Santa Cruz Travel Guide


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Santa Cruz Tourist Attractions


Santa Cruz
Tourist Attractions

So many things to do, so little time. 

West Cliff Drive is a popular Santa Cruz destination for both visitors and locals alike.  You can enjoy a leisurely stroll along cliffs while you take in the wonderful ocean views.  You can picnic in the park and visit Lighthouse Field and the Surfer's Museum located in the lighthouse. 

For the more adventurous, Steamer's Lane offers experienced surfers some of the best surfing in Santa Cruz.  And for those that are land lovers, the area is perfect for biking, walking and roller skating.

Henry Cowell Redwoods Park

101 N Big Trees Park Rd., Felton  (831) 335-4598

Monterey Bay Aquarium

886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA (831) 648-4888

We've included this world class aquarium in our Santa Cruz listings. Although it's 40+ minutes away, it worth the drive.  The aquarium features habitats of Monterey Bay in its permanent galleries, and global marine life and marine conservation issues in its special exhibitions. 

Mystery Spot

465 Mystery Spot Rd., Santa Cruz  (831) 423-8897

Pacific Garden Mall

The Pacific Garden Mall has a multitude of fine restaurants, coffee houses, nightclubs, movie theaters, and small boutiques and book stores. The mall's extra wide sidewalks and benches make it ideal for people watching. 

One downside is that it can get extremely busy during the peak tourist season.  Also, the concentration of pedestrians seem to make it ideal for panhandling, student protesting, etc.

Roaring Camp & Big Trees Railroad

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

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Beach Street, Santa Cruz

Fun for all ages.  The boardwalk offers fun rides, food  and exhibits and it's located on a beach that's perfect for all of your summer activities.

Santa Cruz County Wineries

A directory of local wineries

Santa Cruz Harbor 

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

Along with housing sail and motor boats of all sizes, it's also home to several restaurants and bars.   What I personally like best about the harbor is the wide walk way and road that boarders the harbor.  It's perfect for walking, jogging or biking. 

Santa Cruz Wharf

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

Home to some excellent restaurants and small shops, you can spend hours strolling along the wood deck taking in the sights and sounds of Santa Cruz. 

Seymour Marine Discovery Center

Long Marine Lab, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, CA  (831-459-3800

This is a working marine laboratory. Tourists can experience exhibit halls, aquarium, touch tanks, tours to marine mammal research overlook, and beautiful views of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History

705 Front Street (downtown Santa Cruz)  (831) 429-1964

Shakespeare Santa Cruz

Theater Arts/UCSC, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA  (831) 459-2121

Shakespeare Santa Cruz is a professional repertory company in residence at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Our Festival was founded in 1981 and continues to be held annually each summer at UC Santa Cruz. Plays are held indoors on the UCSC Theatre Arts Main stage and outdoors among the redwoods in the Festival Glen. Bringing in professional actors, directors and designers from throughout the country, the Company's season runs from mid-July through August and features four plays presented in repertory. Hailed by USA Today as “one of the nation’s top ten most influential” Shakespeare companies, SSC interprets the works of William Shakespeare through a contemporary lens and introduces our audiences to the newer work of American playwrights.

West Cliff Drive

Located between the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Santa Cruz Wharf at one end and Natural Bridges State Park at the other, it is perhaps the most scenic pathway in Santa Cruz.  The 2 mile drive has extra wide pathways that are wheelchair accessible and are designated "multiuse".  Perfect for cycling, skating, and walking, it also provides visual and physical access points to surfing, tide pools, beaches, kite flying, fishing, Frisbee, and skim boarding.

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


What's on Tap
This Fall


Santa Cruz Festivals & Events:

‚ÄčSanta Cruz Christmas Tree Farm Locations  Late Nov & Dec.

Christmas and Winter Holiday Inspired Events and ActivitiesExplore a list of holiday inspired events in and around Santa Cruz 

Whale Watching – Dec. through May  

Elephant Seal Watching – December is breeding season. Año Nuevo State Reserve has a large colony of northern elephant seals that assemble there each winter.

For more event information, click on our Festivals & Events page for Santa Cruz.


Top Fall Attractions:


Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Fun for all ages.  

Santa Cruz Fishing 

Fall is fishing and crabbing season in Santa Cruz!

Santa Cruz Surfing

With 11 world-class surf breaks such as Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point, it is easy to understand why the greatest surfers in the world call Santa Cruz home!  

Whale Watching – Whale Watching December through May


For more information on local attractions, click on the Attractions or Recreational Activities.



The Region's Fall Advisories:

Traffic Conditions. Rush hour traffic can be extremely challenging – especially along Mission Street and Highway 1 between Santa Cruz and Capitols. It's a good idea to plan ahead and arrive early and leave late. Go to to learn about road conditions. 

Yes, it's still water, water, water! California is undergoing an extreme drought. If you are planning a lake vacation be sure to check about water levels. That rafting trip, fishing, or skiing can be impacted.

EXTREME fire danger. The drought has created a very dangerous combination of dry vegetation and no moisture in the air to help contain any fire. Please use extreme caution during your trip.