Santa Cruz attractions

Top Choice Amusement Park in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The West Coast’s oldest beachfront amusement park, this 1907 boardwalk has a glorious old-school Americana vibe. The smell of cotton candy mixes with the salt air, which is punctuated by the squeals of kids hanging …
Top Choice Museum in Santa Cruz

Seymour Marine Discovery Center

This educational center is part of UCSC’s Long Marine Laboratory. Interactive natural-science exhibits include tidal touch pools and aquariums, while outside you can gawk at the world’s largest blue-whale skeleton.
University in Santa Cruz

University of California, Santa Cruz

Check it: the school mascot is a banana slug! Established in 1965 in the hills above town, UCSC is known for its creative, liberal bent. The rural campus has fine stands of redwoods and architecturally interesting b…
Landmark in Santa Cruz

Mystery Spot

A kitschy, old-fashioned tourist trap, Santa Cruz's Mystery Spot has scarcely changed since it opened in 1940. On a steeply sloping hillside, compasses seem to point crazily, mysterious forces push you around and bu…
Beach in Santa Cruz

Natural Bridges State Beach

Great for sunsets, this sandy beach fronted by a natural sandstone bridge is a family favorite and tops for wildlife viewing. Scan the bay for whales, seals and otters or, at low tide, comb tide pools for sea stars …
Museum in Santa Cruz

Sanctuary Exploration Center

Operated by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, this educational museum near the beach boardwalk is an interactive multimedia experience that teaches kids and adults about the bay's marine treasures, watersh…
Beach in Santa Cruz

Seacliff State Beach

Seacliff State Beach harbors a ‘cement boat,’ a quixotic freighter built of concrete that floated OK, but ended up here as a coastal fishing pier. During huge storms in February 2017, the boat actually broke apart b…
Museum in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Surfing Museum

A mile southwest of the wharf along the coast, this tiny museum inside an old lighthouse is packed with memorabilia, including vintage redwood surfboards. Fittingly, its location on Lighthouse Point overlooks two po…
Beach in Santa Cruz

Main Beach

The scene in Santa Cruz, with a huge sandy stretch, volleyball courts and swarms of people. Park on E Cliff Dr and walk across the Lost Boys trestle to the beach boardwalk.
Museum in Santa Cruz

Museum of Art & History

In Santa Cruz's downtown, rotating displays by contemporary California artists and exhibits that dive into local history are worth a quick look. Recent renovations include an adjacent courtyard with cafes and restau…