Bikinis & Boardwalks: Virginia Beach & Santa Cruz

Get wet and wild at 2 amazing summer hot spots -- the beach boardwalks in Virginia Beach, VA, and Santa Cruz, CA.
Episode: Bikini Contest
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Santa Cruz, CA, is located just 75 miles down Route 101, south of San Francisco. The golden coast of California and the spirit of Polynesia meet at this seaside summer paradise.

Santa Cruz is the summertime fun zone that combines Hawaiian good times and California coastal pleasures. They’ve got Hawaiian canoe racing, snacks like chocolate-covered bacon and French-fried artichokes and a Polynesian Island Heritage Festival.

At Santa Cruz’s annual Polynesian Festival, the main attraction is the outrigger races. Outrigger boats are elongated 9-man canoes controlled by paddles and a Hawaiian tradition that dates back centuries.

The first recorded instance of surfing in the US was off the shores of Santa Cruz in 1885, when 3 Hawaiian princes decided to hang ten. Today, riding waves is still a favorite pastime in the waters of Santa Cruz.

Riders fly high above the Santa Cruz Boardwalk on the Sea Swings.

Santa Cruz’s Looff Carousel was built in 1911 by the Looff family, one of the early manufacturers of carousels. Only 5 other intact Looff carousels remain in the US, and this one was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

Virginia Beach is located just south of the oyster-filled waters of the Chesapeake Bay. A 3-mile boardwalk borders what the Guinness Book of Records calls “The World’s Largest Pleasure Beach.”

Every year more than 5.5 million summertime party people swarm Virginia Beach’s boardwalk. Virginia’s social elite first put the boardwalk on the map in the late 1800s, when they came to enjoy its first luxury hotel.

In addition to the wave pool, slides and lazy river, Virginia Beach’s Ocean Breeze Water Park offers shaded cabanas for relaxing like a VIP.

Just off the boardwalk in Rudee Inlet, strength, balance and flexibility are all honed and challenged with paddleboard yoga.

Don’t miss the rides at Virginia Beach’s oceanfront amusement park!