Collected by Andi Fisher, AFAR Local Expert
I sleepy surfer town in Northern California, Santa Cruz has great food, wine in the region and a famous boardwalk - lots to discover and explore!
101 N Big Trees Park Rd, Felton, CA 95018, USA
The Fall Creek area of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is over 2,300 acres. Limestone kilns once dominated this area of the park and remnants of the kilns are still visible along the South Fork trail. The park's groves of first and second growth...
State Park Dr, Aptos, CA 95003, USA
Near Santa Cruz in the small town of Aptos, you'll find the beautiful Seacliff State Beach. Seacliff's famous fishing pier extends out to a concrete tanker, the SS Palo Alto. Built during WWI the Palo Alto spent a few years after the war as a...
55 Peckham Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076, USA
Gizdich Ranch located off the Hecker Pass Hwy (Hwy 152) is a must stop if you're headed to the Santa Cruz – Gilroy area. The Barn, open from 9–5 every day, sells pies made from freshly picked fruit. They're know for their apple pies because they...
317 Cedar St # A, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
David Wright introduced me to pu-erh tea at his happy, mellow, stimulant-infused palace of tea culture in Santa Cruz. I went to the city with this stop in mind, and am so glad we made it a priority. David let me taste teas, and even made "tea" (a...
Pleasure Point, Opal Cliffs, CA 95062, USA
East Cliff Drive in the Pleasure Point neighborhood of Santa Cruz overlooks the expansive Pacific Ocean and some of the best surfing in the country. Jack O’Neill lives here, along with many neighbors who live to surf. This is a side of Santa Cruz...
816 41st Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, USA
Perfect latté every time! On the East Side of Santa Cruz near Pleasure Point you'll find Verve Coffee. Very cool, laid back surfer vibe where locals hang out. A local turned me onto this place and every time I visit Santa Cruz I head straight to...
400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
The food at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk isn't appetizing or remotely healthy, so great thing The Picnic Basket is just a five minute walk west. At The Picnic Basket you can get delicious sandwiches (such as this a roasted beet, goat cheese and...
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is an easy drive from Santa Cruz’s downtown and beaches. The accessible Redwood Grove Loop Trail brings you quickly into the world of the big trees and bright yellow banana slugs. If you have more time, you can...
700 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
I spent Sunday at the O’Neill Coldwater Classic surfing competition, happening this week at Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz’s most famous surf spot. I walked through the tan, mostly blonde, athletic, surf casual crowd I heard Australian accents and...
175 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
The Dream Inn has towered over Cowell’s Beach, the Santa Cruz Wharf, and the Boardwalk since 1954. The hotel is retro swanky and recently renovated into a boutique hotel by new owners, joie de vivre. Guests can stroll down West Cliff Drive (a...
125 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
The Picnic Basket, across the street from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, brings local, seasonal, farm fresh ingredients to arguably the most unhealthy area of Santa Cruz. The Boardwalk amusement park lures many visitors to Santa Cruz each year....
400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
Old school pinball, beer, air hockey and museum: the perfect combination of amusements come together on the mezzanine overlooking Neptune’s Kingdom at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Neptune’s Kingdom is a pirate-themed miniature golf course in...
4415, 1124 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
Built in 1936 and dripping with colorful deco style inside and out, the Del Mar Theatre, on Santa Cruz’s main drag, Pacific Avenue is the best place in town to see films. The beloved movie house was renovated in 2002, when programming switched...
861 41st Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, USA
The ocean is the heart of the Pleasure Point neighborhood in Santa Cruz, but surfers and sun worshippers need to shop and eat to. The shops, cafés and restaurants on 41st Avenue, near Portola Drive, two blocks from the ocean, cater to the unique...
418 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
This beautiful Victorian mansion was a dentists office at the turn of the 20th century, but is now a popular coffee shop with an impressive amount of seating inside an out. The front faces west making it a perfect spot for a Codee in the afternoon...
71 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
December in Santa Cruz was marked by a visit to the wharf - a $3 entrance fee. Seals resting or loudly poking around,pelicans posing patiently for the amazed tourists,fishermen using live shells as bait,animated background provided by bold...
913 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
There’s nothing like a cold creamy treat on a warm day, and one ice cream shop in the cozy California beach town of Santa Cruz is doing it so, so right. Penny Ice Creamery isn’t your average ice cream joint; you won’t find Ben & Jerry’s-style...
5497 Hwy 9, Felton, CA 95018, USA
There's plenty of good hiking and wine tasting in the mountains around Santa Cruz, California. Driving around, you'll probably see this little museum and it's worth a look-see, if only to learn a little about the obsession with Bigfoot. The owner,...
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