- 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.
Foreverland: A Tribute to Michael Jackson San Jose MoreLess Info
A thrilling 14-piece pop tribute band plays the hits of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5
73% 168 votes
Along Beach St. west from San Lorenzo River, Santa Cruz, CA MoreLess Info
Santa Cruz Main Beach is a popular tourist destination. It is a clean and inviting beach with beautiful views of the ocean and marine life. There are also volleyball courts on the beach with an amusement park and many local restaurants/bars nearby.
Located inside the UCSC campus, the Arboretum is a great place to explore a variety of plants and trees of many different countries. Bird watching is a popular activity here with a good population of hummingbirds and other resident and visiting species.
In 1986, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum opened inside the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse. It is one of the oldest museums in the world dedicated to surfing, and visitors can see how surfboards progressed from huge paddleboards to modern surfboards, along with surf club patches, surf movie posters, and wetsuits,
93% 244 votes
500 7th Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062 MoreLess Info
Family owned and operated, Stagnaro Sport Fishing Charters & Whale Watching Cruises have been serving the area of Santa Cruz for over a century. Scenic bay cruises, fishing trips, whale watching, and private parties are available within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Nickelodeon Theatre shows a wide variety of independent and foreign films and some big-budget Hollywood movies, and they also run midnight showings of classics. Their concessions include organic and GMO-free popcorn and many locally crafted desserts.
Venture Quest Day Kayaking offers kayak rentals, sales, classes as well as kayak tours through the Monterey Bay Sanctuary. For those interested in this type of activity they also organize team buildings.
Adults and children with an interest in marine ecosystems must not miss the opportunity to visit the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. It is an active research institution and a public outreach facility dedicated to helping the community understand the importance of preserving marine environments.
Based in Santa Cruz, California, Roaring Camp Railroads offers a variety of railroad tours, exhibits and activities. It is famous for its magnificent Chanukah and Christmas displays. Tours during holiday season sell out quickly, and advance reservations are highly recommended.