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The Best Things to Do in Santa Cruz

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Things to do in Santa Cruz

Aquarium
4.5
Located on the site of a former sardine cannery on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, Monterey Bay Aquarium features an 8.5 m (28 ft) viewing tan
Tours from £6
4.7
We suggest booking in advance.Select from 3 top choices.
Scenic Drive
West Cliff Drive , Santa Cruz
4.8
West Cliff Drive features wide ocean views and sandy beaches, natural rock bridges, dramatic cliffs, a small light house, and bicycle and ped
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4.9
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
Embark on a 4-hour whale watching tour. All trips are narrated by a naturalist or marine biologist guide, who will also spend one on one time with guests while on deck. Professional photographers are often sent to capture the spectacular sights seen from on board and are available to offer tips for your own photography.
Book on Viator from £72
Scenic Drive
17-Mile Drive , Monterey
4.1
A scenic road winding its way over the Monterey Peninsula, 17-Mile Drive runs along the Pacific coastline and passes several well-known golf
Tours from £9
Beer Tasting / Tour
4.9
Discover...the hidden gems of the Monterey Bay Taste...food and beverages from the Central Coast's finest Enjoy...the sights and sounds of Mo

Recommended Santa Cruz tours

Santa Cruz

4.2
Theme Parks · Dolphin & Whale Watching · Beaches
Santa Cruz remains synonymous with surfing, but this counterculture bastion offers plenty even if you don't plan to catch any waves. Some of the natural, undeveloped beaches feature calm water for swimming, and the boardwalk serves as a colorful area full of amusement games. The university brings students for much of the year, many of whom choose the school for its strong liberal arts programs and scenic environs. A healthy cafe culture exists here, and the local dining scene includes both restaurants covering a broad swath of global cuisines and establishments that maintain their focus on local ingredients. State parks surround Santa Cruz, making it an ideal base for trips into nature. Use our world travel planner: Santa Cruz and all its delights await.

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Places to visit with Santa Cruz

San FranciscoTrip planner Best for: Island, Bridge, Pier / Boardwalk Yosemite National ParkTrip planner Best for: World heritage site, Geologic Formation, Waterfall Los AngelesTrip planner Best for: Theme Park, Specialty Museum, Historic Walking Area San DiegoTrip planner Best for: Specialty Museum, Zoo, Beach AnaheimTrip planner Best for: Theme Park, Disney Park / Activity, Ride / Activity

Where to stay in Santa Cruz

Most of the accommodations in Santa Cruz occupy a place near the beach and boardwalk. Inns and bed and breakfasts make up most of the selection here, but you'll also find a few motels and hotels sprinkled in. You might consider staying in one of the inns or bed and breakfasts located inside some of the Victorian houses downtown, which lies just to the north. A number of budget motels line both San Lorenzo Boulevard, which is just across Carbonara Creek from the main tourist area by the beach, and Ocean Street a little farther north.
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