Santa Cruz: Eric Burdon, Gin Blossoms and others headline free beach concerts

Los Angeles Times Travel & Deal blogger

There are few things sweeter than going on vacation and plugging into summer beach concerts -- especially when they’re free. If you’re traveling up the coast to Santa Cruz, you can catch a variety of concerts at the historic boardwalk, including the 1960s British invasion band Eric Burdon & the Animals and ‘80s rock band Gin Blossoms. You can even BYOB -- that’s your own blanket, not booze.

The deal: The “Bands on the Beach” concerts on Fridays at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk will start June 17 with Starship starring Mickey Thomas, featuring hits of Jefferson Starship. The Animals will appear June 24 and the Gin Blossoms on Aug. 5. Among other bands are Loverboy (July 15), the Edgar Winter Band (July 29) and Eddie Money (Aug. 26). Bands play two shows each Friday at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Of course, it’s also fun to explore this classic seaside amusement park. You can walk the boardwalk for free or take a spin on the Giant Dipper roller coaster for $5 or the Cyclone for $3. (Here’s a schedule of hours for boardwalk rides.)

When: The free summer concerts run from June 17 to Sept. 2.


Details: The prime seating area opens at 4 p.m., according to the boardwalk’s website. Blanket sizes are limited to 3 by 5 feet, and only low-back chairs are allowed. (If you bring high-back chairs, you might have to move to the end of the beach.) No alcohol is allowed on the beach, but dancing is permitted in front of the stage.

Contact: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, (831) 423-5590