The End of the Road

Day 14 – After breakfast today, I stopped in the office at Pismo Lighthouse Suites and asked the desk clerk how find the sand dunes we looked for during yesterday’s frightful adventure. It turns out that we had the right place the very first time! The place that had a flashing sign asking for permits and papers was just for people who want to DRIVE on the dunes. There’s a restaurant just off the road where people can park and walk onto the dunes and beach. Knowing this, we had to go there after we checked out of the hotel.

We spent a few minutes letting the kids run up and down the dunes, and then it was time to hit the road once again. Our next stop would be Santa Cruz.

Pismo Beach - The End of the Road

We stopped for lunch on the way, and ate in a neat little park in San Luis Obispo, called Santa Rosa Park. The kids had a good time running around and playing after the meal, and the adults had a fine time watching the construction going on next to us. They are building what appears to be a first-class skate park adjacent to the playground, and it looks like it will be really neat when it’s finished! Side note: it’s always great if you can find a playground for the kids while you’re traveling on the road. It really breaks up the monotony of driving for them!

We arrived at the Holiday Inn Express – Santa Cruz in the late afternoon. This place was a bit of a disappointment. The decor was very dated, and housekeeping never came to our room during our stay. But the layout of the room worked okay for us, and it served its purpose.

We had dinner at the Santa Cruz Diner. Apparently Guy from the Food Network show, Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, has eaten here. This place has a very extensive menu, and we ordered a lot of different things. Overall, I’d say the food was pretty good for diner food!

Guy Ate Here - Santa Cruz Diner

Day 15 – After accidentally sleeping through breakfast (Yay for a good night’s sleep) we headed over to today’s entertainment, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. This place is definitely worth spending a day if you’re ever in the area! They have plenty of thrill rides as well as family rides, a neat cable-car ride that takes you over the whole area, and a very nice beach.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk and Beach

We visited during the World Cup soccer finals, and I thought it was neat there were quite a few soccer fields set up on the beach. Some young people were playing, and that was fun to watch as we rode the cable car.

Fair Food at Santa Cruz Boardwalk

They have “unlimited ride” wristbands you can purchase for $31.95 plus tax, which seems like a very good deal. If you plan your trip and pack just right, you could spend the chilly morning hours doing lots of rides, then eat some great fair-type food for lunch, spend the afternoon swimming and playing at the beach, then rinse off and change. If you visit on a Friday in summer, you may be able to catch one of their free concerts (Blind Melon was playing for our visit). Then grab some dinner and ride the attractions again, all lit up in the dark!

Santa Cruz Boardwalk at night

It was a great outing to end our 15-day road trip in California! Tomorrow we check out of the hotel and head back to “real life”. A thousand million thanks to my friend Gina, who soldiered along on this trip with all her kids, and kept a smile on her face every day. I’m so glad you came with us!

If you’ve read all my trip report blogs, thanks for staying with me! And if you have any questions about the places I visited, feel free to email me at for more details.

My name is Brenda Arnold-Richard, and I’m a travel planner with Travel with the Magic. Like the Travel with the Magic page on Facebook, and follow me on Pinterest to see more of our trip.

It’ll either be fabulous or awful, but it’s bound to be interesting!