Things to Do in Santa Cruz, CA

Our list of the best things to do in Santa Cruz, California, features the top 173 nearby activities — including 66 great attractions with user approval ratings of 90% or more!

Santa Cruz, CA has a variety of great sights and experiences nearby. Top categories include: Outdoors, Active & Adventure, Sights & Landmarks, and Tours.

The results below include the top 31 things to do within the city of Santa Cruz, CA, followed by 7 popular activities in nearby cities, including San Jose and Marina del Rey.

Santa Cruz, CA

Highlights
  • Beaches - 16 Activities
  • General Tours - 11 Activities
  • Hiking - 9 Activities
  • Historic Sites - 8 Activities

Showing 1-10 Of 173

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
1
0.9 Miles

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Beach Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Scenic Walks, General Shopping, Historic Sites, Amusement Parks, Piers & Boardwalks
Located right along the beach, Santa Cruz Beach Broadwalk is a famous sea-side amusement park. Among its list of rides, it also includes the classic 1924 Big Dipper roller coaster. Great deals on rides and refreshments are available. Parking spots are limited.

Rating

80%
551 Votes
Loved it!
Buzzkill!
West Cliff Drive
2
0.6 Miles

West Cliff Drive

Landmarks
Located in Santa Cruz, California, West Cliff Drive is a popular hiking spot that offers beautiful views of the rocky beach and pounding surf below. Walking, biking and in-line skating are all permitted on West Cliff Drive.

Rating

94%
346 Votes
Loved it!
Buzzkill!
Roaring Camp Railroads
3
4.9 Miles

Roaring Camp Railroads

5401 Graham Hill Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95018
Scenic Railroads
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.

Rating

90%
192 Votes
Loved it!
Buzzkill!
Natural Bridges State Park
4
2.2 Miles

Natural Bridges State Park

2531 West Cliff Drive near Swanton Blvd., Santa Cruz, CA
Nature & Wildlife Areas, Hiking, Beaches, Natural Landmarks, National & State Parks
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.

Rating

87%
178 Votes
Loved it!
Buzzkill!
Santa Cruz Wharf
5
0.9 Miles

Santa Cruz Wharf

Beach Street, Santa Cruz, CA
General Shopping, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Piers & Boardwalks
There are lots of shops, restaurants and the Sea Lions at the end of the pier. Rent a boat or go on boat rides from Santa Cruz Wharf

Rating

77%
172 Votes
Loved it!
Buzzkill!
University of California at Santa Cruz
6
1.2 Miles

University of California at Santa Cruz

1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Walking Tours, Educational Sites
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.

Rating

95%
146 Votes
Loved it!
Buzzkill!
Seymour Marine Discovery Center
7
2.2 Miles

Seymour Marine Discovery Center

100 Shaffer Rd, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Science Museums, Aquariums
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.

Rating

95%
112 Votes
Loved it!
Buzzkill!
Mystery Spot
8
3.5 Miles

Mystery Spot

465 Mystery Spot Road off Branciforte Dr., Santa Cruz, CA 95065
Walking Tours, Mysterious Sites
The Santa Cruz Mystery Spot is a unique attraction that seems to defy the laws of physics, including gravity and liquid motion. The Mystery Spot is open throughout the year and is a wonderful destination for all ages.

Rating

76%
479 Votes
Loved it!
Buzzkill!
Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
9
1.6 Miles

Santa Cruz Surfing Museum

West Cliff Drive at Lighthouse Point, Santa Cruz, CA
Specialty Museums
The water is warm at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. Surfers and beach babies enjoy the many exhibits dedicated to board design, safety practices and the physics behind successful surfing.

Rating

92%
76 Votes
Loved it!
Buzzkill!
Santa Cruz Main Beach
10
0.9 Miles

Santa Cruz Main Beach

Along Beach St. west from San Lorenzo River, Santa Cruz, CA
Swimming, Amusement Parks, Piers & Boardwalks, Beaches
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.

Rating

81%
43 Votes
Loved it!
Buzzkill!

Showing 1-10 of 173

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