Santa Cruz Travel Guide

Browse 24 travel reviews, 8 travel blogs and 878 travel photos from real travelers to Santa Cruz.

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Santa Cruz Overview

Santa Cruz is located at the northern end of the Monterey Bay on the coast of California. It's about 70 miles south of San Francisco, but San Jose and the Silicon Valley are only about 35 miles away over the hills on the infamous highway 17 (see separate review). The population of Santa Cruz is only about 50000, so it is a pretty small town.

Home of Univ. of California Santa Cruz, so it's a college town. It has beautiful beaches, world-class surfing (the city's nickname is Surf City), the historic Beach Boardwalk with its classic rides and roller coasters are a favorite for kids and family in the summer, the pier with its fish market and restaurants and shops is a fun place to visit. Nearby hills we have tall redwood trees, and a train can take you from the hills to the beach! An interesting point to note, hidden in the hills is a tourist attraction that is named the Mystery Spot because it is breaks the laws of physics. This surely deserves a visit anytime and is a family fun orientated destination.

A pedestrian-friendly downtown area which was destroyed by the 1989 earthquake and rebuilt. Monarch butterflies winter in the eucalyptus trees by the Natural Bridges state park.

Mild climate, a bit cool from the ocean mist at times. Victorian mansions in old Santa Cruz for architecture lovers. For you traveling and nature photographers, did you know Frans Lanting calls Santa Cruz home?

Santa Cruz is the quintessential beach town. It was here that Hawaiian royalty first introduced surfing to the mainland. Locals and visitors alike have been riding the waves ever since. Not far from the surf break the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the West Coast's last remaining seaside amusement park.

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San Jose is located about an hour southeast of San Francisco, and about 5-6 hours north of Los Angeles. It is at the southern mouth of the San Francisco Bay. Unless you take the coastal route…
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