What to Do in Santa Cruz



This city park is a great option for an accessible easy-to-moderate hike on the Westside. Pogonip is adjacent to the UC Santa Cruz campus and includes views of rolling meadows, redwood forest and coastal live oaks. We recommend taking advantage of parking on the Spring Street cul de sac.

Wilder Ranch State Park

Wilder Ranch is a historic dairy farm and Victorian home located on Highway 1 just 15 minutes outside of Santa Cruz. Ohlone Bluff Trail takes you on a scenic walk overlooking the ocean; a quick detour will bring you to Fern Grotto Beach, where sea glass can sometimes be found.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

To hike in the Santa Cruz Sandhills visit the eastern side of this state park, accessible from Graham Hill Road. Observation Deck Trail is a moderate loop through redwood groves and mountain ridges on the sandy remnants of a prehistoric inland sea. Fall Creek Unit on the western side of Henry Cowell Redwoods features a beautiful wooded hike along the creek to lime kilns built in the late 1800s. Fall Creek Trail is shaded and moderate in intensity.

bring the kids

Roaring Camp Railroad

Roaring Camp & Big Trees is a historic narrow gauge railroad depot located in Felton. You can book tickets for a steam train ride through the mountains - a great way to enjoy the forest. One train ride offered takes you to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center

This charming local aquarium is also home to Long Marine Lab, the marine science research center at UC Santa Cruz. The buildings of the Seymour Marine Center are perched on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean - gray whales can sometimes be spotted off the coast here.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The Beach Boardwalk opened in 1865 in its earliest form as a destination for medicinal saltwater bathhouses. It became an amusement park in 1906 and boasts California's oldest wooden rollercoaster, the Giant Dipper. You can visit the wharf next door and listen to sea lions on the platforms below.