About Main Beach and Cowell Beach:
Main Beach and Cowell Beach are located like bookends on either side of the Santa Cruz Municipal Pier, near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. They're crowded in summer, but a nice place to play and take a break from running around.
If it makes any difference to you, this is how to tell which is which. If you're facing the pier and the ocean, Cowell Beach is on the right and Main Beach on the left.
Main Beach Fees:
Entrance Fee: None
Parking Fee: There's a charge for parking on the pier and on most of the nearby streets.
Creature Comforts at Main Beach:
- Restrooms are located above both beaches
- There's an outdoor shower just above Main Beach
- Pets are not allowed
- There's plenty of food available, on the pier and along the main street nearby
- Alcohol and glass bottles are not allowed on the beaches and this is not the place to build a beach bonfire. You can use a gas or charcoal grill as long as it isn't unsafe or too big - and be prepared to take the coals to the dumping station at 3rd Street and the Beach Boardwalk, or risk a citation.
- In the summer, the Boardwalk often sponsors free concerts on Main beach
Main Beach Activities:
- Surfing (Cowells is reputed to be one of the best places to learn how to surf)
- Volleyball nets on Main Beach
- Fishing from the pier
- Kayak and boat rental available on the pier
- Lifeguard service is provided Spring Break, Spring weekends, daily in Summer months and Fall weekends, from Cowell Beach to the San Lorenzo River
Lodging Near Main Beach:
Highs and Lows at Main Beach:
- These beaches are really busy in summer.
Santa Cruz beaches can be foggy in early summer, sometimes all day long.