Santa Cruz Visitor's Guide
Welcome to the City of Santa Cruz. With a hippy surf culture and a historic amusement park on the water, Santa Cruz is a destination for everyone. It's part seaside resort, part college town with a unique blending of cultures and tastes. Nestled on the northern end of Monterey Bay, the curve of the coastline and the Santa Cruz Mountains keep the town in a temperate climate year round. Hotels in Santa Cruz range from vacation rentals to beachfront hotels. Winters are mild and summers offer relief from the excessive inland heat making Santa Cruz a year round destination favorite. Located just 30 miles west of Silicon Valley, and 75 miles southwest of San Francisco, it's an easy Bay Area stop off. Monterey Bay sweeps from Santa Cruz on the northern end to the town of Monterey on the south. This large bay offers water enthusiast electrifying whale watching, cruising and other adventures. Whether you want to wine and dine, surf and mountain bike, or ride the Giant Dipper, Santa Cruz has something to offer.
Random Santa Cruz Trivia
The mission at Santa Cruz was the 12th mission in California. It was established in 1791, 22 years after Santa Cruz was discovered. There was also a settlement established across the river from the mission. The settlement was named Villa de Branciforte. The mission and the settlement were eventually merged into 1 community.
- Santa Cruz is a magnet for active sports. Surfing is the lifeblood of locals both young and old and the town has plenty of surf shops to prove it. Skateboarding also holds rank not only as an activity, but as a means of transport. Kayaking, surf kayaking and paddle boarding fill out the water sports. In the hills you'll find mountain biking and hiking through ancient Coastal Redwoods. As if that's not enough, the main beach in Santa Cruz has extensive volleyball courts to support tournaments.
- There are several attractions you'll want to visit in Santa Cruz, and additional options in the nearby area. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Wharf are a popular with families and visitors of all types. Nearby wineries will entertain wine tasters. Nature lovers will enjoy the monarch butterfly migration, California sea lions, and a plethora of birds. As a creative center there are museums and shops displaying and selling hand crafted good.
- Santa Cruz restaurants offer diversity in a casual atmosphere for the foodie. Ethnic choices are plentiful and organic restaurants are in abundance. There are several wineries in the area for tasting and touring. Wine classes and wine and vinyard tours are in abundance. For beer lovers there is a brewery, and several establishments that serve beers from around the world.
- Shopping is casual in Santa Cruz with a downtown strip and several other quaint blocks with unique goods. For tourist loot check the wharf and the beach boardwalk. For clothing and home goods the downtown shops will delight.