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Things to do in Santa Cruz, California

Things to do in Santa Cruz, California

Home to sandy seashores and plush redwood forests, Santa Cruz is filled with journey and rest at each and every flip. There are a lot of boardwalks and state seashores to discover, in addition to native bakeries and wineries to indulge in. Wherever you cross, you’ll be met with breathtaking perspectives and surroundings.

Santa Cruz is understood to be some of the stunning sea coast cities in California and we will see why. Here’s our shortlist of favourite issues to do in Santa Cruz in your subsequent talk over with!


Aerial view of the amusement park - Santa Cruz Boardwalk - Things to do on a California Road TripAerial view of the amusement park - Santa Cruz Boardwalk - Things to do on a California Road Trip

1. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

As California’s oldest amusement park, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been exciting guests for over 100 years. Filled with heart-racing curler coasters and mawkish carnival video games, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a landmark located proper at the sandy shores of the Monterey Coast.

One of the boardwalk’s most famed rides is the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, which is thought of as the most productive picket curler coaster in the sector. If you’d reasonably spend the day stress-free, you’ll be able to all the time step down to the sea coast for a day of solar and water sports activities.

  • 400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Ride and arcade hours range

Senset view of Natural Bridges state Park in Santa Cruz California - Road trip guide

Senset view of Natural Bridges state Park in Santa Cruz California - Road trip guide

2. Natural Bridges State Beach

Natural Bridges State Beach is without doubt one of the maximum loved Santa Cruz points of interest. The impressive rock formation, and then the park was once named, stands in the sea close to the coast. The rock’s bridge-like construction was once carved over centuries of harsh wind and waves.

Besides admiring the rocky bridge, guests come to Natural Bridges State Beach for natural world viewing. The tide swimming pools are domestic to sea stars and crabs, whilst sea lions and dolphins play additional out in the water. If you’re fortunate, chances are you’ll spot a humpback whale enjoying within reach!

  • 2531 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Daily, eight a.m. – Sunset

Aerial View of the Santa Cruz Wharf - Tourist AttractionsAerial View of the Santa Cruz Wharf - Tourist Attractions

three. Santa Cruz Wharf

Between the connoisseur eating places and memento stores, the Santa Cruz Wharf is bustling in any respect hours of the day. The dock juts nearly three,000 toes into the water, making it the longest pier in the Western United States.

There are dozens of bars and eating places to choose between, every one providing unprecedented perspectives of the encircling ocean. If you’re having a look to catch your personal dinner, then you’ll be able to additionally fish off the edges of the wharf.

However, the captivating sea lions are by way of some distance the primary enchantment. You’ll to find them enjoying in the water or sunbathing at the picket planks of the pier.

  • 21 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Daily,  five a.m. – 2 a.m.

Lighthouse and Surf museum in Santa Cruz - Road Trip Stops in California

Lighthouse and Surf museum in Santa Cruz - Road Trip Stops in California

four. Santa Cruz Surfing Museum

Located throughout the ancient Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse, the Santa Cruze Surfing Museum showcases the previous 100 years of browsing historical past. You’ll be informed concerning the town’s well-known surf scene and the way the game has impacted its tradition during the last few many years.

This small, captivating museum incorporates an infinite number of memorabilia, like pictures, movies, or even antique surfboards. Everyone from beach-lovers to hard-core surfers will stroll clear of the museum with a deeper appreciation for Santa Cruz’s maximum loved hobby.

  • 21 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Daily,  five a.m. – 2 a.m.
  • Free

View looking up at Redwoods inside of Henry Cowell Redwoods Sate Park - Things to do in Santa Cruz

View looking up at Redwoods inside of Henry Cowell Redwoods Sate Park - Things to do in Santa Cruz

five. Steam Train via Redwoods

Hop aboard the Redwood Forest Steam Train for a historic exploration of one in all Santa Cruz’s maximum scenic landscapes. This 19th-century locomotive chugs throughout the towering redwood groves to the height of Bear Summit.

This open-air experience is totally narrated by way of your a professional conductor and information, who will gladly inform you the historical past of the park. You’ll additionally be informed extra concerning the locomotive business in the 1800s and the way the trains proceed to run to nowadays.

Although a steam educate experience is a amusing and academic Santa Cruz enchantment, it additionally boasts one of the crucial best possible perspectives in the town. It’s the perfect manner to immerse your self in the herbal wonderful thing about the grand redwood woodland!

  • 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton, CA 95018
  • Daily rides
  • $23-$32

woman shopping at Santa Cruz Farmers Market - Things to do in Santa Cruz

woman shopping at Santa Cruz Farmers Market - Things to do in Santa Cruz

6. Local Farmers Market

Shop for locally-sourced produce and dine on connoisseur treats with a shuttle to a farmer’s marketplace in Santa Cruz. You’ll to find dozens of meals stalls and cubicles promoting the entirety from pasture-raised meats and home-brewed beer to crafted household items and freshly baked pastries.

Depending at the time of yr, there are 5 major farmers’ markets to talk over with. Several of the markets are Santa Cruz staples and feature been running for over 25 years. Not most effective will you be searching for moral merchandise, however you’ll even be supporting native jobs and selling small companies.

  • Downtown, Felton, Live Oak, Scotts Valley, Westside
  • Hours range

Woman ordering at Companion Bakeshop - Santa Cruz Places to EatWoman ordering at Companion Bakeshop - Santa Cruz Places to Eat

7. Santa Cruz Companion Bakeshop

The scent of freshly baked bread and pastries radiates from the mouth-watering Santa Cruz Companion Bakeshop. This captivating bakery may be a restaurant and serves scorching espresso and lightweight snacks for breakfast or lunch.

Although the Santa Cruz Companion Bakeshop began out making sourdough bread, they’ve expanded to promote numerous scrumptious treats. You can take a look at vegan oat bars, sticky cinnamon buns, or even oven-baked pizzas. We additionally counsel making an attempt the candy or savory galettes for a extra filling meal.

Westside Santa Cruz

  • 2341 Mission Street, Santa Cruz CA
  • Tuesday to Friday 7 a.m. – five p.m., Saturday-Sunday eight a.m. – three p.m.

Downtown Santa Cruz

  • 725 Front Street, Santa Cruz CA
  • Monday to Thursday 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday-Saturday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday eight a.m. – 6 p.m.

View of Abbot's Square in Santa Cruz

View of Abbot's Square in Santa Cruz

eight. Abbott Square Market

Located in the guts of Santa Cruz, the Abbot Square Market is a full of life leisure venue stuffed with eating places and cafes. This fashionable outside house additionally hosts numerous leisure, together with artwork exhibitions and reside tune, making it the high spot for a amusing evening out with buddies.

Whether you’re beginning your weekend with a robust shot of coffee or finishing the evening with a home made cocktail, you’ll to find one thing that sparks your pastime in Abbot Square Park!

  • 118 Cooper St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Sunday – Thursday 7 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 7 a.m. – 12 a.m.

nine. Berry Creek Falls

If you will have a unfastened weekend and need to know what to do in Santa Cruz, we suggest trekking up to the Berry Creek Falls. This standard 11-mile hike takes you throughout the dense woodland round steep canyons and ascends nearly 1,000 toes above the bottom.

Halfway throughout the five-hour hike, you’ll stumble upon two stunning waterfalls. It’s a surprising view that’s contrasted towards the deep brown and inexperienced bushes of the redwood woodland, which makes it one in all our favourite issues to do in Santa Cruz.

Overall, it’s a leisurely hike that may be completed by way of maximum intermediate to complicated hikers. The path is open year-round however can also be muddy in the early spring if it has rained.


10. Sea Lions at Santa Cruz

When in Santa Cruz, you will have to prevent by way of the water to say hi to the town’s maximum lovely citizens! You can to find them napping, enjoying, and swimming in the shallow waters of Monterey Bay. If you need a assured sighting, the Santa Cruz Wharf is referred to as the most productive sea lion recognizing floor.

However, you’ll be able to additionally to find harbor seals perched at the rocky islands and bays across the town. We heard that the Wilder Ranch simply north of Santa Cruz may be a great spot to see those hilarious, fuzzy creatures.


11. Coastal Drive

The most famed coastal power in Santa Cruz is down Highway 1. Stretching over 700 miles, Highway 1 takes you from Mendocino Country via Santa Cruz after which all of the manner to Orange County.

Although it might take a couple of days to whole all of the adventure, a brief power down the coast will nonetheless come up with that nostalgic avenue shuttle feeling. You’ll have panoramic perspectives of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz Wharf, and the Wilder Ranch State Park.

Make positive you get the risk to prevent at a couple of seashores or parks to benefit from the recent, crisp air from the sea!


Woman walking through the UCSC Arboretum Santa Cruz California - Things to doWoman walking through the UCSC Arboretum Santa Cruz California - Things to do

12. UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

Teeming with unique crops and flowering cactuses, the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum incorporates one of the vital biggest collections of uncommon crops from world wide. Although the arboretum to begin with began as a eucalyptus lawn in the 1960s, it has grown domestic to hundreds of various species, from nearly each and every form of local weather.

You may just simply spend a couple of hours strolling throughout the tranquil gardens admiring the other crops and sculptures. The reveals are divided by way of area and come with the Australian Garden, South African Garden, and South American Garden. There’s additionally a ravishing California Garden stuffed with willows, cottonwoods, and ponderosa pines. Don’t omit to talk over with the Aroma Garden and Rare Fruit Exhibit to see a few of your favourite herbs and edibles.

  • 1156 High St, Santa Cruz, CA 95064
  • Daily nine a.m. – five p.m.
  • $2-$five

2 wine glasses in front of tasting menu at a Door County Winery - Things to do

2 wine glasses in front of tasting menu at a Door County Winery - Things to do

13. Wine Tasting

Santa Cruz is domestic to over 70 other wineries and style rooms. Due to its distinctive microclimate and mineral-rich soil, the grapes from Santa Cruz produce one of the crucial best possible wines to come from California.

For scenic winery perspectives, head to Ridge Vineyards and Beauregard Vineyards, two family-operated wineries. Near the town heart sip on Pinot Noir from Storrs Winery and Vineyards or merlot from Bottle Jack Wines.

Most tasting charges are waived with the acquisition of a bottle of wine. That way there’s much more incentive to pattern as many as you’ll be able to!


West Cliff Drive - Lighthouse State Beach Santa Cruz California

West Cliff Drive - Lighthouse State Beach Santa Cruz California

14. West Cliff Drive

Winding 3 miles along the Pacific Ocean, the West Cliff Drive begins at Santa Cruz Wharf and takes you via one of the crucial town’s best possible points of interest, like Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, and Lighthouse Point. We counsel preventing at Natural Bridges State Beach or Cowell Beach for panoramic 360-degree perspectives.

The paved path makes it excellent for cyclists, runners, canine walkers, or joggers. Come for an early morning walk or a overdue night view of the sundown.


Cliffs of Lighthouse Fields State Beach - Places to visit in Santa Cruz

Cliffs of Lighthouse Fields State Beach - Places to visit in Santa Cruz

15. Lighthouse Field State Beach

Most surfers in California will learn about Lighthouse Field State Beach. The sea coast is understood for having one of the crucial greatest waves in all of Santa Cruz! The sea coast is so well-known for browsing that it if truth be told properties the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, which is positioned throughout the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse.

Besides browsing, you’ll be able to additionally hire boogie forums or arrange a picnic at the sand. There also are a number of strolling trails across the sea coast in the event you want to opt for a relaxed stroll.

There is a lot of natural world looking at in Lighthouse Field State Beach. If you come back all the way through the wintry weather, you’ll see monarch butterflies that experience migrated over from the Rocky Mountains. You may also to find a number of lovely sea lions sunbathing at the neighboring rocks.


16. Mystery Spot

Be ready to be wowed and amazed at Mystery Spot, one in all Santa Cruz’s most well liked road-side points of interest. Located in the redwood forests, Mystery Spot will boggle your thoughts with its gravity-defying area.

Enter an international of phantasm, the place balls roll uphill and other folks can stand parallel on partitions. Legend has it that scientists have now not been in a position to work out the magic in the back of Mystery Spot, for the reason that regulations of physics appear to totally disappear when you step inside of. Either manner, it’s value a talk over with for a couple of pictures and laughs.

  • 465 Mystery Spot Rd, Santa Cruz, CA 95065
  • Daily 10 a.m. – four p.m.

17. Sunset State Beach

California is domestic to one of the crucial best possible seashores in the United States, and the Sunset State Beach isn’t any exception. Located only a 30-minute power from Santa Cruz, Sunset State Beach is an infinite, sprawling sea coast the place you’ll be able to get away the bustle of the town.

Spend the weekend sunbathing, swimming, and boogie boarding in the sea. If you will have a fishing license, you’ll be able to additionally catch sardines and striped bass off the shore.

If a couple of hours at the sea coast aren’t sufficient, carry your RV or tent and camp at the white-sand sea coast. There are a number of campsites and hookups to be had for hire. Between the comfy setting and the unbelievable perspectives of Monterey Bay, you received’t ever need to go away Sunset State Beach!

  • Sunset Beach Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076
  • Open 24 hours

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