- 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.
Focused on preserving the history of the small area of Aptos and its surrounding hills and beaches is the Aptos History Museum. The museum features a curated collection of historical photographs, artifacts and documentation of the areas past.
The Aptos Museum is a historical museum featuring a collection of local artifacts, photographs, and information. The museum offers guided tours, special events, and educational programs for students. The museum also maintains a gift shop.
Offering a variety of movies in a small, intimate setting, Aptos Cinemas features current popular movies as well as art house, foreign, and independent films. The theater sells some unusual concessions, as well, including cupcakes.
La Selva Beach is a community-managed beach area open to the public every day, weather and conditions permitting. The geographic location of the beach causes smaller waves making this lifeguard-staffed beach more popular with swimmers and sunbathers than surfers.