Santa Cruz is undoubtedly the quintessential California beach town, awakening nostalgic memories of summers past and inspiring a new generation. But while Santa Cruz is the classic spot to dig your toes into the warm sand and soak up the sun, the fun only begins at the beach.
See the iconic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. This seaside amusement park features the Giant Dipper, a wooden roller coaster that just celebrated its 95th birthday in 2019! The Boardwalk features free summertime fun including a family-friendly movie on the beach every Wednesday and live bands on the beach every Friday.
Take part in California’s official sport: surfing! As the birthplace of mainland surfing, Santa Cruz offers visitors many ways to dive into the surf culture. Want to dip your toe into the sport of surfing? Try a lesson with a local surf school like Club Ed or Richard Schmidt. Or check out the Santa Cruz Longboard Club Invitational during Memorial Day Weekend, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum or watch the wave riders at other hot spots around town.
Visit the Santa Cruz Wharf! Stretching out a half-mile into the waters of the Monterey Bay, the wharf is lined with shops and restaurants. Make your way to the very end of the wharf to see sea lions and other underwater treasures!
Head to Downtown Santa Cruz during your next visit. Anchored by a clock tower, this lively town center features eateries, boutiques and art galleries. Enjoy a vibrant dining setting and specialty tacos at Snap Taco, or grab a fresh baked cookie from Pacific Cookie Company. Downtown Santa Cruz offers a farmer’s market weekly; featuring fresh produce, local art and more! For the outdoor lovers: explore the California Coast on West Cliff Drive. This scenic 3 mile walking path includes easy access and stunning views of the Monterey Bay; including Natural Bridges State Beach, legendary Steamer Lane and a pet-friendly beach.