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About Santa Cruz
With one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere and a relaxed beach lifestyle, Santa Cruz is a perfect spot for a vacation getaway. The area boasts phenomenal opportunities for outdoor recreation, especially water sports like sailing, diving, swimming, and most famously, surfing. With 11 world-class surf breaks, Santa Cruz is one of the premier places to catch a great wave.
Monterey Bay embraces the city and contains a number of marine sanctuaries teeming with wildlife. On land, there are lovely state parks and redwood forests native to the area. Known for a socially liberal outlook and grassroots activism, Santa Cruz is also a center of the organic agriculture movement.
The best time to visit Santa Cruz is April through October, when you're most likely to experience sunny days with mild temperatures.
What to Do in Santa Cruz
There are no lack of opportunities to soak up the relaxed vibe and have a memorable Santa Cruz vacation. Don't miss the classic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, with a carousel and roller coaster that have been in operation since the early 20th century. Other man-made draws include the gravity-defying Mystery Spot and the Surfing Museum.
After you've reached your limit of hiking, rock climbing, skateboarding, and yes, surfing, take a chill break on the Santa Cruz Wharf for fishing and viewing the sea lions – or visit with butterflies taking a their winter vacation (October-January) at Lighthouse Field State Beach. Encounter majestic natural wonders at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, or get up close and personal with elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Marine Conservation Area.
Hungry after all spending all day communing with nature? Stroll downtown along Pacific Avenue for delicious dining at every price point, as well as fun shopping and nightlife. Or you can visit the Santa Cruz Farmer's Market, with a focus on sustainable agriculture and local organic foods.
Santa Cruz Accommodations
While prices for vacation rentals in Santa Cruz can be high, it's worth it to be so close to prime surf and great ocean views. Beach houses, cottages, and even private rooms are available - search Tripping to compare prices, amenities, and reviews.