West Cliff Drive

#1 in Best Things To Do in Santa Cruz
West Cliff Drive picture
Courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz County and Paul Schraub

Key Info

West Cliff Drive

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Hiking, Sightseeing, Free Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
4.7scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

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. 

The West Cliff Drive path starts at the Santa Cruz Wharf and ends at Natural Bridges State Park. It is free to access year-round. If you're planning to drive to West Cliff Drive, you can pay for parking at the Santa Cruz Wharf. Or you can try and find a free spot on Swanton Boulevard, near Natural Bridges State Park or at Lighthouse Field State Beach. For more information, check out the tourism bureau's website

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More Best Things To Do in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Main Beach
Santa Cruz Wharf
Type
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1 of 8
#2 Santa Cruz Main Beach

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. 

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