Capitola or Capitola by the Sea is a beach city in Santa Cruz County just south of Santa Cruz. The scenic place is set on hills overlooking the sea, with the downtown portion of the city at sea level.
Capitola Events include Begonia Festival, Art & Wine Festival, Kite Classic, Surfin' Santa and the annual Vintage Motorcycles Show.
There's a great Capitola Wharf where you can grab a seaside snack, rent a kayak or fish like you can do for free at all California public piers. This incredibly charming town with boutiques, restaurants with ocean views, a theatre and sand beach where surfers find nice wave breaks close to shore at Capitola Jetty provides a complete vacation for those seeking R&R.
The highlight each year in the town is the annual September event, Begonia Festival. Participants grow begonias in a common plot area months in advance of the main event in which their boats and small craft are decorated using begonias to create colorful themes. Sand castle contests, games, races, relays, music and entertainment all provide for a weekend of joyful participation that attracts thousands of tourists to the village. Also held in September along Capitola's Esplanade is Capitola Art & Wine Festival.
Another interesting and fun event happens before Christmas when surfing Santa comes onto shore to deliver toys to children on the beach. What a unique and unusual treat!
Begonia Festival to Surfing Santa's arrival, there's more to this place than simply strolling the wharf, kayaking, surfing, fishing, shopping, dining and hikes. Special events create a festive atmosphere throughout the year, providing plenty to see and do each time you visit.
When staying in Capitola, you can access the Santa Cruz Boardwalk,
Roaring Camp Train rides in Felton, and many coastal pleasures outside San
Francisco. And for those wanting to see the big cities such as San Jose &
San Francisco, they are less than 100 miles distance, making for do-able
Capitola-by-the-Sea is approx.
70 miles south of San Francisco and 35
miles north of Monterey and is
surrounded by the Santa Cruz Mountains
on one side and the Monterey Bay on the
other. West of Capitola Village
are New Brighton State Beach (part of
California State Parks Bay Area region and Pot
Belly Beach and sharing a common
boundary with the city is Soquel, which
extends up the hillsides that climb all
the way to the top of the Santa Cruz
Mountains. Soquel Creek starts in those
same hills above Capitola and flows into
Capitola Village and into the ocean near
Cliff Drive, Esplanade and Riverview
Avenue. This is where the annual Begonia
Festival Boat Parade is held. Stretching
further at the foot of the river is the
beach and Capitola Wharf.
300 days of sunshine greet tourists, and some occasional fog & rains--but never any snow.
Capitola or "Camp Capitola" may
have been named in 1874 after the
heroine in a series of popular novels.
The land, which primarily served as a
lumber port, was purchased from heirs of
the ranchos and the name acquired by
Frederick Hihn, a German who sought his
fortune in the California Gold Rush. He
bought the seaside village and welcomed
those who found the location appealing
as a camping spot for summer vacations.
Escaping the heat of inland California locations, the newly laid rails of the Santa Cruz-Watsonville Railroad provided a mode of transportation for thousands seeking relief. As word got out about the scenic spot, Hihn subdivided parcels of his village and sold summer vacation lots.
The yet-to-be gold mine of prime property stayed in the family for a short time after Hihn died, but then was sold just as World War I began. Henry Allen Rispin had shared a vision common to developers all along the California coast. Changing the name from Capitola or "Camp Capitola" as many knew it, he called it Capitola-by-the-Sea. Poor Rispin's timing could not have been worse! He lost his shirt (went bankrupt) just as the Great Depression of 1929 hit. Finally when two world wars ended and America began focusing on the homestead, Capitola got serious and incorporated in 1949.
Capitola Museum provides an interesting and well documented history of its favorite city. capitolamuseum.org 410 Capitola Avenue, Capitola, CA 95010