Santa Cruz is a small coastal city but is the largest city and county seat of the Santa Cruz County in the U.S. State of California. The city boasts of an impressive coastline, redwood forests, a moderate climate, and vibrant ambience. Santa Cruz has also established itself as a beach resort community with a variety of beaches that range from good swimming conditions to surfers' paradise.
What to see & do
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk - The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is Santa Cruz's oceanfront amusement park, the only original boardwalk amusement park on the West Coast that is still operating. The boardwalk is open all year round, and the entrance is fee. There is a video arcade, indoor miniature golf course, a laser tag arena, a banquet room and conference centre, several old-fashioned carnival games and snack booths, as well as theme park rides, including one of the oldest wooden rollercoaster still in use in the country.
Seymour Marine Discovery Center - The centre is dedicated to educating the people on ocean conservation and marine science, and the role scientific research plays on it. The 20,000-square-foot visitor centre features aquariums with various marine life and educational exhibits such as the massive skeletons of a Blue Whale and a Gray Whale, Marine Mammal Research Areas, and more.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park - Located 36 kilometres northwest of the city centre is the oldest State Park in California. The Big Basin Redwoods State Park, as the name suggests, is famous for its impressive coastal redwood trees, in addition to knobcone pines and other endemic plant and even animal species. The park is a known habitat for mule deer, raccoons, bobcats, and even mountain lions. The park comprises of most of the Waddell Creek watershed, and boasts of numerous waterfalls.
Mystery Spot - The Mystery Spot, despite the small site, is a famous tourist attraction where visitors will be thrust into an environment full of optical illusions. The operators of the Mystery Spot claim that the law of physics and gravity do not apply in that particular area, as shown in several demonstrations such as people standing in slanted positions and water flowing upwards.
How to get around within Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is a great place for leisure walking or going around town on a bicycle, although be warned that the roads on the Santa Cruz Mountains are steep and quite challenging. The city is also served by a bus service, and should you choose to rent a vehicle, parking space should not be a problem.
How to get there
Santa Cruz is situated on the northern edge of Monterey Bay, some 51 kilometres south of the city of San Jose and 120 kilometres south of San Francisco. The airport nearest Santa Cruz is the one in San Jose, called San Jose International Airport, officially the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. There are flights to San Jose Airport from other cities in the United States such as New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, and also from cities in other countries such as Tokyo, Japan and San José del Cabo, Mexico. Other airports not too far off Santa Cruz are San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport.