Santa Cruz Travel Guide

USA  #3 in Best Day Trips from San Francisco
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Best Times to Visit Santa Cruz

The best time to visit Santa Cruz is from September through November when the summer tourists have returned home, leaving a bit more room on the beaches, walking paths and other attractions. December, January and February see a slight dip in temperatures, which nonetheless are warm enough for the monarch butterflies who overwinter at Natural Bridges State Beach. The months between April and May are characterized by mounting temperatures and special events that meet their nexus in June, July and August. 

Weather in Santa Cruz

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
63
41
64
43
66
44
70
46
72
49
75
52
75
54
76
54
76
53
73
50
67
45
62
41
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
6.3
6.22
4.65
1.98
0.83
0.2
0
0.05
0.28
1.46
3.74
5.68
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

September-November

Locals love fall in Santa Cruz: September and October – and to a lesser-extent, November – are stacked with special events and festivals, which are characterized by almost perfect weather. Average high temperatures dip from the mid-70s to the mid-60s this time of year. What's more, hotel prices take a dive from their summertime highs. 

Key Events:

December-February

Monarch butterflies flutter into the county during the winter to take advantage of Santa Cruz's mild temperatures: Average lows huddle in the 40s and average highs reach the 60s. Travelers might want to follow the butterflies to Santa Cruz to take advantage of the affordable winter room rates. However, wintertime travelers should pack an umbrella since this time of year is also the rainiest. 

Key Events:

March-May

Spring usually comes early in Santa Cruz, with average highs reaching the mid-60s in March and edging into the 70s in April and May. Hotel rates will also start creeping up toward their summertime peaks. The events calendar starts picking back up this time of year too.

Key Events:

June-August

Summertime is high season in Santa Cruz. The sun is shining, the beaches are packed and outdoor concerts and beach parties clutter the calendar. Hotel rates are at their highest, too. Average temperatures in June, July and August hover in the mid-70s, though Santa Cruz can experience much warmer days. (The record high was 107 degrees.)

Key Events:

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