Santa Cruz Main Beach is known as Boardwalk Beach because of the boardwalk and amusement park that spans the length of this beach on the Santa Cruz, California waterfront. Main Beach is a south-facing beach that stretches from the mouth of the San Lorenzo River to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf wooden pier. Even with this large expanse of sand it gets quite packed with tourists and locals on sunny days. Behind the beach you’ll find roller coasters and other amusement park rides, an arcade, mini golf, swimming pool, bowling alley, and many restaurant options. After walking the boardwalk consider taking a walk out to the end of the wharf to see the shops and look back at the city. Several seafood restaurant options are on the wharf and many others are nearby on Beach Street. The shops and attractions along Beach Street and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk are a must to explore if visiting for the first time. The San Lorenzo River backs up creating a large stagnant lagoon at the east end of the beach where a narrow rock fin wall sticks out into the surf. Lifeguards are on hand most of the time at Main Beach making it a safer place for families to play in the waves. But be sure to check water quality before swimming as this beach and Cowell Beach (north of the pier) frequently get poor water ratings.