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Santa Cruz: 8 Best Places To Visit In Santa Cruz, California

Attractions And Places To Visit In Santa Cruz, California

If you are looking for a fun place to take the kids during your vacation in Santa Cruz, California, you should check out the Surfing Museum. The museum has a huge collection of vintage surfboards, artifacts, and more. You can learn about surfing history, from ancient Hawaiian boards to the most modern and technologically advanced equipment.

You can also check out the town’s five farmers markets, including the Downtown Farmers Market. The Downtown market has a hipster vibe and features live music. If you’re interested in fresh, local produce, make sure to stop by and buy a few vegetables and other fresh produce! It is open daily except Mondays.

Another fun thing to do in Santa Cruz is explore the city’s historic downtown. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to browse. The streets are lined with colorful murals, and you can find places to stop and rest. The architecture of downtown Santa Cruz is also striking, from the historic clock tower to the ornate Victorian buildings on Pacific Avenue.

Places To Visit In Santa Cruz

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s home to some of the state’s oldest redwood trees and more than 80 miles of hiking trails.

If you’re interested in hiking, you can tackle the three-day Skyline to Sea Trail, which spans nearly 18,000 acres of ancient redwoods. Alternatively, if you’d like to take a more active vacation, you can go zip-lining through the treetops.

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Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk #1

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a mile-long sandy beach with plenty of activities and attractions. It is home to an amusement park where you can enjoy a variety of games and rides. This popular attraction is a great way to spend an afternoon. You can also enjoy the scenic views of the Pacific Ocean while walking along the boardwalk.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is located in Santa Cruz, California, about 15 minutes from downtown. It features an oceanfront mile-long boardwalk that’s free to enjoy. There are several rides, games, and attractions, making it an ideal day trip for all ages. There’s also a two-story miniature golf course and a laser tag arena.

While enjoying the beach, you may want to grab a bite to eat. There are plenty of restaurants in the downtown area. One family-owned taqueria, Las Palmas Taco Bar, has been serving tacos and burritos to guests since 1955. Other good options include Marini’s Candies Downtown for saltwater taffy, Oceans, and a variety of burgers.

Places To Visit In Santa Cruz
400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is one of the most popular beachside destinations in California. With over 34 rides and games, the boardwalk is a must-see for families. Highlights include the 1911 Looff Carousel and 1924 Giant Dipper roller coaster.

Other attractions include an arcade and kiddie rides. Most of the boardwalk is open all year long, although it is closed for maintenance most of December. Boardwalk admission is free. Ticket prices vary, but you can also purchase all-day wristbands and save money.

Santa Cruz Wharf in Santa Cruz #2

The Santa Cruz Wharf is a popular tourist attraction in Santa Cruz, California. It is known for fishing, boat tours, nightlife, and gift shops. This historic wharf was constructed in 1914 and is operated by the City of Santa Cruz’s Parks and Recreation Office. It is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening, whether you’re visiting on a boat or by car.

Santa Cruz Wharf was originally a fishing wharf, but it has since morphed into a shopping and dining center. It’s possible to see people fishing from the piers, and you might also spot some sea lions. You can even hear their barking from afar. If you’re lucky enough to visit during the fog, the wharf may even be serene and uncrowded.

Places To Visit In Santa Cruz
21 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States

The Santa Cruz Wharf offers beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. The area is home to several restaurants, wine tasting rooms, candy shops, and gift shops. A great way to spend an afternoon in this unique setting is to take a stroll along the boardwalk. Many tourists have reported seeing sea lions on the wharf, as well as seeing famous surf spot Steamer Lane.

Visitors will find many activities and attractions in Santa Cruz Wharf, including seafood, small shops, and live music. While in the area, you can also walk along the boardwalk and watch the sea lions. Santa Cruz is a great place for families, and the Santa Cruz Wharf is the perfect place to enjoy some fun.

Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz #3

The 65-acre Natural Bridges State Beach is located in Santa Cruz, California. This beach is famous for its natural bridge that spans a section of the beach. It’s also a major migration spot for monarch butterflies. You can see a variety of butterflies at this beautiful California state park.

The beach is also home to a number of sea creatures, including humpback and gray whales. The natural bridges offer a great vantage point for viewing the creatures in the water. Visitors can even get up close to these creatures if they are patient enough to stay at a distance.

The beach is also close to the Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve, a marine protected area, which helps preserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems. If you’re in Santa Cruz, you should visit this area as well.

Places To Visit In Santa Cruz
 2531 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States

Natural Bridges State Beach is located just west of downtown. While the beach itself doesn’t have many other attractions, it’s an ideal spot for a day trip from the city. Natural Bridges State Beach is located in Santa Cruz, CA, and requires a $10 day pass.

For a longer visit, consider buying a California State Park Annual Pass, which grants access to nearby state parks in Santa Cruz County. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is about six miles from the beach, while Wilder Ranch State Park is only two miles away.

Roaring Camp Railroads in Santa Cruz #4

Roaring Camp Railroads is a three-foot-wide narrow-gauge tourist railroad that runs through the California redwood forests and to Bear Mountain. The railroad is operated out of Felton, California. The depot is located in Felton. The route is popular with visitors and is a great way to spend a day.

Roaring Camp Railroads is family-owned and operated and was started by F. Norman Clark. Unfortunately, he passed away while working to build the Santa Cruz, Big Trees & Pacific Railway. He is survived by his wife, Georgiana Clark, who serves as Chairman of the Board and her daughter Melani Clark, who serves as CEO and President.

Both of them grew up in Felton, so they are well acquainted with the railroad. However, the railroad has been forced to close one of its lines. The Santa Cruz Branch line still has active freight service, but only on the first three miles within Watsonville.

5401 Graham Hill Rd, Felton, CA 95018, United States

The line has not carried significant freight since 2010, when the Cemex plant closed in Davenport. While Roaring Camp Railroads is not planning to close the passenger lines, its costs for heavy freight are prohibitive. Roaring Camp Railroads offers two popular excursions for passengers.

The Bear Mountain steam train ride is particularly popular. It takes passengers through a redwood forest on a narrow-gauge railroad, which is three feet wide. The route is three miles long, and the trains date from the late nineteenth century. Passengers can even get off the train and walk through a redwood grove.

Dolphin and Whale Watching Cruises #5

There are several different options for your sunset cruise. Some tour boat agencies provide excursions year-round to see the marine life. These excursions allow you to watch dolphins and whales while enjoying the scenery. Regardless of your schedule, you will have a great time on a dolphin and whale watching cruise.

If you’re looking for the ultimate off-shore experience, a humpback whale cruise may be for you. These magnificent creatures return to the New Jersey and New York coasts in great numbers, and it’s a great way to see them up close. You’ll be fully narrated by a Captain and get to learn about the marine life and local history as you go. This cruise departs from the Belmar Marina.

1718 Brommer St, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, United States

On board the Ol’ Salty II, a 62-foot custom charter fisherman, you’ll be transported to a world of wonderment. You’ll get to see a variety of marine life, including orcas, seals, dolphins, and even humpback whales. Many whale and dolphin watching cruises offer a chance to see the animals up close.

Some of these boats even have walkout platforms on the bow where you can see the creatures. There are also climate-controlled cabins on board and plenty of comfortable seating. During the trip, you’ll be accompanied by an expert marine biologist who will explain the behaviors of each animal.

Santa Cruz Mission in California #6

The Santa Cruz Mission is a historic site in California. The Franciscan order founded it in 1791. It was dedicated by Father Fermn de Lasuén, the second president of the Alta California missions. He envisioned a community where all people could live, learn, and work in harmony.

The original adobe mission’s front wall was destroyed in an earthquake in 1857. The mission’s wooden front was added later. In 1858, a wooden church was built adjacent to the mission. The Gothic Revival-style Holy Cross Church was built over the original sanctuary and cemetery.

In 1993, the cemetery was restored, and native plants were planted around the wall. The Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park is located near downtown Santa Cruz. It is accessible by bus or car. You can learn about the local history by attending free docent-led programs.

120 Emmett St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States

It is open daily, except Sunday. Admission to the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park is free. It is a great way to connect with the area’s culture. Historically, the mission had many crops. It grew wheat, barley, and corn. It also raised cattle and sheep.

It had a large property that stretched south of the Pajaro River. The padres used native workers to farm the land. These workers worked on farms and made cloth and leather. They also worked as blacksmiths. The Ohlone Indians often came to the mission to work and worship.

Downtown Santa Cruz, California #7

There are a number of reasons to visit the city of Santa Cruz in central California. It’s a beach town that boasts several historic attractions and activities. The city’s boardwalk is famous for its vintage rides, including the 1911 Looff carousel and the Giant Dipper roller coaster.

You can also shop for vintage clothing on Pacific Avenue. The city is also home to the Natural Bridges State Beach, a bridge-shaped rock formation. The downtown area has experienced several changes over the years.

There are 126 retail properties in downtown Santa Cruz, which are located along Front, Cedar, Water, and Laurel streets. Of these properties, fifteen are vacant, leaving a 4% vacancy rate. The pandemic has led many business owners to reinvest and find different types of commercial space.

Santa Cruz, CA 95060

In addition, the Amazon effect has changed the way we shop and brought with it the possibility of online shopping. The town also has several great food and drink options. The New Leaf Market is a great place to pick up groceries and other food.

It also has a deli and a hot food section that’s open all day long. There are also four movie theaters in downtown Santa Cruz, two of which are locally owned. Del Mar Theater has a cozy, old-fashioned feel, while the Nickelodeon Theater has a more modern art-house feel.

The Downtown Santa Cruz area is a bustling and diverse community. Pacific Avenue is a great place for a walk – it’s lined with restaurants and shops, and it leads right to Cowell Beach and the Santa Cruz Wharf.

The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz #8

The Mystery Spot is an unusual, 150-foot-diameter circle located in the redwood forests just outside Santa Cruz, California. It has long stumped visitors. Its origins date back to the 1930s, when surveyors noticed a strange, circular spot on a hillside. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have come to explore this place.

A tour through the Mystery Spot is only about 15 minutes long, and the guide is paid to tell people that “what you are about to see is beyond the realm of science” and “you’re just getting started.” The effects are deliberate, created using misdirection and spatial distortion. The idea is to make people’s minds spin and boggle.

465 Mystery Spot Rd, Santa Cruz, CA 95065, USA

To fully experience the mystical experience of Mystery Spot, you must be present and free from cell phones. No one else will be able to call you unless they have to. It’s best to be on time because the Mystery Spot has no cell phone service, so you’ll need to be in the area during the 45-minute tour.

You can also try your luck at playing miniature golf in the woods. Whether you’re a seasoned mystery buff or just looking for a new challenge, there’s a lot of fun to be had here. The Mystery Spot has many strange effects, including falling objects.

Visitors in the cabin must lean from about 30 degrees to 17 degrees to experience the full effect. Around 50 years ago, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not visited the Mystery Spot cabin, and since then, guests have been baffled by the bizarre effects. Some believe the phenomenon is the result of spaceship crashes, while others believe it is more science-based.

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FAQs about Santa Cruz, California

What is Santa Cruz beach known for?

Santa Cruz Main Beach is a popular destination for tourists from all walks of life because of its incredible waves, wildlife and tide pools.

What is special about Santa Cruz California?

Santa Cruz is known for its high-stoke surfing culture and expansive beaches. This laid-back stretch of beach is more than just wetsuits, short boards and long boards.

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