California Travel Information

Surf City USA

Santa Cruz, the quintessential beach town, offers visitors beautiful beaches, a rich history, celebrated arts, and year-round events for everyone.

Santa Cruz, known as Surf City, is where the Hawaiian royalty first introduced surfing to the mainland. However, the beaches are just the beginning. Beautiful cityscapes, grand redwood forests, and plenty of outdoor activities await visitors. So, rent a cabin in the woods or a beachfront cottage for a weekend or month of exploration and adventure! Santa Cruz is conveniently located 60 miles south of San Francisco International Airport and 30 miles southeast of San Jose International Airport so getting here couldn’t be any easier. The West Coast’s last remaining seaside amusement park, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, is great fun with its calliope music and games.

Just a few blocks from the beach, visitors will find Santa Cruz’s remodeled downtown. Its tree-lined streets are home to unique shops and art galleries, outdoor bistros, exciting restaurants, and sidewalk musicians. Visitors looking for shopping diversity will find it among the distinctive character and personality of Santa Cruz stores.

Treasures, both domestic and imported, can be found anywhere from hand-woven clothing to gorgeous jewelry to artisan ceramics and glass. Intermingled throughout are quaint flower sellers and garden shops to delight the senses. Dining in the area will not be a disappointment as visitors can have homemade muffins for breakfast from any of the eclectic cafes, a bowl of clam chowder for lunch on the wharf, or dishes of modern Californian cuisine for dinner. The dining selection will satisfy every style, taste, and palate-enjoy!

Naturally, most of the adventures to be found in the Santa Cruz area will take place on one of its many beautiful beaches since the area is synonymous with surf, sand, and sun. The beaches are perfect for building sand castles, surfing, beach volleyball, hiking along the coastal bluffs, or taking a sunset stroll by the surf. The 29 miles of sand and sea are comprised of many beaches including Red, White, & Blue Beach, Cowell Beach, Pleasure Point Beach, and Rancho del Oso. Each offers something a little different to both visitors and locals. Although Santa Cruz is known worldwide for its surfing, other kinds of outdoor enthusiasts will be delighted to find that the area appeals to all kinds of activities. Try kayaking, mountain biking, cycling, hiking, golf, sailing, fishing, camping, horseback riding, kiteboarding, windsurfing, and skateboarding to see what else Santa Cruz has to offer. Come visit the quintessential California surf town, Santa Cruz!