Situated at the northern end of the Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz County boasts 29 miles of coastline, acres of redwoods, myriad trails for avid hikers and cyclists, and kid-approved activities the whole family will love.
Many visitors first hit the beaches of Santa Cruz County, as the region is known for its pleasant climate, coastal scenery, and world-class surf. Capitola Beach is a smaller, more intimate option for beachgoers simply looking to lounge on the sand, while Lighthouse Field State Beach and Natural Bridges State Beach both offer options for those seeking to not only soak up the sun, but also to surf the waves, see wildlife and ocean life, and explore waterfront trails.
The iconic and beloved Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is another fun option for visitors who want to experience relaxation along with some thrills. With roller coasters towering above a mile-long stretch of sand, the amusement park (open only on weekends) is admission free and offers a variety of games and rides for all ages.
Family entertainment can also be found at Santa Cruz’s The Mystery Spot, where visitors can experience gravity-defying acts. Little ones will also have a blast aboard trains weaving through redwood trees at Felton’s Roaring Camp; riders can travel up to the Bear Mountain Summit on steam trains, or head down to Santa Cruz Beach in Pullman cars.
Nature lovers, meanwhile, should look no further than Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, which is also in Felton. Home to a 40-acre grove of ancient redwoods (the oldest of which is 277-feet high, 16-feet wide, and approximately 1,500 years old!), this 4,650-plus acre park provides visitors with opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding, swimming, and camping.
Not to be overlooked, the small town of Watsonville also features numerous recreational activities such as hiking, boating, birdwatching, and beach access. And each August, the agricultural hub hosts the Watsonville Strawberry Festival, where visitors and natives alike can enjoy live entertainment, play games, make crafts, and of course, savor all things strawberry.
Between the beach, the redwoods, and the scenic towns offering a variety of shops and restaurants, Santa Cruz County provides something for everyone.