Explore Monterey Bay

A Day Trip to Santa Cruz

Things to Do — By mfitzsimmons on February 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm
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Thanks to a combination of being geographically located less than an hour away from San Jose, one of the largest metropolitan areas in California, and feeling as though it’s a million miles from the hustle and bustle of a major city, Santa Cruz has long been a favorite day trip spot for many Northern Californians. Even those living as far inland as the Central Valley or north of San Francisco come to Santa Cruz for surf, sand, and fun.

The highlight of any day trip to Surf City, U.S.A. is time spent on the beach. This city is by the sea and holds some of the most beautiful sands and surf this side of the Pacific. Beaches like Natural Bridges, Seabright State Beach, and Main Beach are but a few of the breathtaking sandy spots in Santa Cruz. Whether you’re looking to swin, sunbathe, or stroll, these beaches are the perfect places to spend an hour or three.

Santa Cruz surfer

Of course, you can always grab your board and surf Santa Cruz's famous waves.

If you are interested in learning how to surf while in Santa Cruz, call the Club Ed International Surf School for information on lessons.

Once you’ve got your beach fix in, check out Pacific Ave., the main city’s main thoroughfare. Swing by Bookshop Santa Cruz for a taste of the town’s liberal literary attitude. This just so happens to be one of the best locally owned bookstores in the country, too. The Museum of Art and History, better known as MAH, as a regular rotation of fascinating exhibits worth any visitor perusing.

Man on a virtual surf board at the MAH.

MAH has a slew of interactive exhibits about the art, history, and culture of Santa Cruz.

Downtown is teeming with boutique and kitschy shops, but its real draw are the people. From impromptu blue grass bands to bedazzled accordion players and Tarot card readers, Santa Cruz is peppered with an eclectic array of personalities.

To fuel up for your drive home (your stomach, not your car) try Zoccoli’s deli, El Palomar, or Laili, all no more than a stone’s throw from each other.

Tags: Beach Boardwalk, Bookshop Santa Cruz, El Palomar, Laili, MAH, Main Beach, Natural Bridges, Santa Cruz, Seabright State Beach, Zoccoli's

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