Santa Cruz Main Beach

#2 in Best Things To Do in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Main Beach picture
slobo/Getty Images

Key Info

108 Beach St.

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Beaches, Sightseeing, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.5

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Santa Cruz Main Beach is also known as Boardwalk Beach since it stretches the length of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. In the summer, it's one of the busiest beaches in Santa Cruz thanks to its lengthy list of amenities, including lifeguards, restrooms, nearby food options and amusement park rides and games. During other seasons, it's a popular place to take scenic strolls. 

With its on-duty lifeguards and fairly gentle waves, travelers say this is a great beach for families. If you're visiting during the summertime, reviewers recommend arriving early in the day to stake out a prime spot, as the sand can get crowded quickly. 

The beach is free to visit year-round. Many travelers recommend parking your car in the metered spots behind the row of hotels that line the beach. Keep in mind that the swimming section is marked by buoys to prevent swimmers from colliding with nearby surfers. For more information, visit the tourism bureau's website

See all Hotels in Santa Cruz »

More Best Things To Do in Santa Cruz

West Cliff Drive1 of 8
Santa Cruz Wharf 2 of 8
Type
Time to Spend
#1 West Cliff Drive

This 3-mile walking and biking path offers some of the best views of the county – and it's a great workout too. Along the way, you'll be treated to pristine vistas of the Pacific Ocean and you might even spot some surfers riding the waves at Steamer Lane or whales and dolphins cresting the water at Lighthouse Point. You can also stop in to the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum along your stroll, which is stationed inside the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse.

Recent travelers and locals said West Cliff Drive is a must-do. According to reviewers, the beauty is unparalleled, and the benches that line the path are a nice pit stop along the 6-mile round-trip walk. To avoid crowded paths, some travelers recommend visiting on a weekday and also note parking can be difficult to come by on weekends. 

Read more
Courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz County and Paul Schraub
See full list of Best Things To Do in Santa Cruz »

Explore More of Santa Cruz

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

15 Affordable Dream Vacations to Book

Keep an eye out for deep discounts and deals for future trips.

CDC Coronavirus Travel Updates: What to Know About Current Travel Restrictions

Cruises suspend sailings; hotels, airlines tweak cancellation policies; see the latest CDC travel advisories.

What Will Happen to My Elite Status and Points Because of the Coronavirus?

Limited travel due to the coronavirus prompts airline and hotel rewards programs to make policy changes.

14 Top Jigsaw Puzzles, Games and Books to Keep Travelers Entertained

Even though you're stuck at home, you can still indulge your wanderlust with these activities.

15 Top Cookbooks to Buy

Travel to far-flung destinations and enjoy international food without leaving home.

The 12 Best Language-Learning Apps, Programs and Online Courses

Now is the perfect time to learn a new skill.

The 13 Best Sedona Tours

Get lost in the magic of Sedona's red rocks on these top adventures.

What is an Ecolodge? 21 Top Eco Resorts and Eco Hotels Around the World

Luxury meets environmental welfare at these top-notch ecolodges.

The 12 Best Puerto Rico Tours

Experience island living at its best on one of these guided trips.

I Went On a Cruise During the Coronavirus Pandemic. This Is What Happened.

Coronavirus concerns, itinerary changes and uncertainty lead to an unusual vacation.