Santa Cruz, CA

Travel Guide
Santa Cruz featuring general coastal views, flowers and a beach
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.

Where to stay in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz which includes watersports

Westside Santa Cruz

4/5(2,586 area reviews)

Westside Santa Cruz is known for its stunning beaches, and with sights like Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Monterey Bay, you won't get bored spending a day wandering around this part of Santa Cruz.

Westside Santa Cruz
41.5 feet tall, 350,000 pounds and able to withstand a quarter million pounds of wave energy: Walton Lighthouse

Eastside Santa Cruz

4.5/5(78 area reviews)

Eastside Santa Cruz is known for its beaches, and you can plan a trip to Monterey Bay and Twin Lakes State Beach while you're in town.

Eastside Santa Cruz
What better way to start your day!

Pleasure Point

World-renowned surf spot with a strong surf culture, Pleasure Point offers picturesque ocean views along East Cliff Drive and a walkable path with separate bike lanes. Enjoy amenities at Pleasure Point Park and nearby 41st Ave commercial district.

Pleasure Point
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Downtown Santa Cruz

4.5/5(27 area reviews)

Unique features of Downtown Santa Cruz include the beaches and restaurants. Make a stop by Pacific Avenue or Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History while you're exploring the area.

Downtown Santa Cruz
Evening stroll at the Seabright Beach. If you are lucky, you might run into Matt performing amazing bike tricks by the lighthouse. #LifeAtExpedia #sunset #goldenBeach #blueSky

Seabright

While visiting Seabright, you might make a stop by sights like Santa Cruz Harbor and Seabright Beach.

Seabright
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Beach Hill - Beach Flats

Beach Hill - Beach Flats might not have many top sights, but Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Main Beach are two attractions nearby that you can check out.

Beach Hill - Beach Flats
Courtyard by Marriott Santa Cruz
Courtyard by Marriott Santa Cruz
3 out of 5
313 Riverside Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA
The price is $119 per night from May 27 to May 28
$119
$136 total
includes taxes & fees
May 27 - May 28
Stay at this 3-star spa hotel in Santa Cruz. Enjoy free WiFi, a full-service spa, and breakfast (surcharge). Our guests praise the clean rooms in our reviews. ...
8.2/10 Very Good! (393 reviews)
"Very easy to go back and forth from the beach and boardwalk."

Reviewed on May 13, 2024

Courtyard by Marriott Santa Cruz
Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection
Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection
4 out of 5
611 Ocean St, Santa Cruz, CA
The price is $114 per night from May 27 to May 28
$114
$133 total
includes taxes & fees
May 27 - May 28
Book a stay at this business-friendly hotel in Santa Cruz. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast (surcharge), and room service. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful ...
8.4/10 Very Good! (1,006 reviews)
"I like it"

Reviewed on May 13, 2024

Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection
Dream Inn Santa Cruz
Dream Inn Santa Cruz
4 out of 5
175 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA
The price is $229 per night from May 20 to May 21
$229
$261 total
includes taxes & fees
May 20 - May 21
Book a stay at this beach resort in Santa Cruz. Enjoy free WiFi, a beach locale, and breakfast (surcharge). Our guests praise the pool and the restaurant in ...
9/10 Wonderful! (1,003 reviews)
"Great location on the beach"

Reviewed on May 16, 2024

Dream Inn Santa Cruz
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
2 Room Suite - Indoor Pool and Spa - Walk to the Boardwalk - No Cleaning Fee!
2 Room Suite - Indoor Pool and Spa - Walk to the Boardwalk - No Cleaning Fee!
Santa Cruz
Stay at this hotel in Santa Cruz. Enjoy free WiFi and air conditioning. Popular attractions Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Mystery Spot are located nearby.
7.6/10 Good! (12 reviews)