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The Best Beaches Near Santa Cruz, California

The Best Beaches Near Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz is one of the most well-known beach towns in California. Explore the many options for fun in the sun near this bustling town. Team


1 min read

March 31, 2023

Santa Cruz, California is home to some of the most beautiful and scenic beaches in the world. Whether you are a local resident or a visitor, these beaches are the perfect spot to unwind, relax and soak up the sun. In this article, we will explore the best beaches near Santa Cruz, their addresses, approximate distances, unique highlights, accessibility, and parking. So, pack your beach gear and get ready to explore the best beaches near Santa Cruz.

Main Beach

Address: 399 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Distance: 1.2 miles 

Main Beach is the closest beach to downtown Santa Cruz and is a popular spot among tourists and locals. It offers spectacular views of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the beautiful Monterey Bay. With a long stretch of sand, it is perfect for beach volleyball, sunbathing, and swimming. You can also enjoy a stroll on the Santa Cruz Wharf, located just a short walk away. Parking can be a bit of a challenge, so arrive early or consider taking public transportation.

Natural Bridges State Beach

Address: 2531 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Distance: 3.3 miles 

Natural Bridges State Beach is known for its unique natural bridge rock formation, which serves as a home to many migrating monarch butterflies during the winter months. This beach also offers tide pools, a visitor center, and picnic areas. It is a great spot for surfing and swimming, but be aware of the strong currents. The parking lot can fill up quickly, so plan accordingly.

Seacliff State Beach

Address: State Park Dr, Aptos, CA 95003

Distance: 11.4 miles 

Seacliff State Beach is located in the charming town of Aptos and is a popular spot for fishing, swimming, and sunbathing. The beach also has a pier that is perfect for strolling and fishing. The iconic SS Palo Alto, a cement ship, is also located at Seacliff State Beach. It has a rich history and was built during World War I. Today, it serves as an artificial reef and attracts a variety of marine life. There is a large parking lot available, but it can fill up quickly on busy days.

Sunset State Beach

Address: 201 Sunset Beach Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076

Distance: 16.9 miles

Sunset State Beach is known for its breathtaking views of the sunset and is a popular spot for camping and RVing. This beach also offers picnic areas, hiking trails, and a fishing area. The beach is long and wide, making it perfect for long walks or playing beach volleyball. There is a large parking lot available, but it can fill up quickly on weekends and holidays.

From the bustling Main Beach to the serene Sunset State Beach, the Santa Cruz coastline offers a variety of beaches to explore. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day soaking up the sun or an adventure-packed day of surfing and hiking, there is a beach for everyone. So, grab your beach gear and explore the best beaches near Santa Cruz.

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