- The list below includes 175 free or cheap things to do in or near Santa Cruz, California, including 101 different types of inexpensive activities like Beaches, Movie Theaters, Fishing and Walking Trails.
- From West Cliff Drive to Wilder Ranch State Park, there are a variety of budget-friendly attractions in Santa Cruz and in nearby cities within 25 miles like Cupertino, Capitola, Aptos and Saratoga.
New Belgium Brewing Tour de Fat San Jose MoreLess Info
The Fat Tire Tour de Fat has world class bands, performance, and cirque artists, and craft beer all supporting your local non-profits
One of the first self-sustained dairies of its time, Wilder Ranch, now a state park, is a popular venue for many outdoor activities and offers beautiful views of the ocean. It has a spacious picnic area and some of the old buildings with their original furnishings, are still intact.
93% 361 votes
1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95064 MoreLess Info
The University of California at Santa Cruz is a major research institution with ten component colleges. It is most respected for its programs in medicine, biology, biological engineering and chemistry.
87% 2454 votes
2531 West Cliff Drive near Swanton Blvd., Santa Cruz, CA MoreLess Info
True to its name, Natural Bridges State Park contains natural rock bridges created by eons of water and wind erosion. The modern park is managed by the state and is a wonderful destination for adults and families.
100% 27 votes
Hwy. 1, six miles north of Davenport, Santa Cruz, CA MoreLess Info
Renowned as a mecca for windsurfing and kiteboarding, Waddell State Beach, is located across from the entrance to Redwood State Park. Pristine sands are surrounded by lushly covered mountains, bring your family and spend a day in the sun.
Santa Cruz Harbor Beach is situated adjacent to the harbor operations and provides an ideal setting for visitors to spread out a towel, and enjoy the fresh ocean breezes. The beach is conveniently located near many shops and eateries.
Twin Lakes State Beach is a public beach that provides a number of outdoor amenities for its guests. In addition to swimming in the ocean, visitors also commonly enjoy having picnics in the sand or exploring the nearby nature trails.
All kinds of wildlife are found at Lighthouse Field State Beach including the black swift, monarch butterflies and sea lions. The beach is popular with dog owners and surfers and is even home to a surfing museum.