Visitor safety tips
Visit Santa Cruz County asks visitors to use common sense and good judgment while on vacation. Here are a few tips to remind travelers about safety while enjoying their trip:
General Safety Tips
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. For example, walk "smart" when you leave your hotel and know your destination and the best way to reach it.
- Travel along sidewalks in lighted areas at night, and don't walk alone.
- Bring recent photos of all the children you're traveling with; if you get separated from a child, authorities will need to see his or her photo.
- Mark luggage with your name and the address of your workplace.
- Clean out your wallet or purse before you go, and take only essential credit cards.
- Photocopy all documents, including passport, credit cards and tickets before leaving home and store copies in the hotel safe.
- Use traveler's checks and credit cards. Keep a record of their serial numbers in a separate and safe place in case they are lost or stolen.
- Carry only the cash you need in small denominations and never discuss your plans or the amount of money you are carrying.
In Your Hotel, Make Sure:
- Your door has peepholes and deadbolt locks and use them to identify anyone requesting entry.
- Open the door only if you are certain the person has a legitimate reason to enter your room. If in doubt, call the front desk.
- To watch your luggage when checking in and out.
- You familiarize yourself with the most direct route to and from your room to the fire escapes, elevators and nearest telephone.
- That when you leave your room, you have your key!
- To deposit your valuables in the hotel safe; never leave cash or other valuables in your room.
- Report to the management any suspicious activities in the corridors or rooms.
If Traveling By Car
- Have a mechanic check and tune it before you leave.
- Never leave wallets, credit cards, checkbooks, or purses in your vehicle.
- Always try to park in well-lighted, busy areas.
- Check the interior of your vehicle before getting in.
- Always lock your car when it's parked, even if the stop is brief.
- When parking for the night, bring all luggage and other valuables into your room.
- Know Curb Colors! Parking requirements vary in different areas- always check signs for guidelines.
- Respect and obey the traffic signs. Don't drink and drive, and always use your seat belt.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
- Place maps, travel brochures and valuables in the glove compartment or trunk before you get to your destination.
- When visiting local attractions, dress kids in bright clothing and designate a meeting site for lost family members. For small children, write down their names and where they're staying and put it in their pockets.
- Instruct kids not to open hotel room doors to people they don't know.
- Make sure kids are familiar with hotel/motel escape routes. Discuss which adult is responsible for which child/children in an emergency.
- In California, when in a car, children under the age of 6 and weighing less than 60 pounds MUST use a child safety seat, a booster seat or other safety restraint system.
- Kids must not be left alone in a car.
If Traveling With Pets
- Be aware of ordinances regarding leash laws at beaches, parks and other public areas.
- You can find "pet-friendly" lodging on our places to stay page marked with a Pawprint.
- Be mindful of pet policies at all types of Lodging Facilities.
- It is good to be aware that not all rooms at any given lodging property are pet-friendly.
- Pet guests may require advance reservations to confirm availability. It’s a good idea to check with the property directly to confirm their pet policies and any special deposits for cleaning fees.
- Lodging properties may require that all pets be registered at check-in. Unregistered pets may be subject to a surcharges and penalties.
- Please be advised that pets must never be left unattended in a hotel room and/or vehicle, and that unattended pets may be rescued by animal services in the absence of an owner.
- Remember to check local laws and ordinances as they relate to parks, beaches, local businesses and off-leash areas.
In Santa Cruz County, the health, safety, and welfare of visitors, residents, and local business owners is critical to maintaining the quality of life we all enjoy.
In 2018, California legalized the use or sale of cannabis to anyone 21 and older from licensed retail shops, expanding the consumption of cannabis from medical to recreational use. The use of cannabis is defined as smoking, vaping and eating cannabis-infused products
To ensure the visitor experience is a positive one, Visit Santa Cruz County has compiled a summary of Frequently Asked Questions as they relate to adult-use recreational cannabis in California.
Most homeless people are harmless, however, some transients are chronic law violators who often infringe upon the rights of others. We suggest using a combination of caution and respect around panhandlers and other strangers.
While visitors may be struck by the presence of people in transition in Santa Cruz County, the local community advocates extensively for the homeless through various nonprofit and governmental programs offering much-needed services: from provisions of food and shelter to assignment of a social-service case manager and health treatment if needed.
Contributing to panhandlers will not help the problem. If you wish to help, contribute to a charity, mission, food bank or social service agency that assists the needy. A sustainable approach to helping the needy involves dropping spare change into creatively decorated and labeled parking meters along Pacific Avenue in Downtown Santa Cruz. The money collected would fund salaries and supplies for social workers who work with Santa Cruz's transient population. Or, donate to a local agency like Second Harvest Food Bank or the Santa Cruz Homeless Services Center.
Visit Santa Cruz County wishes you a happy and safe trip!