Rustic forests, pristine California coastline, agricultural fields carpeted in green, and public art displays crafted by a passionate creative community:  these are the ways in which Santa Cruz County tells its story to visitors.  Heritage old growth redwood trees are nourished by restorative marine fog absorbed through its pine needles. Marine mammals, fish and invertebrates thrive in Monterey Bay’s nutrient-rich waters, once critical to survival for the native Ohlone people.

The region’s 29 miles of coastline and acres of redwood forests are testimony to its enduring heritage of preservation and conservation, ripe for exploration and experiences.

A rich history of surfing – California’s official sport – began in 1885, when three Hawaiian princes tested the swells adjacent to what is now Main Beach on boards crafted from redwood trees, and surfing was born on the mainland.  Only two decades later, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk welcomed visitors as “the Coney Island of the West Coast” with two national historic landmarks guests still enjoy today.

Things to do seem endless here: discover a forested trail through a lush riparian corridor under a canopy of redwood trees; take a breezy sail on the majestic Monterey Bay; or experience the rush of a 17-mile mountain bike ride on a downhill single track.

If farm to table is your thing, you’ll feel right at home The roots of the organic farming movement are literally in the soil at the Center for Agroecology at U.C. Santa Cruz, where researchers found gentler, alternative ways to grow and harvest fresh produce in concert with natural elements.  Weekly farmer’s markets showcase local produce, which are sourced by chefs around the county.

These natural surroundings provide inspiration to an eclectic array of consciously creative artists, modern but mindful.  An abundance of live music, theater and fine arts accompany local festivals, celebrations and performances – all inspired by the county’s continuous, artistic energy.

Santa Cruz County cordially invites you to explore the region with the fervor, passion, and open-mindedness that defines the destination.  Welcome!


Travel to Santa Cruz County by car from San Francisco via scenic Highway 17 or iconic Highway 1 along the coastline, which will take approximately 90 minutes and is approximately 60 miles/96 km south.  Driving from southern California, Santa Cruz County is approximately 349 miles/562 km north of Los Angeles and 30 minutes north of Monterey.

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