Santa Cruz is 77 miles southeast of San Francisco. The most scenic route to Santa Cruz is along Hwy. 1 from San Francisco, which, aside from the "you fall, you die" stretch called Devil's Slide, allows you to cruise at a steady 50 mph. Faster but less romantic is Hwy. 17, which is accessed near San Jose from I-280, I-880, or U.S. 101, and ends at the foot of the boardwalk. The exception to this rule is on weekend mornings, when Hwy. 17 tends to be a logjam with beachgoers while Hwy. 1 remains relatively uncrowded.
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