Santa Cruz, California
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Also known as the "Coney Island of the West," Santa Cruz is the perfect carnival-style family destination. "It's one of the only boardwalks left that truly captures the nostalgia," Lilliefors explains. The ocean views are unbeatable, and the crowd is young and lively. Make sure you ride the carousel. It may be the only one left that still lets you grab a ring and toss it onto a clown's head while riding.