Located on the north end of Monterey Bay in California, Santa Cruz is a popular beach town. The largest city of Santa Cruz County is nestled on the northern edge of Monterey Bay. The city has a moderate climate, an attractive coastline and a natural awe-inspiring environment.
Gaspar de Portola, a Spanish explorer stumbled upon this area on his way to Monterey in 1769. He named the river San Lorenzo after Saint Lawrence and the hills above the river ‘Santa Cruz’, meaning the ‘holy cross’. In 1796, Captain Pere d’Alene established the town of Villa Branciforte in the honor of the Viceroy of New Spain. Later on, these two towns merged together to form what is known as Santa Cruz today.
The charming downtown area of the city is full ofdiverse shops, high-end restaurants, picturesque coffee shops and some pulsating street performances.Santa Cruz has a lively art, music and literary scene. The city hosts an annual Blues festival and has a popular book fair in the spring of every year where you can meet local authors. Mystery Spot is another fun tourist spot that is sure to pique your curiosity. It is made with an anti-gravity cabin and has a stupefying hillside illusion.The best ways to get around in Santa Cruz are through walking or biking. The pedestrian-friendly streets make room for seamless strolls and bikes help you navigate faster through the heavy traffic. A drive is a must if you want to soak in the city’s picturesque surroundings. The area houses a host of cultural attractions including the popular Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History and gives life to many cultural events like the Santa Cruz County Symphony and Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
A surfer’s paradise, Santa Cruz presents an interesting potpourri of stunning beaches, sublime redwoods, and the finest wineries. The star attraction at Santa Cruz is the seaside amusement park, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk which attracts nearly 3 million visitors every year. It lays down fascinating archways, recreational rides, restaurants, the historical Looff Carousel and Giant Dipper. The Surf Museum of the surf downis etched with the history of surfing. If you want to gain an insight into the fascinating world of marine life, you can pay a visit to Seymour Marine Discovery Center.
You can cruise along the Pacific Coast Highway to view the breathtaking stretch of the shore and stop at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park along the for some exciting outdoor activities. The park includes lush woods and offers magnificent views of the ocean.It also includes a resplendent 80-foot waterfall cascading down the granite cliffs and a massive underwater reserve that can be explored via scuba diving. The beach town has an astounding number of beaches to suit every purpose. The Cowell beach and the main beach attract huge crowds owing to their proximity to the Boardwalk.The Natural Bridges State Beach is well known for windsurfing and for viewing the annual migration of exquisite monarch butterflies. Steamers Lane which lies on the north of the main beach is a renowned surf break.Henry Cowell State Park and Pogonip are other great getaways with abundant natural beauty.The other local parks make way for outdoor sports like cycling, skateboarding, camping, and rock climbing.
The city is an ideal hiking destination enveloped by open spaces. A number of the city’s inland parks make for interesting visits. The wilder ranch offers panoramic views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Monterey Bay. Santa Cruz also houses the University of California. The Santa Cruz Wharf is popular for angling and observing marine mammals. The university has a resplendent campus adorned with dense redwood forests. In some of the undeveloped campus parts, mountain lions can be sighted.You can run out of time but not out of things to do at Santa Cruz.