About Elizabeth Coleman

Elizabeth Coleman is an attorney-turned-writer born and raised in the Santa Cruz mountains. Her mom reads her blog, www.realitygumbo.com.

Lupin Lodge: More Than Just Nudists in Nature

Lupin Lodge

Situated on 110 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains is Lupin Lodge, a clothing-optional, family-friendly resort.

“Lupinites” are socially responsible lovers of body freedom who seek an escape from the stresses of society. The dress code is specifically “clothing-optional,” instead of the traditional “nude” to escape the rigid inflexibility and authoritarianism of mandatory nudity. The only area of the resort where nudity is required is the pool, sauna and hot tub area.

Lupin Lodge chairs

A trip to Lupin offers a uniquely human experience free from mainstream societal pressures that surround the body. Nude recreation includes swimming, hot tub and sauna, hiking, volleyball, basketball, and tennis. Many enjoy staying in yurts or sleeping under the stars or in tents, though different membership options to the resort include just day-access.

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Jersey Shore Wannabes, Bathing Beauties, and Cold-Cut Dresses: The Miss California Pageant’s History in Santa Cruz

Miss California Pageant Santa Cruz Boardwalk

The first Miss California pageant, dubbed the Miss California Bathing Beauty Contest, was held in 1924 in Santa Cruz on the Boardwalk.

The popular Miss America Pageant had started in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1921, and local businessmen and politicians wanted to boost tourism and revenue by making Santa Cruz seem more like Atlantic City. In fact, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk was originally designed to invoke the seaside resort-towns along the Jersey shoreline.

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Shakespeare Santa Cruz Presents the Playwright’s Work Through an Edgy Lens

Shakespeare Santa Cruz LogoFounded in 1981, Shakespeare Santa Cruz is one of the premier theater groups in the region, and one of the best cultural experiences in Santa Cruz.

The theater group, which is actually UCSC’s professional residence theater company, focuses on inventive and innovative productions of the Elizabethan Bard’s classic masterpieces. By introducing contemporary aspects, Shakespeare Santa Cruz makes Shakespeare edgy and widely accessible to the audience.

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Boom Towns, Bear Attacks, and Religious Cults: The History of the Santa Cruz Mountains’ Ghost Towns

Patchen, Santa Cruz Ghost TownWhen people think about the Santa Cruz Mountains, ghost towns aren’t usually the first thing that pops in their minds.

However, in the last half of the nineteenth century, the mountains were home to a number of booming pioneer towns and mining camps that sprung up along the stagecoach and railroad lines between Los Gatos and Santa Cruz.

Similar to nowadays, Santa Cruz’s beaches brought tourists and day-trippers in from the valley, and a number of hotels and resorts were built in the mountains in the late 1800s to cater to the crowds.

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Turning Water into Milk: Wilder Ranch’s Innovative History

Wilder Ranch State Park

There are few places in California that make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time.

Wilder Ranch is one of them.

Situated on 7,000 acres just north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1, Wilder Ranch State Park features over 34 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails.

The land remains largely untouched, reminding you of the Santa Cruz that once was, with trails and paths that wind through shady redwood forests and coastal terraces and valleys.

Breathtaking views of coastal bluffs, tidepools, and sea caves, as well as the preserved dairy ranch and living history demonstrations make Wilder Ranch a popular spot for the entire family.

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The Ultimate Guide to Santa Cruz Hotels

Planning a vacation in Santa Cruz?

From luxury hotels, bed and breakfasts, budget options, and pet-friendly accommodations, this Ultimate Guide to Santa Cruz Hotels features the best that Santa Cruz has to offer.

This guide is broken down into sections covering luxury hotels, boutique inns, bed & breakfasts, budget hotels, beachfront, motels, pet-friendly, and green hotels. You’ll also find vacation rentals, and hotels near the boardwalk.



Dream Inn

Dream Inn Santa CruzThe Santa Cruz Dream Inn is a retro-chic Joie de Vivre hotel located just adjacent to the Municipal Wharf and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Cowell’s Beach.

Each of the 165 light-flooded rooms in the 10-story hotel features ocean views from private balconies.

The Dream Inn was recently remodeled and its new on-site restaurant, Aquarius, offers a variety of sustainable seafood in a sleek modern setting.

Dream Inn
175 W. Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA
Book a Room

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Locals Go Loco for Santa Cruz First Friday

First Friday Santa CruzEach month, thousands of enthusiastic art-goers flock to downtown Santa Cruz to check out the art, music, wine, and food at First Friday.

Founded in 2003, the event started as a small guided art tour to help promote local artists.

Since then, however, it has exploded into a city-wide block party and social event that has completely transformed the local arts scene and revitalized the community.

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Guide to the Best Santa Cruz Beaches

Natural Bridges, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz County is home to some of the best beaches on the West Coast.

Surfing?  Absolutely.

Tide pooling?  Check.

Miles of uninterrupted sand, and beautiful sunset views?  mmm hmmm.

Beach volleyball, Sand Castle Contests, Beach Concerts?  Got those too.

Nude Beaches?  Uh…

Guide to the Best Santa Cruz Beaches:

Santa Cruz beaches have something for everyone. Some are favorites with tourists due to proximity to hotels and shopping while others tend to be local favorites. Below you will find all the best Santa Cruz beaches. We’ve given you two options for navigating this post:

View on a Map

Santa Cruz Beaches Map

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Chocolate Covered Bacon Is A Vegan’s Nightmare And A Bacon-Lover’s Dream In Santa Cruz

Chocolate Covered BaconSanta Cruz is well-known for its vegan roots.

However, one local candy shop, Marini’s Candies’, goes against the norm by offering chocolate covered bacon and various other bacon-inspired offerings.

The marriage of bacon and chocolate, two culinary juggernauts that easily stand on their own, is truly a bacon-lover’s dream.

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