Santa Cruz Ocean Front


Where? : The one mile long beach of Santa Cruz is located right in front of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and to the south.

Google Map Link


What? : The famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk with the friendly amusement park and roller-coasters, the long Wharf getting into the bay and the large sandy beach in the protected bay make the visit here as a must visit.


When? : Year round, the amusement park is open during summer days.


Due note 1: It is crowded here during summer weekend, challenging to find parking spot.


Due note 2: I highly recommend coming with bike, you can cover and visit a lot more places and you can park your car in less crowded place.


My thoughts: Although Santa Cruz at summer weekend is very crowded city and some places may be consider as “tourist attraction” it kept the unique surfing town charm.

I really like to come with bike and cover a lot of places in one visit.

I will not recommend this for beach activity, there are so many nearby other places that are much less crowded.


Additional blogs on nearby locations:

The visit:

There is a big parking lot in front of the main boardwalk building or at the south side of the road, just before the bridge.


Walk the long wharf all the way to where it ends, enjoy the beach view from the ocean side. There are few restaurants on the pier, At the end you can look from above on the colony of sea lions resting on the woods at the pier mid-section.


When it is active, it is nice to spend some time with the kids at the “old school” beachfront amusement park that offers a variety of games & some nice simple rides. This amusement park is simple one with few attractions and is not at the level of 6-Flags.

On the right side of the bay (north of the pier) there is a good place to learn how to surf, you can rent a surfboard and try it out.


From the main town oceanfront Boardwalk you can walk north on ocean cliff for 1 mile.

This trail all the way to the Lighthouse and the small Santa Cruz Surfing Museum at the end of the bay, more expert surfers are catching the larger ocean wave over here.


From the lighthouse you can keep walking north additional 2 miles up to Natural Bridges State Beach (see this blog).

This easy hike will take you above the ocean cliff, you will bird below and wave crashing onto the cliffs.

This ocean cliff walk provides excellent view of the sunset in the west.

The main town beach is ending at its south side by the San Lorenzo River. You can cross this river by using the old railroad bridge.

Once you cross the bridge walk all the way to the end of E. Cliff Dr. and turn right to the Cliff Drive Vista Point.

From here you have nice view of the beach below.

Few hundred feet to the south and you will find the beach access. This beach section and it is less crowded from the main city beach.

If you will keep walking all the way to the south, you will reach the beautiful, tall, white Walton Lighthouse at the end of the harbor jetty.

This lighthouse is new one from 2002


From here, in order to go south, you need to go half a mile north all the way to the car bridge.

Here you can cross the marina harbor to the south side.

You can also hike/bike al the way to the far and of the marina and go from the other side.

Keep going on the south side of the marina all the way to the beach at 5th Ave road.

Here you have few restaurants, beach access and a nice sunset view with the lighthouse on the other side of the waterway.


Additional Pictures: