Santa Cruz Tourism

Santa Cruz is a county seat and the largest city of the Santa Cruz county in California. Located on the northern edge of the Monterey bay, Santa Cruz is a beach resort destination that experiences a Mediterranean climate, meaning the climate is pleasant throughout the year and that the city can be visited at all times of the year. Offering some of the best oceanic views, Santa Cruz has a laidback setting to it with shades of vibrancy. Although highly influenced by the Silicon valley, Santa Cruz offers an ideal escapade for the city dwellers of San Jose and San Francisco. The countercultural system of living is what that inspires this coastal town and keeps it moving.

Adorned by several beaches and parks, Santa Cruz is a treat for surfing enthusiasts. Go surfing on the wave breaks against the backdrop of the beautiful imagery of the Sun kissing the coastline, relax on the shores of the beach while sipping on glasses of cocktails, and relish the taste of exotically cooked seafood.

From beautiful coastlines to redwoods to historic museums, Santa Cruz has plenty of different attractions that you should visit. Some of the must visit places and things to do in Santa Cruz include enjoying in the amusement park of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, taking an interesting trip to the Mystery Spot, relaxing at the Natural Bridges State Beach, and hiking the Wilder Ranch State Park.

Pick up contemporary women's clothes and accessories at the Pacific Trading Co, stock your shopping bag with custom bottles of vinegar and olive oils from the True Olive Connection, treat your sweet tooth to the best of delicacies from Nut Kreations, and shop for holiday souvenirs at Stripe.

The coastal city of Santa Cruz is a popular tourist destination for those visiting California. It is full of beaches on its western end which is contrasted by the redwood forests on its eastern side. Santa Cruz began as a Spanish settlement and today is one of the best beach towns in California. The beaches are the main attraction in Santa Cruz. Depending upon the weather, you can surf, sail, swim, kayak or paddle in the waters here. The Beach Boardwalk is an amusement park that has one of the oldest wooden rollercoasters in history. There is a surfing museum here where you can learn about the history of surfing in California. The Natural Bridges State Beach has plenty of nature trails where you can see the monarch butterfly migrations. Head to the Santa Cruz Wharf for watching sea animals and fishing activities. Cultural events like the Santa Cruz Blues Festival and Salsa By The Sea also take place here. Travel to Santa Cruz for a vacation full of fun and adventure.  

Essential travel information and Santa Cruz tips for your visit

  • Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time (PST). UTC/GMT -8hours.
  • Currency: Currency used in Santa Cruz is US Dollars (USD).
  • Electricity: The standard electrical voltage in Santa Cruz is 120 Volts and 60 Hertz alternating current. The power sockets used are of type A and B. Check your electrical devices for their voltage consumption and use adapters if necessary.
  • Internet: Almost all the hotels in Santa Cruz provide free WI-FI connectivity and there are free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city, especially in the major public spots.
  • Languages: American English is the most widely spoken language in Santa Cruz. Apart from English, Spanish and French are some of the other languages spoken in Santa Cruz.
  • Security: General Emergency: 911, Hospital: (831) 462-7700, Social Service Hotline: 211.
  • Tipping: Tipping is expected in Santa Cruz. It is advisable to tip around 15-20% of the pre-tax bill.
  • Tourist Traps: Avoid traveling in the subways during the nights and talking to strangers in excess.
  • Customs: Be on time, because the Americans are very serious about punctuality. And be wary of your surroundings. Cleanliness and hygiene are much expected.
  • Be sure to look after your belongings. Especially, when you are walking alone in the nights.

The best tours and activities in the city, guided by experts to give you a local insight to the best of Santa Cruz

  • Save 7% Roaring Camp Steam Train Through Santa Cruz Redwoods
    Roaring Camp Steam Train Through Santa Cruz Redwoods47 Reviews

    Duration: 1 Hrs 15 Mins

    Explore the Santa Cruz Mountains on a historic train ride through a redwood forest from Roaring Camp in Felton, California. A...

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  • Save 3% Beginner Surf Lesson in Santa Cruz
    Beginner Surf Lesson in Santa Cruz1 Reviews

    Duration: 3 Hrs

    Learn to surf in Santa cruz during a 3-hourclinic designed with the beginner in mind. Novices are welcome, as well asanyonewh...

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  • Save 3% Introduction to Wilderness Survival Clinic - Santa Cruz
    Introduction to Wilderness Survival Clinic - Santa Cruz1 Reviews

    Duration: 5 Hrs

    Learn indigenous skills of survival in the woods, including how to build a shelter, gather water, make a fire, and forage edi...

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  • Save 3% Mountain Biking Clinic
    Mountain Biking ClinicNew on TripHobo

    Duration: 4 Hrs

    This course is geared towards people who want to learn the basics on their mountain bikes. The course consists of on- and off...

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  • Know the pollution level of Santa Cruz before you plan your visit.

    • Air Pollution 8.33 (Very Low)
    • Water Pollution 29.17 (Low)
    • Noise and Light Pollution 29.17 (Low)
    • Unattended dirt and garbage 25 (Low)
    • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 16.67 (Very Low)
    • Dissatisfaction with Garbage Disposal 16.67 (Very Low)
    • Dissatisfaction to Spend Time in the City 11.11 (Very Low)
    • Dissatisfaction with Green zones and parks 12.5 (Very Low)
  • How safe is Santa Cruz for tourists? Understand risks and safety concerns that can hamper your travel experience in Santa Cruz.

    • Burglary and Theft 41.67 (Moderate)
    • Mugging and Robbery 23.33 (Low)
    • Assault and Armed Robbery 35 (Low)
    • Corruption and Bribery 18.33 (Very Low)
    • Car Stealing 23.33 (Low)
    • Robbery of Car belongings 58.33 (Moderate)
    • Attacks 30 (Low)
    • Drug offense 60 (High)
    • Safety walking alone during daylight 86.67 (Very High)
    • Safety walking alone during night 38.33 (Low)
    • Insulting and offensive behaviour 58.33 (Moderate)
    • Hate crime due to Racism, Religion, ethnic origin 17.86 (Very Low)
    • Property crimes and Vandalism 60 (High)
    • Safety Index 58.13 (Moderate)
    • Climate Index 95.44 (Very High)
    • Pollution Index 17.62 (Very Low)
    • Traffic Commute Time Index 37.46 (Moderate)
    • Health Care Index 85.93 (Very High)
    • Property Price to Income Ratio 4.89 (Very Low)
    • Indices such as Quality of life, Climate & Healthcare index are good to be high whereas others such as Property price, Traffic & Cost of living Index are good to be low.

  • Here's how much it will cost to shop in Santa Cruz

    • Local calling per minute on Prepaid mobile 0.1 USD
    • International Movie per seat 12 USD
    • Summer clothing in a chain store 35 USD
    • Pair of Basic Nike Shoes 71.61 USD
    • Pair of Basic Levis Jeans 44.62 USD

*Stats and figures mentioned are crowd-sourced ‚Äčand subjected to change without notice.

* Some of the data on this page is powered by Numbeo