Santa Cruz County moves to the Orange Tier.

Travel Blog

What You Need to Know to Visit Santa Cruz County

We ask anyone planning a trip to Santa Cruz County to please take The Safety Pledge to protect others and yourself by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. In addition to the Pledge, we’ve gathered some need-to-know information for a responsible and safe visit to Santa Cruz County. From safety guidelines and restrictions to best practices and what’s open, we’ve got the info you need to know before you go. So stay safe, watch for updates, and please take that safety pledge before you come!

SAFETY FIRST

First and foremost, if you are feeling ill, please stay home, get well, and reschedule your visit to Santa Cruz. We are looking forward to your long awaited return (or your first time visit), but we want to keep both you, and our community safe.

Face coverings are required in Santa Cruz County in all businesses including retail stores, restaurants, visitor centers, drive-thrus, in public areas, and whenever social distancing can not be kept. Please note that face coverings are also required when paying for parking fees at state parks and the Santa Cruz Wharf. As of mid-June, California has adopted a statewide mandate on the use of face covering, and to further this effort, much of Santa Cruz County has opted to fine those who are not complying with the safety orders. Will you take our Safety Pledge to protect others and yourself by wearing your mask and social distancing?

Social Distancing is required in public areas and within businesses with those not from your household. In stores and public areas, 6 feet social distancing signage may be found to guide in these efforts. Although face coverings are not required during outdoor activity or at beaches if social distancing can be maintained, if social distancing cannot be maintained, face coverings are required.

Please remember that many businesses are adding additional safety measures to protect their staff and their customers. When visiting a business or point of interest, please be mindful and compliant with their specific safety guidelines. Examples may include but are not limited to use of hand sanitizer before entry and a limited number of guests or customers admitted.

WHAT’S OPEN?

LODGING

Hotels, vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, RV parks, campgrounds, and short term rentals are now open to guests. To support a safe, clean environment for workers and customers, lodging properties are required to comply with industry guidelines. Explore our website and the business listings that include COVID Safety Measures in practice.

BEACHES

The beaches in Santa Cruz County are open. With 29 miles of coastline, folks can find a spot to enjoy the Monterey Bay responsibly and safely. Please remember to keep social distance, wear a mask in public areas and when physical distancing cannot be kept, pack your trash, and be respectful of others enjoying the beauty of Santa Cruz County. Safety must remain the top priority for the Santa Cruz County community and its visitors. Please pass on a beach day if the beach looks too crowded to keep physical distancing. Stay safe and please enjoy the beauty of the Santa Cruz County coast responsibly.

PARKS

Santa Cruz County State Parks are open, with the exception of the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, and now, Big Basin Redwoods State Park and Rancho Del Oso due to damages caused by the August 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fire. Parking lots are open and parking fees are in effect. Stay up-to-date on Santa Cruz County State Parks opening status and take the Parks Pledge here. And please remember, face coverings are required when paying your parking fees.

DINING

From socially distanced indoor dinning, expansive outdoor dining, curbside pickup, delivery, and takeout, Santa Cruz County eateries continue to adapt to safely serve their patrons. In many cases, including Downtown Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Wharf, and the Capitola Village, outdoor dining is being expanded to give more space to customers and staff. Places like Abbott Square Market and Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing have included helpful signage to safely guide patrons. Check our dining guide for some eatery ideas and be sure to contact individual restaurants for their current operating status. And if you’re dreaming of sipping some wine on the countryside, take a look at our Wineries & Tasting Rooms page for both outdoor and indoor tasting options.

ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES

As of April 1, 2021, select Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk rides will be open to California residents. And yes, that does include the legendary Giant Dipper! Check the Boardwalk website for more information, safety guidelines, and to reserve your day to ride. Outdoor games, bowling, mini golf, the arcade, shops, eateries, and concessions are all open as well. Stay up-to-date with Boardwalk operations on their dedicated web page with openings, hours, and protocol information. Roaring Camp Railroads and Mount Hermon Adventures are also open and perfect outdoor activities! For more attractions and activities (think surfing, kayaking, sailing, SUP) that are in full swing, check our website.

POINTS OF INTEREST

The Santa Cruz Wharf, Capitola Village, and Downtown Santa Cruz are welcoming back locals and visitors to enjoy their vibrant array of restaurants, small businesses, shops, and outdoor spaces. Enjoy these fun, eclectic points of interest, just don’t forget to mask up while you’re there!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Please remember to be kind, courteous, pack your trash, wear your mask, and respect the safety measures in place and our community. For more information, inspiration, and continual updates on openings, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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