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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.

Where to stay in Santa Cruz

Top hotels in Santa Cruz

Dream Inn Santa Cruz
Dream Inn Santa Cruz
4 out of 5
175 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA
The price is £155 per night from 29 Jan to 30 Jan

Located in Westside Santa Cruz, this beachfront resort is in the city centre and within a 5-minute walk of Santa Cruz Main Beach and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (980 reviews)

"The location is unbeatable! The shower was good and there are microwaves accessable in the vending area of each floor. It ended up being my wide and my favorite hotel of the 8 we stoped at on our tour of the pacific coast highway."…"

Reviewed on 4 Jan 2021

Dream Inn Santa Cruz
Casablanca On The Beach
Casablanca On The Beach
3.5 out of 5
101 Main St, Santa Cruz, CA
The price is £119 per night from 26 Jan to 27 Jan

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! (1,072 reviews)

"Cute room, like a little apartment. Very nice staff"…"

Reviewed on 2 Jan 2021

Casablanca On The Beach
Hyatt Place Santa Cruz
Hyatt Place Santa Cruz
3 out of 5
407 Broadway, Santa Cruz, CA
The price is £84 per night from 27 Jan to 28 Jan

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.

4.4/5Wonderful! (991 reviews)

"My husband and I really enjoyed staying at Hyatt Place."…"

Reviewed on 17 Jan 2021

Hyatt Place 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.

Top Holiday Rentals in Santa Cruz

Fern River Resort
Fern River Resort
3 out of 5
5250 Highway 9, Felton, CA
The price is £66 per night from 28 Jan to 29 Jan

Nestled on the beach, this Felton cabin is within 1 mi (2 km) of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and Roaring Camp Railroads. Felton Covered Bridge Park is 1.5 ...

4.4/5Excellent! (172 reviews)

"This property was absolutely gorgeous. It was a quaint, cozy 2 bdrm cabin nestled in the redwoods that backed up to the river. It had a bar b que and picnic table out back and you can hear the sound of the river from your cabin. It is also only steps away from the entrance of Henry Cowell redwoods ..."…"

Reviewed on 4 Jan 2021

Fern River Resort
Santa Cruz Beachfront Vacation Rental
Santa Cruz Beachfront Vacation Rental
22818 E Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA

Nestled on the beach, this Eastside Santa Cruz holiday home is just steps away from Moran Lake Beach and Monterey Bay. Capitola Beach and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (50 reviews)
Santa Cruz Gem

"This place lived up to its picture s for sure. Perfect location to surf and enjoy Hawaii like sunsets. The friends who joined us lived 4 miles away on west side and they felt it was like going away to relax yet so close ."…"

Reviewed on 5 Jan 2021

Santa Cruz Beachfront Vacation Rental
Jayes Timberlane Resort
Jayes Timberlane Resort
3.5 out of 5
8705 Highway 9, Ben Lomond, CA
The price is £92 per night from 27 Jan to 28 Jan

Situated in Ben Lomond, this holiday home is 2.5 mi (4 km) from Felton Covered Bridge Park and 3 mi (4.9 km) from Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Roaring Camp ...

3.9/5Very Good! (146 reviews)

"Very friendly and helpful staff. Initially I had a room on the lower level and showed interest in the cabins with a view but they were not available. Upon arrival the attendant informed me one became available and was nice enough to upgrade me. Really made my stay pleasant and will definitely ..."…"

Reviewed on 26 Oct 2020

Jayes Timberlane Resort
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.

Popular places to visit in Santa Cruz

Top things to do in Santa Cruz

Reviews of Santa Cruz

3.8

Guest rating

5 - Excellent
4
5 - Excellent 21.05263157894737%
4 - Good
9
4 - Good 47.36842105263158%
3 - Okay
4
3 - Okay 21.05263157894737%
2 - Disappointing
2
2 - Disappointing 10.526315789473685%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

26 Oct 2019

Overall, Santa Cruz Boardwalk area is family friendly and worth a visit, so long as you don't mind crowds. Wharf restaurants are good too. Just avoid the Comfort Inn at Beach/Boardwalk Area.

2/5 - Disappointing

Verified traveller

16 Oct 2019

Expensive and abit tacky seaside resport Not our cup of tea.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

13 Oct 2019

somehow lost its hippie flair in the last three years. lot's of homeless lying around...

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

7 Oct 2019

Great place and wonderful weather. The beaches were amazing and the doggy beach was lovely too

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

21 Sep 2019

Recommend Dolphin diner on the wharf for best breakfast of our trip. Lightest, freshly made hotcakes and fab huevos rancheros.

2/5 - Disappointing

Verified traveller

7 Sep 2019

Santa Cruz is a litre run down and didn’t feel very safe at night

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