Santa Cruz Travel Guide

  • Its Beach, Santa Cruz
    Its Beach, Santa Cruz
    by trvlrtom
  • A Santa Cruz Beach
    A Santa Cruz Beach
    by trvlrtom
  • West Cliff
    by trvlrtom

Santa Cruz Things to Do

  • Santa Cruz Wharf

    4 out of 5 stars

    The current Santa Cruz Wharf, built in 1914 is the 5th wharf to occupy this site. The wharf was originally built to ensure continued shipping operations as the bay was filling with silt. This wharf had a railroad track, a few warehouses and no shops or restaurants. Today the wharf has about 10 restaurants, numerous shops offering gifts and touristy...

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  • Boardwalk

    Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is so much fun. I've been going there since i've been a kid. Rides have been switched, but better one's are put in. I really recommend on going here. One of the only reason to not go here is, the drive is LONG, but its totally worth it, if you have not been to santa cruz beach boardwalk b4

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  • Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

    5 out of 5 stars

    This is an excellent park where you can easily see some of California's great giant redwoods. Most of the big trees in the state were cut down in the late 1800s, and in this part of California groves of old growth trees are not too common. Big Basin State Park, up near the town of Boulder Creek, has many more, but this park is closer and has a nice...

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Santa Cruz Hotels

Santa Cruz Restaurants

  • Great Mexican food, awesome location

    I have been to this establishment for the tacos several times and have not been disappointed. This is a great little hole in the wall located right across from the beach. Cool, divey atmosphere, with excellent,authentic food. You can sit outdoors as well, which in beautiful Santa Cruz is an added bonus. The staff is friendly and quick. Waiting is...

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  • feijoada completa

    Cafe Brasil is a SC institution, I'd take anyone who visits here. Great food, good vibes; two fires but still going strong. The world cup parties here are supposedly insane. I generally get the avocado a cavalho, chop it all up and mix in feijoada and the potatoes, but it's all good.

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  • Santa Cruz Diner

    We stopped at the Santa Cruz Diner one morning while driving from Monterey to San Francisco. This busy and rather large restaurant had some good service and above average food. We had omelets with hasbrowns and toast along with coffee, and our three meals ran about $27 together. The Santa Cruz diner is open 24/7 and seems to have a big late night...

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Santa Cruz Nightlife

  • Santa Cruz 9

    This relatively new cinema complex in Santa Cruz is great with evening shows. It charges usually $8.50 a pop and has the most current selections. It's also a great place to people watch if you're ever stuck in line. Anything really.

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  • Beer beer beer

    99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall ... not too difficult to figure out what this bar is about. Whether you are a beer specialist or a casual drinker, there is no way to be disappointed with what is available here. It is a pleasant bar in downtown Santa Cruz that also offers pub food. There are comfortable booths, some tables, outside seating and a...

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  • Downtown Santa Cruz

    In 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake destroyed virtually all of downtown Santa Cruz. The benefit from that was the removal of hideous 50's and 60's era storefronts, and the rebuilding of a completely redesigned downtown oriented toward foot traffic and disabled tourists. At night, the street is full of street actors, break dancers, and musicians, and the...

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Santa Cruz Transportation

  • Great Public Transportation

    The metro is a great way to get around in Santa Cruz. The city has one of the best public transportation systems I have ever seen. The bus has frequent buses on every route, which covers most of the city. The buses are generally clean and has friendly people on them. If you have a student ID you travel free.

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  • Ride a Bike

    Almost everyone in Santa Cruz frequently rides a bike. It's healthy, better for the environment, and a great way to tour SC. It is an extremely bike friendly town, and relatively small. There are bike shops everywhere, so just look one up that's close to where you're staying, rent yourself a cruiser, and cruise the coastline!(There are also great...

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  • Hiking in Henrey Cowell Redwoods State...

    We hiked in Cowell Redwoods' 15-20 miles of trails for about four hours one cloudy afternoon in September 2007. We started at the main visitors center off Rt 9 in Felton. We started at the wide, flat Redwood Grove Loop Trail, a 0.4 mile stretch that is the starting point for most of the other trails in the park. From here we continued on to the...

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Santa Cruz Shopping

  • Great Independent Shop

    Bookshop Santa Cruz is a favorite in this area. For many years it was located in an historic building downtown, but that building, and many others, collapsed in the 1989 earthquake. The shop relocated to a new building and maintained its original atmosphere as much as possible, staying away from just the big publisher lists and promoting local and...

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  • Good prices here.

    This is a great outlet shop to check out for good quality clothes and other items from the Patagonia line. Like other outlets, the variety and quantity of items changes frequently, but there are weekly specials posted out front. We stop here every once in a while just to see what is available. If you know Patagonia's products, then you know that...

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  • Groceries, sandwiches, local produce

    New Leaf is THE place to shop if you want to mix with the locals or pick up some goods for a picnic. This local chain has provided the community with quality groceries and local goods for years. By catering to the local community, that means a wide variety of organic foods and locally produced goods. This is the perfect place to stop if you want to...

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Santa Cruz Local Customs

  • Volunteer Fire Fighter Pancake Breakfast

    The Santa Cruz Mountains have a terrific potential for infernos due to the large number of high value, but low code enforcement, realestate that mingle within the redwood forests. By late summer, the forests are particularly dry and redwood branches and needles pile on the ground and rooftops of tinderbox cabins. In addition, the fire fighters are...

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  • Tobacco Forbidden, Marijuana OK

    Smoking tobacco cigarettes is banned virtually everywhere in Santa Cruz County, but smoking pot, particulary medical marijuana, is sanctioned, at least in part, by Santa Cruz city law. In November of 2006, a 64% majority of voters in the city of Santa Cruz passed Measure K, which amended municipal code by adding an ordinance that requires Santa...

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  • The first quarter

    The first quarter released in 2005 honors California, and is the 31st in the United States Mint's 50 State Quarters® Program. California was admitted into the Union on September 9, 1850, becoming our Nation’s 31st State. Nicknamed the "Golden State," California’s quarter depicts naturalist and conservationist John Muir admiring Yosemite Valley’s...

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Santa Cruz Warnings and Dangers

  • Santa Cruz. Beware of police and...

    All of Santa Cruz is problematic due to the influx of thieves - of all kinds - those in law enforcement and those outside of it. I called the police four times between 2012 to 2013 for burglaries I sustained in Santa Cruz. Over $35,000.00 in property was stolen from me. The police didn't even bother to return my phones calls - even after I...

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  • Stay Off The Beach At Night

    I didn't think going on the beach at night would be something dangerous, but it can be. I was there with my mom, dad, and cousin. We wanted to take a walk down the beach at night to see the amusement park, all lit up. I noticed there were some crack heads under the pier, that were high on drugs. I thought we'd just walk past them with no trouble,...

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  • Poison Oak

    Poison Oak is endemic throughout the Santa Cruz mountains, so avoid it or expect an uncomfortable rash. Sensitivity varies with individuals and exposure, but the immune response can actually get worse with repeated exposure to the active chemical ingredient. Some individuals severe response may require hospitalization. The plant is dormant in...

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Santa Cruz Tourist Traps

  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

    The Boardwalk was built in 1907 and is open all summer. It is about 1/2 mile long and contains 34 rides including a famous carousel from 1911, two roller coasters, and a skyride along the beach. Entrance to the boardwalk is free, you only pay if you ride the rides. Beside the old boardwalk is a newer Boardwalk Arcade that is open year around with a...

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  • Old Fashioned Fun

    There is a yesteryear charm about the Boardwalk. When this place was build, bathing suits covered you down to your knees and were made of wool.The Giant Dipper, the Carousel and the ferris wheel are some of the finest "antique" rides in the country. If you are expecting the latest in roller coaster whoopdie rides, this is not it. If you want to see...

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  • Mystery Spot

    No one is 'fooled' by this place, no one goes there expecting that there is no gravitypeople go there because it is sweet, and funyour going to think it is lame if you are looking for a way to prove it doesn't actually defy gravity and also you are a total idiot Have fun and dont try to figure it out just play around

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Santa Cruz What to Pack

  • Dress In Layers

    You never know what the weather will be like in Santa Cruz. Even when it's very hot in nearby cities, it can be foggy and drizzling in Santa Cruz. Be sure and pack a sweatshirt with your suntan lotion!

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  • Packing List

    A big back-pack is best! Everything from a raincoat to a bathing suit. Most days it may drizzle of rain during the winter and it can be a bit chilly since the rain and weather is really wet. However in the spring and summer it may start out with a fog and burn off by mid afternoon.

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  • Santa Cruz Hotels

    66 Hotels in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Off The Beaten Path

  • In search of an awesome Farmer's Market?

    Then you are in Luck. Take Highway 9 North for about 15 minutes to the town of Felton. Here, every Tuesday from 2:30 to 6:30pm, is an awesome Farmer's Market complete with fresh fruit and vegtables. Added to the mix is some talented local musicians performing as well as local restaurants operating booths, plenty of cold beverages and ice cream...

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  • Bonny Doon Winery

    Bonny Doon is tucked in redwood forests somewhat near the coast. Typical of the rest of Santa Cruz, the winery has a quirky, irreverent character. The owner refuses to follow any of the standard protocol of the proper and staid in the winemaking industry. Our pourer was a friendly woman who poured more wines than we were willing to taste (I think...

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  • Bonny Doon Vineyard

    I remember Randall Graham when he sold his first cases of wine to a store I worked at in Yountville. Long curly hair in a mess and wearing an old T-shirt, it was hard to imagine that his wine could be good. But, we tasted and found the Clos de Gilroy quite good indeed, and since then Randall has made many other types of wines and liquors. Now, many...

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Santa Cruz Sports & Outdoors

  • Monterey Bay H3

    The Monterey Bay Hash House Harriers runs every other Sunday at 1 pm in and around greater Monterey Bay - anywhere from Boulder Creek to Hollister to King City to Carmel. MBH3 Hashes are generally live hare A to A runs. Trails are generally 3 to 6 miles in length. old running shoes and a desire to have fun

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  • Yogatastic

    Santa Cruz is not short on yoga centers. The place is saturated with them, so it is difficult to know where is good to go. Fortunately, while me and my girlfriend were there the Santa Cruz Weekly paper had its 'Best Of' Santa Cruz awards and Nourish, a yoga and wellness center in downtown, was listed as the best yoga studio and Victor Dubin, an...

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  • Santa Cruz is a World Leader in Bicycles

    Santa Cruz is a world leader in recreational cycling. The mountain bicycle was virtually invented here when I was a kid, and some of the toughest wilderness trails are in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Since then full suspension and BMX bicycles are made and used by professionals born in the area. Along the beach, coaster brake balloon tire bicycles...

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Santa Cruz Favorites

  • Surfing the Internet in Surf City USA

    Santa Cruz travelers often find themselves needing to surf the internet. WiFi is available around town. Although, if you didn't bring a laptop, Cruzio (http://cruzio.com), a local internet service provider, offers in-store computer/internet rentals, printing, and even travel information.

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  • cupcake tip

    the Cupcake report, ok?1. GAYLES OF CApitola///BEst cupcakes, pastries , sweets 2. Kelly's (in Aptos, and Santa Cruz) (former employee of GAYLES of Capitola)3. The buttercup (also former employees of Gayles ) Gayles of Capitola......and MArini's candies on the Boardwalk

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  • Ever present fog

    Fog is present on the coast of northern California pretty much from June to September, with some clear days mixed in when we get that rare offshore breeze. On many days the fog moves into the inland areas. The rainy season is November to March or April. These weather patterns are the reason the Santa Cruz mountains (and other part of coastal...

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Top 10 Paddleboarding Beaches: Santa Cruz

Rated 5 out of 5 stars

Our chosen spot in Northern California, Santa Cruz provides a range of great breaks for all experience levels, from beginner to experienced. In addition to the shoreline, Covewater SUP of Santa Cruz leads tours through Elkhorn Slough, one of two remaining salt marshes in California, which gives you the opportunity to spy sea otters, harbor seals, and numerous species of birds.

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Map of Santa Cruz

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