Santa Cruz

70 miles south of San Francisco, 35 miles north of Monterey, and unabashedly left of center, you'll find great surf, sandy beaches, redwood-covered mountains, laid-back towns organic farms, and a burgeoning beer and wine scene. It's impossible to pick one place to visit in Santa Cruz County.

Top Adventures in Santa Cruz

  • Surf Cowell's Cove

    Cowell's Cove is located just south of Santa Cruz’s iconic Steamer Lane. The break is a slow pealing right, and is a very user-friendly wave for beginners. It can get crowded on weekends, especially when it's sunny, but no need to worry, there are...

  • Bonfire at Seabright State Beach

    This is a wide, beautiful beach that's an amazing spot to spend the day and enjoy a bonfire at night. Seabright is probably the most popular spot in Santa Cruz for a bonfire, due to its convenient proximity to the Beach Boardwalk. But luckily, thi...

  • Beach Day at Lighthouse Field State Beach

    This beach is less crowded compared to other beaches in Santa Cruz.  I got there early on a Saturday and found easy street parking.  There was plenty of space to spread out on the soft sand.  Later in the day I saw dolphins several times!  This is...

  • A Beach Bonfire in Santa Cruz at Twin Lakes SB

    This one-mile stretch of beach is the perfect option for those looking for a peaceful Santa Cruz experience, but without the crowds. The beach features soft sand, playful surf, an awesome view of Walton Lighthouse, and a handful of fire pits to ch...

  • Photograph the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

    No matter the time you'll decide to visit the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, you'll have thousands of interesting plants and birds to see and watch. The Arboretum is located on the west side of UCSC campus, between the main campus entrance and the west ...

  • Catch a Sunset at Natural Bridges State Beach

    Natural Bridges State Beach is a wonderful place to photograph located in Santa Cruz off of West Cliff Drive. This is a great place to practice long exposure photography to capture awesome water movement as it passes through the "Natural Bridge" f...

  • Surf at Natural Bridges State Beach

    Natural Bridges is off of West Cliff Drive to the north of popular Santa Cruz break, Steamer Lane. The break is a right point break, which breaks on a rocky shelf and reef. The break is best during sizable swells (NW, SW, and West) and a low tide....

  • Photograph Monarch Butterflies at Natural Bridges' Monarch Grove

    The park's Monarch Grove provides a temporary home for thousands of Monarchs. From late fall into winter they make this their home and if you time it perfectly you can see them in clusters in the trees.  When you reached the Natural Bridges State ...

  • Surf Pleasure Point

    Pleasure Point is located on the east side of Santa Cruz, California. It is a right hand point break that breaks year round. It is a popular surf spot for many people that live in the San Francisco Bay Area.  There are 3 different peaks that break...

  • Hike the Rincon Fire Trail

    The Rincon Fire Trail Starts at a small dirt parking lot next to CA-9 and traverses down the mountain to the San Lorenzo River Connecting with the Pipeline Trail. The trail can be a simple one of a mile out and back or up to 5 miles depending on y...

    1 miles 300 ft gain

  • Seaside Ride Along Old Cove Landing

    The Old Cove Landing Trail at Wilder Ranch is the perfect destination for a relaxing bike ride. The 3 mile loop starts at Wilder Ranch Visitor Center/Park Store, takes you past their Brussels sprout fields and on to a coastline trail. From the Vis...

  • Surf the Hook

    The hook is a surf spot found on the east side of Santa Cruz, located along East Cliff drive.  If you keep driving past Pleasure Point, you'll get to it.  It's a right hand point break that is usually smaller in size than Pleasure Point.  It's a v...

  • Nearby camping, hotels, and more

    • Santa Cruz, California

      Outsite // Santa Cruz

      You'll be living in a beach house just 100 paces from the water. Make the most of the open plan kitchen and living space when you're working from home, making dinner or hanging out with friends. Yo...

      From $60/night

    • Santa Cruz, California

      Artemis

      This campsite is steps away from stunningly beautiful hiking, bicycling and horse trails in the redwoods that open up to the ocean and Santa Cruz mountain views to the west; to the east is a worki...

      From $100/night

    • Aptos, California

      Kinderwood Farms Suite

      You are welcome to relax in the living room or cuddle up and read a book in the bay window. The garden and patio areas are also open to lounging and wandering. Your cozy accommodations are attache...

      From $212.50/night

    • Santa Cruz, California

      The Rooms @ Flip Jack Ranch

      Your stay at FlipJack Ranch will be relaxing - we've thought of every detail to make your stay special. Unwind in rustic luxury. FlipJack Ranch is a "Farm Stay Style" Bed and Breakfast for adults....

      From $214/night

    • Santa Cruz, California

      Jack's Canvas Cabin

      FlipJack Ranch is a historic 1882 farm set in towering redwoods and green fields. Our Glamp cabin offers rustic comfort in serene surroundings. A hearty Farm to Table Breakfast is included. Best of...

      From $164/night

    • Santa Cruz, California

      The Romantic Tree House

      FlipJack Ranch is a Farm Stay Style" Bed and Breakfast for adults. The ranch was settled in 1882 and is set among towering redwood trees and green fields. The Romantic Treehouse is our most luxur...

      From $359/night

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