The Best Surfing in Santa Cruz

Looking for the best surfing 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 surfing spots in and near Santa Cruz

  • Santa Cruz, California

    Surf Cowell's Cove

    4.8
    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 a lot people out on foam boards and most are begi...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    West Cliff Drive

    4.03 mi / 226 ft gain
    West Cliff Drive is an out-and-back trail that takes you past scenic surroundings located near Santa Cruz, California.
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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

    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

    Surf Pleasure Point

    4.0
    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 at Pleasure Point. Sewers, which is the furthest ...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Pleasure Point

    0.16 mi / 33 ft gain
    Pleasure Point is a loop trail where you may see local wildlife located near Capitola, California.
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Surf the Hook

    4.0
    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 very crowded spot due to the easy access parking lo...
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  • Capitola, California

    Camp at New Brighton Campground

    / 0 ft gain
    This Capitola camping spot is the place to be if you're looking to do a variety of activities in a variety of landscapes. You can swim, fish, or explore the nearby forest of Monterey Pine and coastal Oak. In the evening, walk into Capitola for live music and great fish tacos.  The S.S. Palo Alto,...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Four Mile Beach

    1.15 mi / 79 ft gain
    Four Mile Beach is an out-and-back trail that provides a good opportunity to view wildlife located near Santa Cruz, California.
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Surf Four Mile Beach

    4.0
    Four Mile is a reef/point break that is a couple of miles north of town. This spot usually picks up more swell than in town so it is a popular spot for many locals to surf. When the swell picks up, it offers long rights towards the beach. The current can be strong when there is a lot of swell in ...
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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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  • La Selva Beach, California

    Manresa Beach Trail

    4.01 mi / 118 ft gain
    Manresa Beach Trail is a loop trail that is good for all skill levels located near Watsonville, California.
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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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  • Boulder Creek, California

    Camp at Huckleberry Campground

    Big Basin Redwoods State Park features towering redwoods and a refreshing forest experience. This is a great campground for Bay Area or Santa Cruz residents looking to get into the woods for a weekend.  Huckleberry Campground offers 30 tent campsites and 36 tent cabins. The tent campsites are rel...
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  • Marina, California

    Surf, Run, or Catch a Sunset at Marina State Beach

    From the moment you turn into the parking lot, you know Marina State Beach is special. Grab a parking spot in the large lot and then run down the dunes and onto the shoreline! The beach feels spacious on this section of the shore and gives plenty of room to run around or to put down a blanket to ...
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  • Marina, California

    Explore Fort Ord Dunes State Park

    5.0
    One of the best parts of Monterey is the beaches – but their popularity is also their weakness, so if you want seclusion head to the lesser-known Fort Ord Dunes for solitude and beautiful views of Monterey Bay and the Pacific Coast. Historically, this location was chosen as the location for Fort ...
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