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, punctuated by the squeals of kids hanging upside do…
Top Choice Museum in Santa Cruz

Seymour Marine Discovery Center

By Natural Bridges State Beach, this kids' 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…
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

Best for sunsets, this family favorite has lots of sand, tidepools and monarch butterflies from mid-October through mid-February. It’s at the far end of W Cliff Dr.
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, Lighthouse Point overlooks two popular surf break…
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…
Museum in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

The collections at this pint-sized museum include stuffed animal mounts, Native Californian cultural artifacts and a touch-friendly tide pool that shows off sea critters living by the beach right across the street.
Museum in Santa Cruz

Museum of Art & History

Downtown, rotating displays by contemporary California artists and exhibits that dive into local history are worth a quick look.
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.
Beach in Santa Cruz

Manresa State Beach

Near Watsonville, the La Selva Beach exit off Hwy 1 leads here to this sparsely populated beach.