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Best Beaches in Santa Cruz, CA

Best Beaches in Santa Cruz, CA

The Bay Area’s most popular beach town has so many wonderful beaches along its 29 miles of gorgeous coastline. If you are planning to go and visit Santa Cruz County, CA for some fun in the sun, it might be a bit difficult to decide where to go to on your next vacation because there’s just a lot of really great destinations to choose from. So, if you are in the process of checking out your options and would need some helpful information, read on to see which beach will be perfect for your upcoming getaway.


Seacliff State Beach

If you want to go somewhere less crowded, that would be Seacliff State Beach. This narrow stretch of sand between the cliffs and the ocean is famous for the old cement ship that sits at the end of the wharf. This is one of three cement ships built in Oakland during World War I and was brought here in 1929. It’s nice to take a stroll along the beach on a clear day and just gaze at this old ship which can be quite mesmerizing. Seacliff Beach is perfect for beach play and is also one of the places in California where you can camp and bring your pets along. The beach has a pier where you can go fishing without a fishing license. Some of the fish you can catch in this beach are starry flounder, kingfish, sand sole, halibut, and stripers.


Main Beach and Cowell Beach

Two beaches can be found at opposite ends of the Santa Cruz Municipal Pier – Main Beach and Cowell Beach, with Cowell Beach on the right and Main Beach on the left if you’re facing the pier and the ocean. The beaches can get very crowded in the summer, but they offer a great place to take a break from the nearby Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park which usually sponsors free concerts on Main Beach. Some of the fun activities to do here include volleyball, fishing, surfing, kayaking, and boating. If you would like to learn how to surf, Cowell Beach is the best place for beginner surfers.


Sunset Beach

Stretching just 1.5 miles from Anderson Street to Warner Avenue, the charming Sunset Beach is one of the widest beaches in Southern California. This beach is a popular destination for those who want to go camping, enjoy beach bonfires at night, and make some smores. If you’re into fishing, you can catch surf perch and sardines on the beach, but you’ll need a fishing license. There’s also a remote control model glider port here for enthusiasts and those who would want to watch. In the winter, whale watching from atop the bluffs is popular.


Capitola Beach

Located right in the middle of one of California’s prettiest quaint beach towns, Capitola Beach offers visitors an amazing view of the Monterey Bay, sailboats, and an array of cottages and shops painted with festive colors lining the shore. The beach is a family friendly destination, with soft, light-colored sand that is well-maintained and a lifeguard on duty during the busy season. There are a lot of beach activities to enjoy here aside from swimming, such as beach volleyball, surfing, and fishing from the pier. You can also rent fishing boats at the pier. There’s surfing and paddleboarding lessons available for those who want to learn these sports. This beach is recommended for beginner surfers and paddleboarders because the waves here are gentler.


Lighthouse Field State Beach

Steamer Lane at Lighthouse Field State Beach is popular for surfing or boogie  boarding. This is where California surf culture was born and Jack O’Neill’s surf shop was nearby for many years. Lighthouse Field State Beach is a truly breathtaking place, with ocean views and a flat, paved path at the top of the cliff.  This beach is the perfect place for taking a scenic walk, watching the surfers when the waves are good and looking at the iconic Steamer Lane from the overlook near the surfer status. When the water is calm, you will be able to see across the Pacific and might even spot rare birds like the Black Swift, a California sea lion, or a dolphin swimming by. You can also go kayaking during these calm days. And don’t forget to visit the Surfing Museum, where you’ll find photographs, surfboards, and other memorabilia from over a century of surfing history in Santa Cruz. If you’re visiting the beach during the holidays, you must not miss “Caroling Under the Stars” – a Santa Cruz tradition hosted by Lighthouse Field State Beach every Christmas.


Waddell Creek Beach

The steady, strong northwest winds and great waves at Waddell
Creek Beach
 makes it one of the best places along California’s central coast to windsurf. For those who want to go windsurfing and kite surfing, the best time to come here is from March to September. During these months, visitors have a blast watching expert  windsurfers launch themselves from the top of an incoming wave and do a full loop in the middle of their ride. Regular surfers and boogie boarders also love the waves at Waddell Creek Beach. If you’re a beginner, this might not be the beach for you learn or practice, but you will definitely enjoy watching regular and pro surfers, especially when the waves break close to shore.


As you can see, there are so many amazing beaches in Santa Cruz, CA and a single visit to one of these beaches just won’t be enough. We’re sure that you’ll be coming back to try the other destinations and they will all be worth it. Now, if you love spending time at the beach and would love to live near any of these beautiful destinations, I can show you all the best options available for you in the Santa Cruz Area so you would just be a short commute from these lovely beaches. Feel free to give me a call at (831) 661-5591 or send me an email at [email protected] and I will get back to you the soonest possible time. 

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