The Best Chillin in Santa Cruz

Looking for the best chillin in Santa Cruz? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Santa Cruz. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top chillin spots in and near Santa Cruz

  • Santa Cruz, California

    Bonfire at Seabright State Beach

    5.0
    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, this beach is tucked in between the San Lorenzo River...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Beach Day at Lighthouse Field State Beach

    4.0
    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 close to the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum.  It’s als...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    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 choose from. It's a great spot to spend the entire d...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Catch a Sunset at Natural Bridges State Beach

    4.4
    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" formation. The best time to shoot this spot is at s...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Surf at Natural Bridges State Beach

    4.5
    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. Be sure to check the wind, this break gets blown ...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Hike the Rincon Fire Trail

    5.0
    1 mi / 300 ft gain
    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 your preference. The elevation will change by about...
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  • Felton, California

    Hike to the Garden of Eden Swimming Hole

    3.8
    Are the beaches of Santa Cruz too cold to swim in? Of course they are. But this swimming hole has your back. The Bay Area isn't blessed with a bounty of freely accessible, dog-friendly swimming holes. The Garden of Eden, just off Route 9 in the Henry Cowell Redwoods is one of them. Park on the si...
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  • Felton, California

    Take a Stroll on the Redwood Grove Loop

    4.0
    0.8 mi / 20 ft gain
    Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is located just a few miles north of the city of Santa Cruz, along Highway 9. The park is home to an array of hiking and biking trails, but the crown jewel of the park is the Redwood Grove Loop Trail, which is only a 1/4 mile in from the park's entrance.Many peopl...
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  • Felton, California

    Tree Climb Mount Hermon

    5.0
    Climbing an aerial obstacle course through the redwoods of Mount Hermon is a great way to experience the thrill of climbing and being in the trees.  See what it's like to scurry through the trees like a squirrel.  This unique vantage point offers amazing views of the redwoods. There are many aeri...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Explore Panther Beach

    4.5
    Panther Beach's white sand, clear water, and interesting rock formations make it one of the most stunning beaches along this stretch of CA1. But this is a hidden gem for a reason - there are no signs along CA1 for Panther Beach. You need to keep you eyes peeled for cars parked along the side of t...
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  • Davenport, California

    Beach Picnic at Shark Fin Cove

    4.3
    Shark Fin Cove is a large rock formation in an inlet off Highway 1 in Northern California. It is located 1 mile south of Davenport and 10 miles north of Santa Cruz. There is a sizable parking lot located on the side of Highway 1 to park in. Walk down the path left of the parking lot and cross the...
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  • Watsonville, California

    Camp at Manresa Beach

    4.7
    All 64 tent campsites here are walk-in, making them further in from the road, and more roomy. Each site comes with a fire ring, picnic table, and food locker. There is access to bathrooms and showers, as well. You can make a reservation here. 
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  • Watsonville, California

    Camp at Sunset State Beach

    4.5
    Campsites here come with a fire ring and picnic table, as well as bathroom and shower access. These sites are particularly recommended for families and large groups. Make a reservation here.
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  • Davenport, California

    Hike around Greyhound Beach and Climb Greyhound Rock

    0.7 mi / 0 ft gain
    The trailhead is at the Greyhound Rock State Marine Conservation Area which is directly off Highway 1. There is a large paved parking lot with a good amount of trees so finding a shady parking spot isn't that difficult (if that's important to you). The parking lot is located on the beach cliffs ...
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  • Boulder Creek, California

    Camp at Sempervirens in Big Basin Redwoods

    / 993 ft gain
    Amidst the giant redwoods, Sempervirens is a breath of fresh air from the every busy Silicon Valley. Make sure to arrive in time to explore Sempervirens Creek. The wooded trails are perfect for running or hiking. Each campground comes with a picnic table and a fire ring, perfect for enjoying camp...
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  • Moss Landing, California

    Whale Watching off Moss Landing

    The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is home to some of the most diverse and rich waters in our oceans, and you have the chance to see it up close and personal! The big prize is getting to see a whale, but these waters are teeming with other wildlife from dolphins to otters to sea lions.  F...
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