Take a 45-minute drive from San Jose to the Pacific Ocean, and you’ll find yourself in Capitola. Located along the Monterey Bay just east of Santa Cruz, Capitola (Spanish for “capital”) is a popular beachfront resort for Californians and out-of-state travellers – Sunset magazine called it one of the best-kept secrets of America’s beach towns.
Alfred Hitchcock based his film The Birds after a bizarre bird attack in Capitola during the summer of 1961. Hitchcock visited Santa Cruz regularly and read about the Capitola attacks in the newspaper; he decided to turn the event into a thriller movie, which went on to great critical acclaim.
Capitola began as a small settlement near Soquel Landing – a wharf near the mouth of the small Soquel Creek. It was transformed into a “camp” in the late 1800s, making it the oldest beach resort along the entire West Coast of the United States. Today, plenty of fishing and boating opportunities abound in Capitola, in addition to surfing and swimming along the shores.
Things to do in Capitola
Capitola is full of seasonal fun. Autumn brings the Capitola Art & Wine Festival, featuring over 200 artists and wine from dozens of area vineyards. If you’re in town on Labor Day weekend, don’t miss Capitola’s annual Begonia Festival. You’ll be sure to find something fun to do with lots of family-friendly activities, including a sandcastle contest and a small parade.
Like most California beach towns, Capitola features a beautiful wharf, which is said to remind visitors of a Mediterranean coastal town or a village in the south of France. Fishing is free along the wharf, like all other public California piers. Located at the bottom of a hill, you can stop for dinner along the pier and admire the town of Capitola as well as the gorgeous ocean sunset views.
You can visit the Capitola Historical Museum to find memorabilia, photos and historic artifacts documenting the town’s history. Visit 41st Avenue to find Capitola’s commercial district, featuring the only indoor mall in the county, as well as lots of dining options.
Day trips from Capitola
If you’re an avid birdwatcher, you might enjoy the wetland trails near Watsonville, less than a 20-minute drive southward down the Route 1 freeway. The town holds the annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival with workshops, speakers and activities to celebrate hundreds of different species of songbirds, raptors and waterfowl. It might be tough to squeeze a trip to San Francisco into one day, but perhaps it will whet your appetite for a longer visit in the future! Take a walk through Union Square, San Francisco’s central shopping district, for boutiques and department stores galore. Hop on a cable car to the bay, or take a ferry to visit the famed island of Alcatraz. You’ll be back!
Hikers seeking the giant redwoods of California should visit Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Felton. With centuries-old groves of trees (the oldest range from 1400 to 1800 years old!) and a self-guided nature path, it’s easy to get lost in the beauty of the park. Look out for the tallest redwood in the park – it’s nearly 400 feet tall and 16 feet wide!
Tripping.com offers hundreds of rentals in Capitola, from luxurious hotel rooms to three-story beach houses to charming cottages. Those looking to bring a pet along on a California adventure can choose from nearly 200 pet-friendly rentals. Though Capitola weather tends to be mild, you can warm up with over 150 choices of rentals with hot tubs from Tripping.com.
If you’re a shopping fanatic, pick a rental near 41st Avenue north of Capitola Road for Capitola Mall with over 100 department stores, specialty shops and restaurants. For those seeking pleasant views along the bay, pick a spot near the coast. You can also find rentals along Soquel Creek and take a boat out to the ocean!
Transportation In Capitola
Capitola is just off the Route 1 freeway and best accessible by car. Nearby airports include Mineta San José International Airport, Bonny Doon Village Airport in Santa Cruz, and Watsonville’s Municipal Airport. Airport shuttles are available to many nearby hotels.
Santa Cruz’s Metro system serves the town of Capitola with several routes and frequent stops throughout the town. Day passes are available for $6. An Amtrak train runs through Capitola to Santa Cruz and onward to San Jose.
You might find skateboarders making their way through Capitola, a friendly town for skateboarders and surfers. You can also get around quite easily by bike, with many trails of ranging difficulty levels. Try the beach path, a 23-mile asphalt path from Capitola to Natural Bridges State Park.
Vacation Rentals in Capitola
Looking for a vacation rental in Capitola? Tripping.com has 228 vacation rental homes available in Capitola. You'll find 6 studios, 75 1-bedroom, 60 2-bedroom and 87 rentals with 3 or more bedrooms ranging from €82 a night. For extra convenience, many of these vacation homes can be booked directly online.
The average price of a nightly rental in Capitola is €325 while the average price of a weekly rental is €5102. For those looking for more than a short term rental such as corporate rentals, extended stays or long term rentals, the average monthly price of a Capitola home is €24930.
Wondering if you can bring your dog or cat along with you? There are 53 pet-friendly vacation rentals available in Capitola. In addition to accommodating pets, Capitola rentals offer a variety of amenities. In particular, 193 rentals have Internet and WiFi, 208 have TV and/or cable and 8 have a pool or hot tub.
Search properties from 9 vacation rental sites in Capitola where the top providers in that area are HomeAway, Booking.com, and Expedia. There are 167 HomeAway rentals, 27 Booking.com short term rentals and 14 Expedia vacation rentals.