Santa Cruz Beach is by far one of the most famous beaches in California, and as the Beach Boys sang “Down by the boardwalk, down by the sea, on a blanket with my baby, is where I want to be.” There are many places to check out in Santa Cruz, including the Historic Municipal Wharf, Downtown, and of course the Beach Boardwalk. For many in the Bay Area Santa Cruz is often a day trip but many locals and tourists from all over all year round make overnight trips to this special beach town.

Ocean Hotel: Dream Inn

A hotel called the Dream Inn overlooks the Monterey Bay, Municipal Wharf, and Boardwalk. This hotel has a fun modern 1970s decor and multiple accessible rooms, some with a wheelchair accessible roll-in shower (#313 and #113). Room #312 has an ADA bathtub.

A restaurant is located at the end of the hotel with a full bar and views of the ocean. Guests in wheelchairs can access it using the pathway outside of the hotel then taking the elevator inside down to the ground. Getting there is a bit of a maze. Some menu items were pretty tasty while others fell way short of success and seemed expensive for the quality. In short, there are so many amazing restaurants in Santa Cruz so explore options outside the hotel.

Rooms #313 and #312 are right at the lobby level and are the second to the highest story, so the view of the ocean and pool area is breathtaking from your patio.  You still have an ocean view at #113 but it’s partially obstructed; the ramp is right outside the patio door. Room #113 also has a lot of traffic noise. The bathroom in #313 and #113 had a very large roll-in shower with a soap shelf conveniently placed in a reachable. All rooms had a roll-up sink and of course, there were grab bars all over the place.

A ramp leads down to the pool area and portable lifts were available at both the spa and pool. There were tons of lounge chairs, seating areas, and umbrellas surrounding the pool and spa. A few fire-pits were also in the pool area that you can request to be turned on. Being so close to the ocean to watch the waves but not having to worry about getting sand in your barrings was a definite positive.  However, if you wanted to get sandy the hotel has a permanent sturdy rubber ramp that will take you pretty far out onto the sand. At the end of the ramp, you’ll be able to see a lifeguard stand where a beach wheelchair is available upon request in case you want to go out even further onto the beach.

There is nothing like Santa Cruz in the summertime but for the first time I traveled to this beach destination in the winter and loved it; a lot fewer people this time of the year too. The weather in Santa Cruz is always on the cooler side, so don’t think you’ll be in a climate like Mexico, but the ocean is always majestic.

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