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Capitola is named one of California's best beach towns by USA Today, boasting 90 shops, restaurants, and lodgings along the sandy shore. Sunset magazine has also dubbed Capitola one of the top beach towns. This classic seaside village offers fishing and boating services, prime surfing, and an array of eateries, boutiques, and entertainment venues for visitors to enjoy.

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The Capitola wharf archway.

Capitola, CA Houses for sale Real Estate Statistics

Average Price $2.2M
Lowest Price $2.2K
Highest Price $7M
Total Listings 26
Avg. Price/SQFT $1.2K

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More About Capitola Beach Homes For Sale

Perched on the Pacific shores of Monterey Bay, the coastal city of Capitola started as a beloved beachfront tourist destination known as "Camp Capitola." Now home to nearly 10,000 residents, Capitola retains its roots as an idyllic seaside getaway while also boasting a lively commercial district and distinct neighborhoods. Just 35 miles southwest of San Jose and under two hours from San Francisco, countless visitors continue to flock to Capitola to soak up its natural splendor and charm.

Capitola, CA Boardwalk and homes along coast

Overlooking the breathtaking views of Monterey Bay and the mouth of Soquel Creek, Capitola Village, and its wide sandy beach have welcomed visitors for nearly 150 years. The Village is home to boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, while concerts in Esplanade Park and on the beach fill the area with music throughout the summer. For over 50 years, the Labor Day Begonia Festival brought flower-draped floats down the creek and sandcastle contests to the beach, along with other family-friendly activities. More recently, the Capitola Beach Festival has continued the community tradition each September. Every fall, the Capitola Art & Wine Festival also comes to the Village, featuring over 200 artists and nearly two dozen local wineries. The Wharf and Capitola Historical Museum provide year-round attractions as well.

On the opposite side of the creek from the Village lies the City, which contains a public library, several popular parks, and established neighborhoods. Further west, along 41st Avenue, is the commercial district that houses the county's only indoor mall as well as additional shopping centers, hotels, and restaurants.

For over 2,000 years, the Soquel Indians lived along the Pacific Coast at what is now Capitola Village by the Sea, one of California's oldest vacation spots. In 1856, Santa Cruz County pioneer Frederick Hihn purchased the land at the mouth of Soquel Creek, which had served as a shipping point called Soquel Landing after California statehood. Hihn built the first wharf and later subdivided the land in 1882, constructing cabins, a skating rink, a hotel, a theater, and a bandstand to establish Capitola Village as a premier coastal resort accessible by car or train from Santa Cruz and Watsonville.

Frederick Hihn, a native of Germany who arrived in California during the Gold Rush, acquired the land that is now Capitola Village in 1865 from the heirs of Martina Castro, the grantee of the rancho. A few years later, Hihn leased a parcel near the wharf at Soquel Landing to S.A. Hall, a former contractor who intended to become a farmer. In 1874, Hall's daughter, Lulu Hall Wolbach, proposed that he establish a tent camp along the beach for the summer. Lulu, a former Soquel teacher, may have named the resort "Capitola" after the heroine of a popular series of novels. Camp Capitola welcomed its first guests in the summer of 1874.

Homes on hillside overlooking Capitola by the sea

Capitola, California's oldest seaside resort town, remains a popular destination for those seeking a picturesque, quaint, and relaxing getaway. With its charming beaches and colorful historic architecture reminiscent of a Mediterranean village, Capitola possesses a unique allure. Perfect for visiting any time of year, Capitola transforms from a sleepy beach town in winter to a bustling beach destination in summer. Annual events like the Capitola Art and Wine Festival, Capitola Beach Festival, Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting, Wharf to Wharf Race, and Hot Rod and Custom Car Show highlight its enduring appeal.

Most of all, exploring the eclectic mix of boutiques and restaurants in Capitola Village is simply fun. You'll discover unique gift shops, wine-tasting rooms, galleries, apparel shops, surf shops, and more! During your stay, relax on the beach or get adventurous with surfing or paddle boarding lessons. You can even rent a boat and explore the bay.

With accommodations ranging from beach houses and hotels to bed and breakfasts, Capitola Village appeals to visitors whether they come for a day, weekend, or an extended stay. This charming seaside town has earned a special place in many hearts, and it's likely to capture yours as well.

Beaches of Capitola

Capitola's beach is embraced between two cliffs in a river valley. 

Capitola City Beach is a perennial favorite located in the heart of Capitola Village, which offers an abundance of shops and restaurants. This beach provides ample opportunities for swimming, surfing, volleyball, kite flying, and other family-friendly beach activities. Lauded as one of the top ten beaches on the West Coast, Capitola Beach has been voted a favorite destination and featured in numerous magazines. 831-462-5222

Lighthouse Field State Beach, also known as Its Beach, is the first state beach north of the Lighthouse on West Cliff Drive where dogs are allowed on leash only. 831-429-2850

Seacliff State Beach features a long stretch of sand with great accessible facilities, including picnic areas, an interpretive center, and RV camping. The beach is known for a half-sunken concrete freighter and a fishing pier that connects to it. While the ship itself is unsafe and closed off, the pier remains open for fishing. There is a day-use fee. Camping reservations are suggested year-round. 831-685-6442 or 800-444-7275

New Brighton State Beach offers picnic areas, swimming, fishing, and a nearby forest of oak and pine trees. Tent and RV camping are available, with RV hookups provided. In 1933, California purchased the land where China Beach had been located, along with the property just north of it, for a new state park. The park went unnamed for several years until the Director of State Parks decided to dub it "New Brighton." John Sinclair, a descendant of Thomas Fallon, strongly objected to the state appropriating the name, but his protest failed. As a result, the park was officially christened New Brighton State Beach. 831-464-6330

Neighborhoods of Capitola

Pleasure Point, a popular surfing spot on the coast east of Soquel Point toward Santa Cruz, has an intriguing name with an embellished backstory. Local lore claims it was named for a rumored 1930s brothel, but the name derives from a mansion called The Owls that once stood on the site. The beach below was originally called Houghton's after A.D. Houghton, who built the mansion after retiring in 1903. Though the mansion burned down in 1914, its basement was filled with seawater and became a swimming pool. Later renovated into the Pleasure Point Plunge health spa, it remained a local attraction until going bankrupt in the mid-1950s, giving Pleasure Point its memorable name.

Capitola Village and homes overlooking downtown

The Jewel Box and Opal Cliffs luxury home subdivisions, both located east of the village, also have unusual names connected to a former train stop and lumber yard called Opal. This lumber yard was operated by the Loma Prieta Lumber Company just above Capitola Village at the end of today's Prospect Street. A century ago, the company's logging camps in the mountains above Aptos and Soquel transported lumber to the Opal yard to be shipped by the Southern Pacific Railroad to San Francisco.

Frederick Hihn, the founder and developer of Capitola, deeded the land surrounding Opal to his grandson Eulice Hihn. When Eulice died in an accident, his widow Kathryn inherited the farmland. After marrying J.T. McGeoghegan, Kathryn subdivided her inherited property during the post-World War I real estate boom. In the summer of 1923, the subdivision became Opal Subdivision 1 of the Fairview Tract, named after the local train stop. For years, many of the subdivision's streets were simply identified by numbers. However, after Capitola was incorporated in 1949 and demand for new homes grew in the 1950s, maps showed Opal Street being joined by Garnet, Diamond, Jade, Topaz, Crystal, and other "gems" of the so-called Jewel Box.

West of the coastal village of Capitola lies New Brighton State Beach and the small stretch of shoreline called Pot Belly Beach. The state park was named after an old hotel that once stood on the nearby land. This hotel was part of a resort developed in 1878 by Thomas Fallon, son-in-law of Soquel Rancho owner Martina Castro, as a summer retreat akin to Capitola for visitors from California's hot interior. Fallon named his unsuccessful venture Camp San Jose after his hometown, where he had been mayor. For his hotel, Fallon chose the name Brighton, after the renowned English coastal resort. The state retained the name when creating the adjacent park in 1933. Previously, that beach had been known as China Beach, owing to a Chinese fishing settlement there in the 1870s.

Around the time the state park was established, John Sinclair, a descendant of Fallon, constructed a series of cabins on the beach below the site of the former Camp San Jose. The area was called Pot Belly Beach since each cabin was outfitted with a potbelly stove.

Depot Hill is located on the bluffs overlooking the village of Capitola and its ocean views lies Depot Hill. This upscale community offers homebuyers a selection of properties, from cozy bungalows to sprawling estates and architecturally unique single-family residences.

Capitola Museum

The Capitola Historical Museum acknowledges that it stands upon the ancestral homeland of the Aptos, Cajastaca (Kai-ya-stah-ka) and Uypi peoples. The 2023 exhibition is entitled, "Capitola - Signs of the Times".  The museum will temporarily be closed January through mid-March 2024 for the installation of the 2024 exhibition, "Little City Under Canvas - The 150th Anniversary of Camp Capitola"

Historical Essays Capitola

The "Oldest" Resort on the Pacific Coast
Frank Eugene Reanier -- The Superintendent of Capitola
How Capitola Became a City
Brief History of Capitola
Capitola's Neighborhoods
History of Capitola's Begonia Festival
A Gathering of Earnest Women – The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Students’ Conferences in Capitola 1900-1911

City Manager
Under Capitola's Council-Manager form of government, the City Council appoints a City Manager to serve as the chief administrative officer, responsible for implementing the Council's policies. The City Manager's Office provides leadership and oversight for all city departments, focusing on excellence in customer service, community outreach, recruiting and retaining skilled staff, fostering creativity and innovation, and prioritizing resources. Working closely with the Council, the City Manager makes policy recommendations and ensures Council directives are carried out efficiently and effectively.

Jamie Goldstein, City Manager
Chloe Woodmansee, Assistant to the City Manager
Renee DeMar, Human Resources Analyst

Community Services

Capitola Chamber of Commerce
Central Fire Protection (CFD)
Capitola Village & Wharf Business Improvement Area
Soquel Union Elementary School District
Santa Cruz Public Library System
Santa Cruz County 211

Additional Links

Santa Cruz Public Library 
Capitola Chamber of Commerce
Visit Santa Cruz County 
Capitola Village
Santa Cruz Consolidated Emergency Communications Center
Santa Cruz County Animal Services
California Department of Motor Vehicles
Human Care Alliance
Santa Cruz County 211
Central Coast Recycling
Senior Network Services
Earthquake Safety Checklist
Friends of Capitola Branch Library
Soquel Creek Water District

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