Thinking about a vacation with your family this season? Santa Cruz County’s sunny beaches, coastal redwood forests, and kid-friendly things to do await! From museums that welcome hands-on learning to interactive public art, artisan ice cream, and kid-friendly eateries, both parents and little ones can count on quality time together in beautiful settings. Go exploring in the redwoods, play in the surf, ride a roller coaster, take a steam train ride, and much more.
Astronomy programs, Bug Day, campfires and kid-friendly guided walks are hosted by State Parks on a year-around basis throughout the county. In South County, free family nature walks begin at the Wetlands of Watsonville Nature Center, where binoculars are provided to help spot the amazing bird species that call this habitat home.
Spend a day at the historic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk! This seaside amusement park boasts over 35 rides; including the Looff Carousel, the Giant Dipper and more. During the summer time, live performances from magicians can be seen directly next to the Pirate Ship. Wednesday nights during the summer, the Boardwalk hosts a free screening of a family-friendly movie right on the sand.
Santa Cruz County offers a wealth of kid-friendly museums. Kiddos can drive a tractor, guide a simulated sea turtle to safety, and touch a real, live shark! Visit the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and Botanic Garden! At this 135-acre outdoor, living museum, you can also explore the Hummingbird Trail to seek out the rare, elusive white hummingbird, and sniff pleasing scents of lavender, jasmine, and oregano in the fun Aroma Garden.
See below for a full list of family-friendly activities in Santa Cruz County!