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Things To Do In Santa Cruz This Weekend

Things To Do In Santa Cruz This Weekend

Santa Cruz is filled with great activities to do during the weekend. Check out this guide to some of the best things to do!


5 min read

October 30, 2023

Amy Jeske is a local Santa Cruz realtor that knows the area like the back of her hand. Making the move to a new town can be an intimidating experience, Jeske makes things easy with a wealth of experience and ensures every relocation is as smooth as can be. Amy Jeske is a member of the Recommended Business Program.

Santa Cruz, perched elegantly on California's magnificent coastline, is a jewel that captures the hearts of many. A harmonious blend of city vibes and nature's allure, it offers experiences that range from the tranquility of sandy beaches to the bustling ambiance of urban life. If you find yourself contemplating where to create memories in Santa Cruz this weekend, our guide is tailored just for you.

Chardonnay Sailing Charters

Embark on a journey over the waters of Monterey Bay aboard the Chardonnay Sailing Charters. This is an intimate communion with the sea. Offering both private and public sailing charters, Chardonnay Sailing Charters is a great way to experience Santa Cruz from a unique perspective. The charter also offers special featured tours such as Sunset Sail or Pizza Cruise. The vast expanse of the ocean, interspersed with the distant call of seabirds and the warm embrace of the sun, promises to transport you to a realm of serenity.

Sailing in Monterey Bay is a great chance to see the coast from a unique perspective.

Hike the Forest of Nisene Marks in Aptos

When the call of nature beckons, there's no place in Santa Cruz quite like the Forest of Nisene Marks. This sprawling forest is filled with natural beauty that makes Santa Cruz a perfect place to visit for a weekend trip. There are 30 miles of trails to explore on foot or bike. This gorgeous forest also represents the revitalization and continued resilience of the forest after a period of heavy logging. Whether you’re an avid hiker or someone seeking a casual walk, the forest offers many trails that cater to all skill levels.

The Forest of Nisene Marks is one of the many beautiful areas where you can walk among the trees.

Surfing at Surf School Santa Cruz

The coastline of Santa Cruz is renowned for its magnificent waves, making it a surfer's paradise. But if you've never tried surfing before, fret not! The Surf School Santa Cruz welcomes enthusiasts of all levels. Under the guidance of seasoned instructors, feel the thrill of the waves beneath your board. They offer two-person private lessons for $300 and various packages including private group surf lessons for $125. The lessons are 2 hours long. The salty spray of the sea, the exhilarating rush of catching a wave, and the camaraderie of fellow surfers promise an experience that's both invigorating and heartwarming.

Learning how to surf in Santa Cruz is an effective way to get into the official sport of California.

E-Bike Exploration

In an era championing sustainable living, Santa Cruz City's introduction of 400 E-Bikes is a nod to eco-friendly exploration. These modes of transport have been popping up in cities across California and are now a popular option to get around Santa Cruz. These are a great option to explore the city without being forced to drive everywhere. This will allow you to take in more of the city and discover some of the under-the-radar gems that you might not notice when driving down the street. Plus you get to contribute to a sustainable future and lessen your carbon footprint!

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Bike Along West Cliff Drive

For those looking for a fun and active experience, look no further than embarking on an exhilarating bike ride along West Cliff Drive. This scenic stretch is flanked by stunning ocean views and beautifully constructed homes. You can even punctuate the trip with a visit to the Marine Museum. Each turn offers a new vista and the fresh ocean breeze ensures the ride is comfortable throughout the year. This is a fantastic weekend activity to take on.

Biking is a fantastic way to explore an area in a more intimate fashion than by car.

Lunch on the Santa Cruz Wharf

As midday approaches and the California sun shines upon Santa Cruz, the lunch options in the area are fantastic. The Santa Cruz Wharf is a go-to spot to find diverse restaurants and experiences. From the classic standout Dolphin Restaurant to the modern grill stylings of Firefish Grill, there’s no shortage of options for food while exploring the Santa Cruz Wharf. A standout among all the restaurants is the seafood. Look to eat some delicious chowder, snapper, or crab that’s delicious and fresh.

We all know about how excellent the Santa Cruz Wharf is. It's a must-visit spot.

Hike Among the Redwoods at Henry Cowell State Park

The allure of Henry Cowell State Park lies in its majestic redwoods. These ancient giants, some of which have watched over the land for over a thousand years, inspire awe and reverence. Henry Cowell State Park is one of California’s great hiking locations with over 30 trails for hiking, walking, or biking. They cater to people of all skill levels. There are shorter trails to explore like the Redwood Grove Loop Trail, which is a little under a mile and allows you to focus on the stunning redwood trees that surround you. On the other hand, those looking for a challenge can tackle trails like the Henry Cowell Observation Deck Loop, a more hefty five-mile hike. Regardless, you’ll have tons of fun hiking in Henry Cowell State Park.

The towering, majestic redwood trees are a notable part of California's ecosystem.

Roaring Camp Railroad in Felton

For a dose of nostalgia coupled with natural splendor, the Roaring Camp Railroad is your ticket. The train winds its way through dense redwood groves, over trestles, and into the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains. There are two main excursions that visitors can go on. The Redwood Forest Steam Train is a 75-minute ride that winds through the beautiful redwoods to the summit of Bear Mountain. The other trip is the Santa Cruz Beach Train, an hour-long trip each way that takes visitors through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park to the San Lorenzo River Gorge, before arriving at the historic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The holiday season is particularly enticing with plenty of themed events.

Roaring Camp Railroad is an experience that takes you through the best sights Santa Cruz has to offer.

Zipline at Mount Hermon Adventures

If it's adrenaline you seek, Mount Hermon Adventures promises a thrilling escapade. Suspended high above the forest floor, the ziplines here offer a bird's-eye view of the lush canopy below. There are a pair of two-hour experiences for those looking to soar through the skies. The first is Sequoia Aerial Adventures which takes those through over 40 elements, including two ziplines, that increase in difficulty. Redwood Canopy Tour is the second experience and boasts six ziplines and two suspension bridges, giving you a great look at the stunning canopy.

Ziplining is an exciting activity that will help your weekend be a memorable trove full of stories for years to come.

Paddle Board in Capitola

The serene town of Capitola, with its pastel-colored homes and tranquil waters, offers the perfect setting for paddleboarding. As you stand atop your board, the world seems to slow down. The gentle ripple of the waters, the distant call of seabirds, and the silhouette of the Santa Cruz Mountains on the horizon create a tapestry of moments worth cherishing. Paddleboarding is a more approachable way to explore the waters without the difficulty or fast pace of surfing.

Paddle boarding is a low-intensity, but still incredibly fun activity to try in Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz, with its melding of natural beauty and vibrant culture, serves as a haven for weekend escapades. From the rhythmic waves ready for surfers to the whispering redwoods that beckon the wanderer, every corner of this coastal city tells a tale of adventure and relaxation. Whether you're a resident seeking a weekend of rejuvenation or a traveler in pursuit of new experiences, Santa Cruz offers an eclectic mix of activities that promise to etch memories that last a lifetime.

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