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Santa Cruz Activities

Top Things to Do in Santa Cruz
Read about the top things to do and places to see in Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz Beaches
The best beaches around Santa Cruz for volleyball, surfing, romantic walks, people watching, playing with the kids or anything else.

Ano Nuevo State Reserve
Watch elephant seals during breeding season at this popular state park. Near Santa Cruz.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
An encounter with the redwoods that many prefer to Muir Woods. One of California's best. Near Santa Cruz.

Capitola is California's oldest seaside resort town and the home of several annual festivals, including the Begonia Festival, Wine and Art Festival and an annual Dog Parade and Festival.

Chardonnay II
A 70-foot sailing yacht, the Chardonnay runs a number of bay cruises, including brewmaster cruises, the Wednesday night sailboat races, Sunday brunch and others.

Downtown Santa Cruz
You'll find lots of interesting boutiques and restaurants, two movie theaters downtown. The first Friday of every month is Art Walk.

Natural Bridges State Beach
Winter home to monarch butterflies. Near Santa Cruz.

Mystery Spot
Probably thanks more to optical illusion than any real mystery, this classic tourist spot has been amazing visitors for decades.

Pigeon Point Light Station
Located 50 miles south of San Francisco, this lighthouse is one of the tallest in the United States. Near Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz Area Wineries
A collection of wineries in Santa Cruz and the nearby mountains.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a thriving American seaside amusement parks, one of only about two dozen still in operation and the largest on the West Coast.

Santa Cruz Farmers Market
Held downtown on Wednesday afternoons year round, this farmers market features a wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables, along with fresh-baked artisan breads, cheeses and other food products.

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Their permanent exhibits feature local geology and animals, and they have a nice collection of Ohlone Indian artifacts.

Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
Overlooking the surf of internationally famous Steamer Lane, the museum displays include surf boards of all types, early wetsuits and surfing photographs from the 1930s through today.

Santa Cruz Wharf
It's lined with shops and restaurants. You can catch a bay cruise from here and get good views of town.

Seymore Marine Discovery Center
Affiliated with the university, the marine center has an aquarium, a real blue whale skeleton (one of only four on display in the country) and rotating exhibits that focus on marine science.

UCSC Arboretum
Their collection includes California native plants along with those from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Santa Cruz County Nude Beaches
Laid-back Santa Cruz has lots of naturist beaches to choose from.

Surfing Lessons
If you've always wanted to learn to surf, Club Ed is the perfect learning vacation.

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