Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

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Theme Park:Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (since 1907)
Address:400 Beach St
95060 Santa Cruz
Operated by:Santa Cruz Seaside Company

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a seaside amusement park located in Santa Cruz, California right next to the Pacific Ocean. The park is famous for its 100 year old wooden roller coaster Giant Dipper.


Highlights of the Amusement Park



Giant Dipper

A true classic




The interactive looping ride




A fun spinning coaster


A short visit to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a pretty cool amusement park. Located directly on the Pacific Ocean, the park exudes a lot of charm, which is mainly due to its 99-year-old wooden rollercoaster, which takes up almost the entire park. The individual rides are located to the right and left of the boardwalk.


The Zamperla Disk’o Shockwave and the Maurer Spinning Coaster Untertow are located on the roof of a larger arcade. As always, it’s worth getting on the SC2000 backwards, which means you actually experience the first drop backwards before the spinning function is released after a climb and a short curve. Thanks to the subsequent hairpin bend, you’ll be well set in rotation so that you can usually experience the Immelmann Turn with a view of the sky or the ground. The subsequent track consists mainly of smaller bends and a fun straight with lots of swerves before you hurtle down a helix for the grand finale. All in all, a really great rollercoaster, especially if the waiting time is kept to a minimum.

Double Shot, Pirate Ship, Sky Glider und Typhoon

A ramp and stairs take you down to the boardwalk. Here you will find access to the Sky Glider chairlift – which was unfortunately not in operation on the day I visited – and three larger rides. In addition to the Typhoon looping ride, you can also take a ride on the classic Pirate Ship boat swing, before the more daring can take a ride on the S&S Double Shot, which is a great way to shoot yourself in the shoulder restraints.

Giant Dipper

Passing the fantastic façade of the Haunted Castle ghost train, we now move on to the park’s 99-year-old wooden rollercoaster, for which I had to adapt the tour over and over again, as the park unfortunately only rarely opens its rides in September; the Giant Dipper.

The ride on the Giant Dipper begins immediately with the entrance to a slightly longer tunnel, after which the ride’s lift is reached. After the first descent, which is around 20 metres high, we head straight into a large turning curve, which, however, offers a fairly steep entry and exit. Immediately afterwards, we race over a large hill and straight away over a double up. With the best view of the Beach Boardwalk, we now ride over a straight just above the braking section before gaining momentum again in an increasingly steep bend. Parallel to the track we have already experienced, we now race over a series of the finest airtime hills before changing direction again. At a constantly high speed, we race through the beams again and over a number of excellent airtime hills before coming to a halt in the braking section.

Even though I had already heard beforehand that the Giant Dipper is a really first-class wooden roller coaster, I didn’t expect it to mercilessly steal the show from my favourite 100-year-old wooden roller coaster to date – the Big Dipper from the English amusement park Blackpool Pleasure Beach. This ride is simply a class of its own and my favourite wooden roller coaster in the United States to date.


Passing the Afterburner Fireball, the path now leads us to a gem of American engineering: the Eyerly Rock-O-Plane from 1954. This ride is very reminiscent of a classic American Ferris wheel; however, thanks to the locking brake, you can hold your gondolas in position here, which also makes looping rides possible, or you can use the brake and shift your body a little to rock the gondola further and further, whereupon it is also possible to perform several successive somersaults. Great fun, which unfortunately cannot be experienced like this in Europe.

Logger’s Revenge

The second major attraction on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is the large Arrow log flume Logger’s Revenge, which acts as a kind of backdrop for the rear area of the park and plays a key role in shaping it. There are several rides below the elevated track, including the Moby Dick and the Round-Up Cyclone. The entrance to the Sea Serpent children’s roller coaster is also located directly below the log flume ride.

Sea Serpent

The small Sea Serpent roller coaster is a real thrill ride, mainly due to its sloping location and the ride being adapted to the terrain. Typical of American children’s roller coasters, the track mainly consists of tight bends and pretty crazy hills.

Cave Train, Ghost Blasters und WipeOut

Interestingly, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is home to many dark rides, two of which are located one level below the boardwalk. In addition to the classic Cave Train, the interactive dark ride Ghost Blasters can also be found here. Access to the indoor Break Dance WipeOut is also located on this level.

Pictures Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Conclusion Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk was a pretty cool start to my rollercoaster tour through California and Nevada this year. The park has a similar vibe to Blackpool Pleasure Beach and a pretty cool atmosphere, which made me really like the park. While I unfortunately only used a few tickets on this visit, I would love to come back for a day at the beach with a wristband for the theme park.


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Click here for the next report of the California Adventure Tour

An Icon of the Pleasure Beach

My last visit to the Pleasure Beach was in 2016, so I was very excited to finally ride the park’s newest addition, the Mack Rides roller coaster Icon. For the 2022 season, the last car of one of the trains was replaced by a car offering a spinning pair of seats, thus creating the Ensō experience – a nice feature which comes with a heavy price tag.

The ride on Icon starts rather slowly as we are approaching the launch position. Starting from a standstill, we directly approach the lift hill support structure of the Big One roller coaster whilst racing over a huge camelback hill.  After a steep curve resembling an inclided loop tilted to the left, we make our way towards the courtyard of the Steeplechase roller coaster. After diving under the old horse ride coaster, we take some quick near ground direction changes, before we finally gain a bit of altitude and cross the track. Right above the visitors, we now take a well ballanced heartline roll – something you would not expect from a Mack Rides roller coaster. After making our way below the huge camelback hill, we dive down into a tunnel which leads directly into the second launch.

After being accelerated the second time, we gain up some height in a non-inverting Immelmann turn. This element rides itself rather odd, yet if gives you some views onto the park. A very funny right-hand bend follows, which leads into a very hill and dale section of the layout. After going up and down for quite a while, we now race over a weirdly banked speed bump, leading into a sequence of very short swifts to the right and to the left, where one of them unnecessarily crosses the Big Dipper roller coaster. After that, we are done and quickly approach the station. 

Icon has a very strong first act and a weaker second one. It’s funny that the ride is actually at its best, when the constrains due to the limited space were most severe. On the rather large plot of land where the second part of the roller coaster runs, the ride is quite repetitive. Especially the end of the ride is unfortunately not quite as successful. I would have liked to see a series of straight camelbacks here that would really knock your socks off, instead we swerve continuously from the right to the left and vice versa. Icon is therefore not my favourite ride at the Blackpool Pleasure Beach, nor comes anywhere close to the first double launch coaster the Pleasure Beach is offering since 1979. Anyhow, it is still a fun ride and a nice addtion to the fantastic rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Pictures Blackpool Pleasure Beach


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