Home » 2022 Pescadero & Capitola

Capitola, CA

Wednesday, March 30, 2022 - 9:00am by Lolo
40 miles and 1 hour from our last stop - 1 night stay


Soquel Creek flowing through Capitola BeachSoquel Creek flowing through Capitola BeachI was really excited about going to Capitola. Seeing a friend's Facebook post of the brightly colored houses on Capitola Beach made me think of the colorful fishermen’s homes on the island of Burano in Italy.

When researching these bright multi-colored houses, I found out that they are actually part of the Capitola Venetian Hotel, which is built right on the sand of Capitola Beach. I immediately booked a night in one with a view of the beach.

So not only were we going to see these houses, but we were going to stay in one. I was psyched!

But first, a little history of Capitola:

Herb enjoying Capitola BeachHerb enjoying Capitola BeachCapitola likes to bill itself as the oldest seaside resort on the West Coast. Even if this is not exactly true, it has been a destination for vacationers for over 140 years and has a rather interesting history.

The history of Capitola begins in 1865, when a German immigrant named Frederick Hihn who came to California during the Gold Rush, bought the land that is now Capitola Village from a rancho grantee named Martina Castro.

Capitola WharfCapitola WharfA few years later, he leased a parcel of land near the wharf to S. A. Hall. He planned to settle down as a farmer, but his daughter had different ideas. Instead, she suggested that he set up a tent camp along the beach.

Like a good father, he did as his daughter suggested, and Camp Capitola welcomed its first guests in the summer of 1874 - the basis for its claim as the oldest seaside resort in the West. By 1884, Capitola had become the destination of thousands of summer visitors.

There’s one other bit of Capitola history that I can’t pass up sharing - a bird attack in Capitola was actually the inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds.”

Lovely evening in CapitolaLovely evening in CapitolaIn August of 1961, Capitola residents awoke to hordes of seabirds dive-bombing their homes, crashing into cars, and spewing half-digested anchovies over the town.

At the time, Alfred Hitchcock was living a few miles away. He called the local newspaper for details. He worked them into his new movie, which he set at Bodega Bay, about a hundred miles up the coast.

It took several decades for scientists to figure out the cause of these birds’ erratic behavior. They now believe the culprit was domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by certain types of algae blooms, which causes disorientation and seizures in marine animals.

Shark Fin CoveShark Fin CoveToday, fortunately, that toxin is closely monitored for, so we had no angry birds diving-bombing us on the beach to worry about.
Okay, back to the present.

Our stay at the Capitola Venetian Hotel exceeded expectations. The room was very nicely furnished and we did have a view over the tops of the next row of colorful houses of the beach and the wharf.

The weather had much improved, so after a walk to the end of the Capitola Wharf, we grabbed our beach cheers and spent a very pleasant couple of hours on Capitola Beach. It really is a unique place.

Railroad tracks by Shark Fin CoveRailroad tracks by Shark Fin CoveOur room was so nice that instead of dining outdoors on a cool evening, we got takeout food from the My Tai Beach Restaurant and ate it in our room looking over the beach.
What a wonderful stop.

On the way home the following day, we stopped once more at Shark Fin Cove in Davenport, which we had scouted out on our way south. If you are paying attention at all while driving on the Pacific Coast Highway, you can’t miss this giant rock shark fin rising from the water.

We pulled into the small dirt pullout on the west side of the road. From there we looked down at a beautiful cove. In between us and the cove was a fairly steep path down to a railroad track and then two choices - right to an even steeper path down to the beach, and left to an overlook.

Shark Fin CoveShark Fin CoveNot sure if I could maneuver myself down to either, I sent Herb ahead and told him to take photos.

I hate being left behind, so I gradually worked my way down the first steep path to the railroad tracks. Herb was kind of surprised to see me.

We went left towards the overlook which provided a stunning view of the cove and some tiny people playing on the beach. I kept urging Herb to go down to the beach, but he said we would do that on a future visit when I was more mobile.

This was definitely a place we would return to.

Capitola location map in "high definition"

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