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Santa CruzUnited States of America

This Californian city attracts visitors looking for sun and sand, and has one of the strongest surfing cultures in the country.

For many, Santa Cruz embodies the laid-back spirit of coastal California. The city has strong surfing and skateboarding cultures, beautiful beaches and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

There are many options for outdoor recreation in and around Santa Cruz. Rent a kayak and paddle out to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Try to spot sea lions, seals and even whales (during winter and spring) as you paddle along. Hiking enthusiasts will also enjoy the numerous scenic trails at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and Wilder Ranch State Park.

No trip to Santa Cruz would be complete without delving into the city’s surfing heritage. Catch a wave at one of the well-known surfing breaks or rent a car and cruise along the scenic West Cliff Drive to the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. This museum is located in the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse and overlooks the famous Steamer Lane surf break.

Downtown Santa Cruz is known for its eclectic shops, cafés and restaurants and is a short stroll from the beach. Families will love the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. This amusement park opened in 1907 and is full of old-world charm. Take a spin on one of its historic rides, such as the wooden Giant Dipper Roller Coaster.

Foodies should check out the Santa Cruz Wharf, home to many seafood restaurants and shops. Wine aficionados will love the Santa Cruz Mountains, where many local wineries have tasting rooms.

You can cover much of Santa Cruz’s main downtown and city attractions on foot, by bike or with the Santa Cruz Metro bus services. If you want to venture farther afield, it’s best to rent a car as the roads near the Santa Cruz Mountains can get very steep.

Top Hotels in Santa Cruz

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Hilton Santa Cruz - Scotts Valley
Hilton Santa Cruz - Scotts Valley
3.5 out of 5
6001 La Madrona Drive, Santa Cruz, CA
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is CA $171 per night

Situated near the airport, this romantic hotel is 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Pacific Avenue and Roaring ...

4.2/5Very Good! (1,013 reviews)

"We were looking for a quiet comfortable room in a clean"…"

Reviewed on Jun. 27, 2020

Hilton Santa Cruz - Scotts Valley
Casablanca On The Beach
Casablanca On The Beach
3.5 out of 5
101 Main St, Santa Cruz, CA
The price is CA $256 per night

Located in Westside Santa Cruz, this beach hotel is steps away from Santa Cruz Wharf and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Monterey Bay is 0.6 mi (1 km) away.

3.9/5Very Good! (1,099 reviews)

"This property has a very botique feel to it. It is very close to the pier and boardwalk. We had a very relaxing stay."…"

Reviewed on Jun. 22, 2020

Casablanca On The Beach
Hyatt Place Santa Cruz
Hyatt Place Santa Cruz
3 out of 5
407 Broadway, Santa Cruz, CA
The price is CA $183 per night

Located in Westside Santa Cruz, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Ocean Street and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Monterey Bay is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) away.

4.5/5Wonderful! (850 reviews)

"Had a great time at the hotel was happy with the accommodations and many of our daily activities were nearby driving or by walking distance would definitely stay here again"…"

Reviewed on Jun. 27, 2020

Hyatt Place Santa Cruz

Top things to do in Santa Cruz

Redwood Forest Steam Train Adventure
Image for Redwood Forest Steam Train Adventure

Redwood Forest Steam Train Adventure

CA $45
Per adult
90% of travellers recommend
Santa Cruz Beach Train Adventure
Image for Santa Cruz Beach Train Adventure

Santa Cruz Beach Train Adventure

CA $47
Per adult
90% of travellers recommend
Beginner Surfing Lessons - Santa Cruz
Image for Beginner Surfing Lessons - Santa Cruz

Beginner Surfing Lessons - Santa Cruz

CA $148
Per adult
Wilderness Survival Skills Clinic
Image for Wilderness Survival Skills Clinic

Wilderness Survival Skills Clinic

CA $183
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
West Cliff & Wharf Segway Tour
Image for West Cliff & Wharf Segway Tour

West Cliff & Wharf Segway Tour

CA $120
Per adult
Wine Trolley’s Trolley Special
Image for Wine Trolley’s Trolley Special

Wine Trolley’s Trolley Special

CA $231
Per adult

Reviews of Santa Cruz

4.3

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
9
5 - Excellent 33.333333333333336%
4 - Good
16
4 - Good 59.25925925925926%
3 - Okay
2
3 - Okay 7.407407407407407%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Aug 25, 2019

Would recommend the walk up the coastal path to the surf museum. Also worth checking out the skateboard museum at NHS Inc.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Jul 13, 2019

Just got here but it seems like a super fun, quaint coastal city!

4/5 - Good

Bibi

Mar 24, 2019

lovely small beach town with

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Mar 18, 2019

Surfs up! This place is about the sunshine and the waves. You'll love it but don't expect much nightlife near the beach in the off season. Take a surf lesson and have a meal on the warf. Chill on the beach and check out the surfers at "Steamer Lane".

3/5 - Okay

Daniel

Nov 8, 2018

Very quiet in the off season. Most shops and restaurants were closed.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Santa Cruz

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From Florida to Europe to Down Under, a Beach for Every Type of Traveller

From Florida to Europe to Down Under, a Beach for Every Type of Traveller
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