When you need some relaxing time away in a gorgeous locale, Santa Cruz has it all. Its beaches are renowned, with 29 miles of surf, sand and fun, it’s hard to beat this Pacific Coast town. Wind down in the midst of so much natural beauty, with plenty of local attractions, nightlife and great restaurants.

Stay Active in Santa Cruz

It’s no coincidence that this ocean town attracts surfers from all around the world. After all, the nickname for Santa Cruz is “Surf City.” This is the place where mainland surfing in the United States first began back in 1885.

If you want an amazing workout while you learn a great new sport, take surfing lessons at:

  • Cowell Beach
  • Four Mile Beach
  • Pleasure Point

Cowell’s is known for its gentle, long waves. Four Mile Beach is protected from the wind by bluffs and cliffs, making it a great spot for beginning surfers. Pleasure Point Park is a great beach for taking lessons or just watching world-class surfers at play.

Don’t forget to check out the walking and biking paths on West Cliff Drive or walk along the wharf and enjoy the wildlife. Santa Cruz is a nature lovers dream.

Beautiful, Relaxing Beaches

If you just want to lie in the sun with a cool drink or stroll along the water’s edge, there are plenty of beaches in Santa Cruz to help you renew and refresh yourself. One of the most popular is Natural Bridges State Beach, where the views are stunning, there are lovely walking trails, and monarch butterflies have a migrating spot here.

Lighthouse Field State Beach is near the boardwalk and lighthouse, so there’s plenty to do nearby if the inclination strikes.

Seabright Beach is roomy, and there are fire pits for making bonfires in the evening.

If you’d like to eat right on the beach, try Twin Lakes State Beach, across the harbor from Seabright. There are beach activities here, including volleyball courts, fire pits and standup paddle boards.

Capitola Beach is close to restaurants and shops. The waters are calm at this very popular beach for tourists and locals and is perfect for vacationing families.


You can stay at some great hotels that are within walking distance to beaches in Santa Cruz. The Hyatt Place Santa Cruz is just a 23-minute stroll to either Seabright State Beach or Cowell Beach. If you have a car, you’ll be at these and other prime beaches within 5 or 10 minutes.

The Dream Inn is very close to the Santa Cruz Wharf and a few minutes’ walk to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, with its thrilling rides, mini golf and arcade games.

Natural Bridges and Lighthouse Field State Beaches are fairly close to Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, which is nearby Route 1. This hotel is also convenient to the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Fit and Fun

Take advantage of your hotel’s amenities to keep on top of your fitness routine while vacationing. Work off those delicious meals at the heated outdoor pool or visit the gym that’s open around the clock.

When you want to get out of the hotel and hop on a mountain bike, there are many options to choose from. From mellow hills to technical single tracks through the redwoods, mountain bike enthusiasts will get to enjoy a little bit of everything. You can also enjoy the ocean by going out on a sailboat and do some whale watching.