Home / Travel Guides - Santa Cruz

More About
Santa Cruz, CA

About Santa CruzThis beautiful city on the Pacific coast off scenic SR 1 is a quintessential beach town. Surfing became popular in the 1930s, and Steamer Lane is an internationally renowned surfing site. The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, inside the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse on West Cliff Drive, displays a collection of surfboards and surfing photographs from the 1930s to the present; phone (831) 420-6289.

The northern end of Monterey Bay was first explored in 1769 by Spaniard Gaspar de Portolá; the name Santa Cruz means “holy cross.” One of Father Junípero Serra's 21 California missions was built at the site. A half-scale replica of the original mission is on the grounds of Holy Cross Church at 126 High St. (facing the downtown plaza). All that remains of the original mission, built in 1791 and destroyed by an earthquake in 1857, are the ruins of soldiers' barracks and part of a stone foundation. The chapel is open to visitors; phone (831) 423-4182.

A summer highlight is Santa Cruz Shakespeare. The University of California Santa Cruz's resident repertory company presents two of Shakespeare's works and a fringe show from late June through August at The Grove at DeLavega Park. For schedule and ticket information, phone (831) 459-2159.

Visitor Centers Visit Santa Cruz County 303 Water St., Suite 100 Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Phone:(831)425-1234 or (800)833-3494

Things to Do Chardonnay Sailing Charters

The Museum of Art and History

Mystery Spot

Natural Bridges State Beach

Santa Cruz Art League

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Laboratory

University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC)

Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems

Cook House

Theater Arts Center

The UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

Wilder Ranch State Park

Read More

Santa Cruz, CA

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.

Members save 5% to 15% and earn 10% bonus Best Western Rewards® points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Best Western Plus All Suites Inn

500 Ocean St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Book Now
AAA Members

Members save up to 10% and earn World of Hyatt points when booking AAA/CAA rates! Members also receive free breakfast at Hyatt Place/Hyatt House with their World of Hyatt membership!

Hyatt Place Santa Cruz

407 Broadway Ave. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Book Now
AAA Members

Members save 5% or more and earn Honors points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley

6001 La Madrona Dr. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Book Now
AAA Members

Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection

611 Ocean St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Book Now
AAA Members

call or visit a AAA Travel Agent Today!

Find a AAA Office

As a AAA member, you'll save even more. Your AAA Travel Agent will check to see if AAA Vacations is combinable with other AAA member benefits, plus cruise and tour past passenger discounts and benefits.

Not a Member?

Join Now