Written by

How to Have A Fancy Boardwalk Date For Under $25


Growing up, there was one thing my family and I did every summer. It was how we knew it was summer, how we knew the sky was blue, how we knew that my mom would pack up half the contents of the house to bring with us just in case. It was a trip to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. And sometimes, every once in a while, it’s important to get back to that special place that made you so very happy as a kid. Luckily, every Monday and Tuesday, they run a special where all rides are just $1 after 5 PM! You can eat, drink and play to your heart’s content for the same price as a date to the movies would normally cost you. Here’s how:

First, you must find a date because eating all that cotton candy by yourself is no fun. You could ask anyone: your best friend, your office mate, your dog… If you’re lucky, someone you really like might go with you if you promise to go on a few roller coasters. {Date: $0; Running Total: $0}

Once you’ve got someone, you’re ready for some fun. And what could be more fun than a juicy hand-battered hot dog on a stick? If you answered cotton candy, hot dogs and sodas, you’d be in luck because they’re are also just a buck each! {corn dog for her: $3.50, hot dog for him: $1, shared Pepsi and fries $1 + $3; Running Total: $8.50}

Nothing beats a Boardwalk corn dog!

We splurged on a Texas doughnut. It was big and huge and making eyes at us. We couldn’t resist. You might not be able to tell from the picture of Alan holding it, but it was really big… {Texas Did Us Right donut: $2.50; Running Total: $11}

…as in, as big as my head big. It was so big that at first we weren’t sure how we felt about eating the equivalent of a dozen donuts in one sitting…

…but then we kept eating and began to wonder how we had ever lived without Monster-Truck-Size donuts.

After you’ve survived the fried, you’ll want to remember to make it a good date. A visit to the candy store is sure to help. For example, I bought a 1/4 lb. of the mixed gummies and turned to Alan and said, “Sweets for my sweet?” When he said no like I knew he would (his favorite candy are raisins), I got to eat the entire bag and I scored points for being a thoughtful date. {Gummies: $2.50; Running Total: $13.50}

I love this candy shop, even if the kid behind the counter seemed to really hate his life and all of us silly people interrupting his text messaging. When I was a kid, my brother and I bought packs of gum designed to look like packs of cigarettes here. (Funny enough, I don’t believe either of us has ever smoked a cigarette).

The final step to having an awesome Boardwalk date is to go on your favorite rides. Alan picked the Giant Dipper. He laughed with joy the entire time. I thought I did, too, until we got off the ride and saw the picture of us that was taken. Not so joyful after all. {Tickets for your favorite 5 rides: $10; Running Total: $23.50}I picked the ski lift ride which was 10x scarier than the roller coaster. All the little kids that passed us kicking their legs and leaning way over the flimsy handrail to get a good look at the people below were much, much braver than us. We sat back in our seats, perfectly still, gripping the more reassuring side rail, and this time I was the one who couldn’t stop laughing.

With the diverse crowd it draws, the clowns, the games, the rides and lights, I think the Boardwalk might be the closest thing to a movie-carnival I’ll ever go to. For spending a grand total of $23.50, that’s definitely okay with me.

Last modified: January 10, 2019