozy sleeping six. It’s around the corner from the main street, and maybe a 3 minute walk to the beach. The backyard is a lovely garden, with patio seating, and a BBQ just off to the side.
2. For decades my in-laws stayed at this Capitola House (not pictured). It’s a great option when you have a large group. It sleeps 10 which can be hard to find in vacation homes. This is just around the corner from the Rose Cottage, so it’s equally as close to the beach.
Other options I’ve heard to be good – The Capitola Venetian Hotel (which are the brightly colored buildings above) is a historic mediterranean hotel that is literally steps from the sand. All rooms come with a full kitchen, so you could stay for a long period of time. Lastly, if you wanted to go without the kids for a quick romantic getaway, check out the Capitola Hotel which is in the heart of the village.
What to Do
The city offers many cool events. (Here to see the calendar). We’ve been in town for the Art and Wine Festival, the Begonia Festival, and the Wharf to Wharf Race. All super fun, so do check out the calendar. But, of course the beach is always endless fun!
We’ve rented paddle boards, kayaks, or a fishing boat for further adventure. In the above pic we just got off from a fishing trip. You can rent the fishing boats directly off the wharf. Kayaks and paddle board rentals can be found by the public restroom area just off the beach.
Wahoo, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk which is a 10 minute drive from Capitola is loads of laughs. Audrey turned 4 this year, and the joy I felt watching her giggle and scream on all the rides was priceless.
Well, I’m a terrible golfer but hope to remedy that soon. That being said, our family and friends generally golf either Seascape in Aptos, or Spring Hills in Watsonville.
I love puttering through all the shops in Capitola but my favorites are Sweet Asylum, Zen Island and the Village Mouse. I’ve found one of a kind jewelry, dresses, and gifts at each of these boutiques. If you need a Macy’s, Target, or larger department store, then the Capitola Mall located off 41st street is only 5 minutes away.
Where to Grub
Wharf House is located at the end of the pier and serves up a fantastic breakfast. It offers traditional breakfast with yummy pancakes, but also seafood inspired omelets and egg benedict. Gayles Bakery is a short drive to Bay Ave, but it’s worth it. The baked goods are scrumptious, and if celebrating a birthday or special holiday it’s a great place to call in a cake or dessert. We love Mr. Toots for a cup of coffee and a morning stroll to watch the surfers.
Pizza My Heart – truth be told we either pack a lunch to the beach or grab a slice of pizza. You’ve likely heard of Pizza My Heart, because it’s a chain restaurant now. But, you probably didn’t know it was founded in Capitola in 1981. During the summer months the line can be CRAZY but it moves quickly. Tip – Call in an entire pie for the family from the beach, and you can bypass the line.
Zelda’s is the best place to grab a cocktail. There is an outside patio directly on the beach. The happy hour Mai Tai’s are fantastic. We don’t love the food at Zelda’s, so if you want an appetizer and a cocktail, we recommend Margaritaville, which is just a few doors over.
We love to bbq and cook at our beach rental, but also enjoy a night off. Shadowbrook Restaurant is by far our favorite spot to dine. Located along the river, you may walk or take a cable car through the garden to reach the entrance. The place is family friendly, but if you can get away without the munchkins for a night, it’s really romantic. Mike and I have been going for years, fantastic food, and the memories dance through my head every time we visit here. This would also be a great spot for groups. Stockton Bridge Grille is another good option. Spectacular views of the water and the seafood is always super fresh. Both locations are walking distance from any of the hotels or beach houses in the main village. If you are craving Mexican cuisine, Taqueria Agave and El Toro Bravo serve up some of the best!
No trip is complete without a visit to the Village Grille and Creamery – 48 flavors of locally made ice cream! This year my husband took my kids at 10am in the morning for their first ice cream cone…big kid himself. Needless to say, I had to take my mom pants off and chill out that they were eating chocolate ice cream for a post breakfast snack. Of course, Jack proceeded to request ice cream for breakfast the next few days, and looked at his eggs with disgust. Can you blame him?
We truly love this place, and while I focused on the summer, it’s less traveled and still beautiful for a mini vaca in the winter months. In the words of Huell Howser, thank you for letting me share a little piece of California gold with you all. Happy travels!