Santa Cruz County

City of Santa Cruz
photo of windsurfer in Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California
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Santa Cruz




San Lorenzo Valley


Calendar of Events


Attractions & Museums




Beaches & Parks

General Information


Sun, surf, sand.... and an attitude that says, "Hang loose!"

Santa Cruz has been recognized as the last of the real California beach towns. Packed into its 12 square miles you can find stretches of beautiful beaches, redwood forests, National Marine Sanctuary, UCSC, the world famous Boardwalk Amusement Park, a Marina and Yacht Harbor, Municipal Wharf, a downtown graced with shops, restaurants and more movie screens per capita than any other coastal area.

Surfing off of Steamer Lane, a potboiler landing for Pacific waves, has become one of the legendary places to ride a surfboard. The waters in and around Santa Cruz host enthusiasts of sailing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, body surfing and just plain toe wiggling. The Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor hosts a blend of old-world fishermen and high-tech sailing craft, with row boats, fair-whether sailors who all share their love of the water with seals, otters and seagulls. Not quite as legendary, but sometimes infamous, are the Wednesday night races which, if you are not participating, can be very entertaining to watch. You can sometimes find a beach party of sailboat greeters waiting for the spectacular sights of colorful spinnakers raising into the sunset-hued sky as they make their way down wind.

For those who prefer their pleasures on dry land, the Boardwalk's Giant Dipper rollercoaster -- rated as one of the best wooden coasters in the world -- has been thrilling riders for more than 75 years. For something a bit more futuristic, save the world from intergalactic destruction at the Boardwalk's new virtual reality games.

photo of shoppers in downtown Santa Cruz, California

But Santa Cruz is much more than the beach. Venture down Pacific Avenue to find a smart new downtown, rebuilt in fine style following the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. This is one of the newest "in" spots and an entertaining place to be day or night.

Populated with galleries, sidewalk cafes, theaters, and boutiques, the downtown reflects the artistic talent of this community. Santa Cruz has a niche for everyone, local artisans have license to produce the kinds of paintings, glasswork, sculpture, and other fine work that can't be found anywhere else. You'll also find high-tech companies tucked into upstairs offices, locating here simply because of the ambiance. Don't miss a chance to see some live theater or performances while you are in Santa Cruz. Not only is the local talent exceptional, but Santa Cruz attracts many top-ranked performers from all over the world.

Up on "the hill," the University of California Santa Cruz campus is home to some of the world's finest programs in arts and sciences. This lovely campus has a vantage point from which to see the beauty of Santa Cruz. Its backdrop is the still, quiet atmosphere of majestic redwood groves and its front door welcome mat is rolling hillsides splattered with wildflowers and ocean breezes. There are many nature trails on and around the campus that are open to visitors.

Santa Cruz is the gateway the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Only about a half-dozen National Marine Sanctuaries have been set up in the United States, so it is a rare privilege and should not to be missed. A visit to the Long Marine Lab, just past Natural Bridges State Beach, is the ticket to a real education.

They say Santa Cruz has thrived in some distinct eras; as an old-world fishing village, an art deco mecca evident in some of its old buildings like the Coconut Grove, in the fifties-style Beach parties and beatniks, 60's hippie-free thinking era, and as a mecca for intellectuals, artists and performers. The rebirth of this beautiful city since the Earthquake of '89 demonstrates its strength as a destination for vacationers for one thing remains constant...Santa Cruz is the place to be.

For additional visitor information contact:
Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Council
1211 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 425-1234 - Toll Free: (800) 833-3494 - Fax: (831) 425-1260

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