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in Santa Cruz

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Santa Cruz, California Hotels and Resorts

Santa Cruz Activities

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Santa Cruz All Activities

Biking

|| Rentals       || Tours       || Trails

Bicycle Rentals

Bicycle Shop

1325 Mission St., Santa Cruz  (831) 454-0909

Electric Sierra Cycles

302 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz  (831) 425-1593

Family Cycling Center

914 41st.  Ave., Santa Cruz  (831) 475-3883

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Santa Cruz Bike Tours

Watsonville, CA 95076    (831) 722-BIKE (2453)

Shuttle Smith Adventures

Aptos, CA    (831) 234-3383

Mountain bike through the Redwoods! Shuttle Smith Adventures offers bike shuttles daily to the top of  the Forest of Nisene Marks SP, where you can ride the challenging singletrack loops of Soquel Demonstration Forest, one of the leading freeride and cross-country destinations in the world!

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Bicycle Trails

Local Article: Wednesday Night Rides in the Forest of Nisene Marks SP

 

Local Article: Riding in the Forest of Nisene Marks SP & the Soquel Demonstration Forest

 

The Regional Transportation Commission

1523 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA   (831) 460-3200

This web site provides two very detailed city and county bike route maps.

Wheels Shall Overcome

A Web site dedicated to the best biking trails in the Santa Cruz Area.

Wilder Ranch State Park

Located north of Santa Cruz, immediately west of Hwy 1  831-423-9703

The Park has 4,505 acres, with 34 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails winding through coastal terraces and valleys.

DeLaveaga Park

850 N. Branciforte Drive, Santa Cruz, CA

Trails are open to hikers and bicyclists. Please stay on designated trails.

Pogonip Park

333 Golf Club Drive, Santa Cruz, CA  (831) 420-5270

Pogonip features approximately 8 miles of hiking trails. In the northernmost portion of Pogonip, a multi-use trail (approximately one mile in length) is open hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. This multi-use trail provides a connection between Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Pogonip, and the upper UCSC campus. Bicycles and horses are prohibited on all other trails. Bicyclists must ride responsibly and at a safe speed.

University of California Santa Cruz - UCSC

1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA  Campus Police at (831) 459-2231

UCSC has many excellent bike trails on campus lands adjacent to the Campus Natural Reserve. Use of the campus trails, are encouraged. Riding bicycles in the reserve, on the trails or elsewhere, is prohibited

Forest of Nisene Marks State Park

Aptos Creek Road, Soquel Drive, Aptos, CA   831-763-7062

The park offers rugged semi-wilderness, rising from sea level to steep coastal mountains of more than 2,600 feet.  It has over 30 miles of hiking, jogging and biking trails.

Soquel Demonstration State Park

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

4750 Old San Jose Road, Soquel, CA  (831) 475-8643

Offering almost 5 miles (out and back) trails, this preserve is extremely popular with mountain bikers.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

101 North Big Trees Park Road, Felton, CA   (831) 438-2396

This park features 15 miles of hiking and riding trails through a forest that looks much the same as it did 200 years ago.

Big Basin State Park

21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek, CA   (831) 338-8860

The park has over 80 miles of trails. Be sure and pick up a map at park headquarters before your hike and take a look at the multimedia kiosk in the Sempervirens Room (next to park headquarters). There you will find great information, photos, and video of some of the most popular trails.

Long Ridge Open Space Preserve

Skyline Boulevard, about 3.6 miles north of its intersection with Highway 9, and approximately 3.3 miles south of its intersection with Page Mill Road.

Since one can take short hikes or rides to scenic overlooks or longer loop trips, the preserve is very popular with hikers, cyclists, and equestrians.

Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve

Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) and Highway 9 intersection

The two mile multi-use Saratoga Gap Trail provides great opportunities for hikers, bikers, and equestrians.

See Also State Parks and Beaches...

 

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Birding

Elkhorn Slough Foundation

Box 267, Moss Landing, CA 95039  (831) 728-5939

Elkhorn Slough harbors the largest tract of tidal salt marsh in California outside of San Francisco Bay. This ecological treasure at the center of the Monterey Bay coastline provides much-needed habitat for hundreds of species of plants and animals, including more than 340 species of birds.

Docent-led tours of the Reserve are held every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. There is also an early birding walk the first Saturday of every month at 8:30 a.m. More >>

Santa Cruz Bird Club

The Club sponsors birding walks in and around Santa Cruz County.  For a very detailed list of the best birding locations, please review the Club's Guide to Birding in Santa Cruz County, California.

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Bowling

AMF Cabrillo Lanes

580 Auto Center, Watsonville  (831) 724-1155

Boardwalk Bowl

115 Cliff St., Santa Cruz  (831) 426-3324

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Fishing

Captain Jimmy Charters

10 Windemere Lane, Aptos, CA 95003  (831) 662-3020   

Sportfishing Charters  and scattering of burial ashes.

Reel Sportfishing

P.O. Box 3300, Santa Cruz  (831)465-0639

Santa Cruz Sportfishing

P.O. Box 5235  (831) 426-4690

Shamrock Charter's

2210 E Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz  (831) 476-2648

Stagnaro Fishing Trips

32 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz  (831) 427-2334

Tom's Sportfishing

P.O. Box 647 Moss Landing  (831) 633-2564

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Hiking

Please visit our dedicated Hiking Page at by clicking here >>

Horse Back Riding

Monterey Bay Equestrian Center -- Beach rides

19805 Pesante Rd., Salinas  (831) 663-5712

Horse-N-Around The Mitchell Ranch

980 Travers Lane, Watsonville, CA  95076  (408) 528-5461

Horse-n-Around offers horseback riding lessons to beginner riders of all ages.  We have a unique children's Discovery Program designed to introduce children to the world of horses.  We also offer summer camps. 

See Also State Parks and Beaches...

   

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Kayaking

Elkhorn Slough Foundation

Box 267, Moss Landing, CA 95039  (831) 728-5939

Elkhorn Slough harbors the largest tract of tidal salt marsh in California outside of San Francisco Bay. This ecological treasure at the center of the Monterey Bay coastline provides much-needed habitat for hundreds of species of plants and animals, including more than 340 species of birds.

For the kayak lovers, the reserve is absolutely wonderful! Click here to read how to protect the reserve and where to launch and land your kayak >>

Adventure Sports

303 Potrero, Santa Cruz  (831) 458-3648

Kayak Connection

2370 Hwy 1, Moss Landing  (831) 724-5692

Kayak Connection

413 Lake Ave., Santa Cruz  (831) 479-1121

Monterey Bay Kayaks

693 Del Monte Ave., Monterey  (800) 649-5357

Venture Quest Kayak

125 Beach St., Santa Cruz  (831) 427-2267

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Rock/Wall Climbing

Castle Rock State Park Along the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Castle Rock State Park contains 3,600 acres of coast redwood, Douglas-fir, and madrone forest. Steep canyons are sprinkled with unusual rock formations that are popular with rock climbers, and hikers can enjoy the 32 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails.

Pacific Edge Rock Climbing Gym

104 Bronson, Santa Cruz  (831) 454-9254

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Roller Skating

Santa Cruz Roller Palladium

1606 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz  (831) 423-0844

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Sailing Schools

Lighthall Yacht Charters -- Sailing School

934 Bay Street, Santa Cruz  (831) 429-1970

Pacific Yachting & Sailing -- Sailing School

790 Mariner Park Way, Santa Cruz  (831) 423-7245

U.C. Santa Cruz Boating Center -- Sailing School

(408) 425-1164

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Scenic Boat Tours/Rentals

Chardonnay Sailing Charters

704 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz (831) 423-1213

O'Neill Yachts

2222 E Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz  (831) 425-0949

Pacific Yachting & Sailing -- Sailing School

790 Mariner Park Way, Santa Cruz  (831) 423-7245

Santa Cruz Yacht Club

244 Fourth Ave., Santa Cruz  (831) 425-0690

Stagnaro Fishing Trips

Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz  (831) 427-2334

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SCUBA Diving

Adventure Sports

303 Potrero, Santa Cruz  (831) 458-3648

Aqua Safaris Scuba Center

6896 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz  (831) 423-3483

Bamboo Reef

614 Lighthouse Ave., Santa Cruz  (831) 372-1685

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Skateboarding

Ken Wormhoudt Skate Park

225 San Lorenzo Blvd at Riverside Ave., Santa Cruz, CA

Derby Park

508 Woodland Way, Santa Cruz, CA

Among the first public skateboard tracks. A favorite of street stylists

Jim Keeffe Skate Park at Highlands County Park

8500 Highway 9 Ben Lomond, CA     (831) 336-5366

Ramsay Park

1301 Main St., Watsonville, CA

Sky Park 

361 Kings Village Rd Scotts Valley, CA

 

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Surfing

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Club Ed Surf and Windsurf School

Located on Cowell beach next to the Santa Cruz Wharf  (800) 287-7873

 

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Theme Parks

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Beach Street, Santa Cruz, CA

Explorer1.com Review -  The boardwalk has the prefect blend of thrill rides and beautiful beaches.  Although it's great for older teens, the park also has an area dedicated for younger visitors with tame rides and various activities. 

The best part of the boardwalk is its proximity to the beach, waves and the municipal wharf.  When the park crowds become too much, you can always break away and enjoy the beach life. 

Gilroy Gardens

3050 Hecker Pass Rd Gilroy, CA 95020 (408) 840-7100

Explorer1.com Review -  Excellent family oriented theme park -- especially for families with younger children. The rides are pretty tame and there are lots of activities gear toward the little ones. 

Although the food at the park seems to be better than most theme parks, most families opt to bring their own snacks and drinks. It's healthier and a lot more cost effective.

Gilroy can be extremely hot in the summer, so make sure to take plenty of water and sun screen!

Paramount Great America

4701 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA 95054

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Train Rides

Roaring Camp Big Trees Railroad

Graham Hill Rd., Felton (831) 335-4484

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Tours

Experience Capitola! ─ Tiki Cab

Capitola, CA  (931) 421-1718

Tiki Cab's Pedicab Tours include stops at Capitola's most historical points of interest such as the Capitola Wharf, Stockton Bridge and Soquel Creek, the Esplanade and the sites of the former Hotel Capitola, 6 sisters, and Camp Capitola Beach. We'll also visit the the former train depot at the base of Depot Hill (now a boutique hotel), the site of the former airport and Coastal Artillery Brigade and view the site of the former Chinese fishing village of New Brighton and the story behind the grounded cement ship The Palo Alto.

On the way back we'll travel down the original streets of Camp Capitola and view the historic homes along the way and get an up close look at the train trestle. Our pedicab will pick you up at your Capitola hotel or any location you choose within the City of Capitola.

Culinary and Walking Tour Santa Cruz Food Tour

529 Chestnut St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060 (800) 838-3006

Santa Cruz Food Tour offers a 3.5-hour cultural and culinary walking tour where you taste delicious food in out-of-the-way places and explore history and architecture in hidden neighborhoods. Come hungry and leave full. Rain or shine this is a non-touristy adventure you won't find anywhere else. People who have taken our tour have made us the number 1 Santa Cruz tour on TripAdvisor.com. Our downtown tour is 30% off at $52.50 and includes all the food and drink along the way (enough for a full meal).

 

Danu Enterprises

313 McCormick Ave., Capitola  (831) 476-0543

Earth Sea & Sky Tours

7887 Soquel Dr., Aptos  (831) 688-5544

Elkhorn Slough Safari Nature Tour

(831) 633-5555

Redwood Adventures

P.O. Box 1191, Boulder Creek  (831) 338-1191

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Walking

Circle Trail -- Santa Cruz

A walker's guide to some of the most scenic areas Santa Cruz has to offer.

Santa Cruz Mission Hill

Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park 140 School Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

The Mission Hill District is the birthplace of Santa Cruz and the first permanent European settlement in Santa Cruz County.   Click here for Walking Tour brochure (PDF)

Walnut Avenue Downtown Santa Cruz

With its uninterrupted Victorian buildings and mature tree cover, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll down one of the most beautiful streets in the City.  Building ages range from 1870 to 1938. Click here for Walking Tour brochure (PDF)

Ocean View Avenue

Established in 1871, this street is made up of many large homes that were originally built by wealthy year-round residents of San Jose and Central Valley residents looking for fine summer homes.  Click here for Walking Tour brochure (PDF)

Beach Hill

The area's historic residences reflect changes in Santa Cruz architectural styles form sea captain's cottages to mansions to bungalows.  Click here for Walking Tour brochure (PDF)

West Cliff Drive

Explorer1 Review -- Located between the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Municipal Wharf at one end and Natural Bridges State Park at the other, it is home to perhaps the most scenic pathway in Santa Cruz.  The two mile drive has extra wide pathways that are wheelchair accessible and are designated "multiuse". They are perfect for cycling, skating, and walking.  West Cliff also provides visual and physical access points to surfing, tide pools, beaches, fishing, Frisbee, and skim boarding.

During the peak tourist season and various surf and sea kayak contests, the area can get extremely busy.  Also, the local surfers at Steamer Lane can get a little territorial with the waves.

When visiting West Cliff Drive, don't forget to visit the "Surf Museum" located in Lighthouse Field.

University of California Santa Cruz - UCSC

1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA  Campus Police at (831) 459-2231

UCSC has many excellent bike trails on campus lands adjacent to the Campus Natural Reserve. Use of the campus trails, are encouraged. Riding bicycles in the reserve, on the trails or elsewhere, is prohibited

Santa Cruz Wharf

Next the the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  (831) 420-5270

Home to several restaurants and shops, you can spend hours strolling along the wharf while you take in the sights and sounds of Santa Cruz. 

Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor

Santa Cruz Port Dist., 135 Fifth Ave., Santa Cruz, CA  (831) 475-6161

Along with housing boats, the harbor is also home to several restaurants and bars.   The harbor has wide walkways and a service road that boarders the harbor.  The mostly flat surfaces make it perfect for walking, jogging and biking.  Also, with the exception of the harbor's restaurant/bar area, most of the course has very little car traffic.

Also see biking and hiking links

 

Go to Parks & Beaches Page...

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Whale-Watching Tours

Whale Watching –  Central Coast Santa Cruz, Monterey, Half Moon Bay

Gray Whales – 20,000 Gray Whales pass by the Central Coast two times every year. During December through mid February, the whales migrate south from the arctic waters off the coast of Alaska to their winter birthing grounds off of the Baja Peninsula. Then from mid February through April, they return to the arctic waters to feed.  Peak viewing times are usually mid January and mid March.   More background on the Gray Whale >>

Humpback Whales – Spending the winter months off of the Mexican Coast to breed and give birth, the Humpback Whales migrate north to polar waters to feed during the summer months.  Humpback Whales are most common off the Central Coast from April through November.  More background on the Humpback >>

Oceanic Society

Whale Watching - Santa Cruz 415 474-3385

Huck Finn Sportfishing

Johnson Pier in El Granada, Pillar Point Harbor on Santa Cruz (650) 726-7133

Queen of Hearts

Pillar Point Harbor, Santa Cruz, CA 510-581-2628

Riptide Sportfishing

H-Dock at Pillar Point Harbor, Santa Cruz 888-747-8433

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Wind Surfing

GoinOff

A Web site that is dedicated to providing the best windsurfing and surfing links.

Windsurfing Paradise

AA Web site that is dedicated to providing the best windsurfing and surfing links

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