Top Santa Cruz Tourist Attractions

Scenic and colorful, Santa Cruz has a variety of attractions that will entertain visitors of all ages. From fascinating museums to natural phenomena, you’ll find it all in Santa Cruz. Check out a list of our attractions in Santa Cruz below!

Santa Cruz Bars & Breweries

Santa Cruz Beaches

Santa Cruz Restaurants

Santa Cruz Shopping

Seymour Marine Discovery Center

Santa Cruz Surfing Museum

UCSC Arboretum

Wilder Ranch State Park

Santa Cruz Tourist Attractions You Won’t Want to Miss

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a classic attraction in Santa Cruz that everyone needs to see during their stay in Santa Cruz. Home to carnival-style amusements, rides, and games, it’s truly a happy-go-lucky and fun-filled destination.

Near the boardwalk is the Santa Cruz Wharf, where visitors can shop, dine, drink, see sea lions and marine animals, go on a boat tour, or fish from the pier. The wharf’s fish market was even featured in the movie Sudden Impact. Santa Cruz Wharf is also one of the longest piers on the entire West Coast of the United States. Nearby, Cowell and Main Beach make for a pleasant beach excursion, with swimming, surfing, sunbathing, volleyball, and more all available.

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is a hit with children and adults alike, boasting an impressive aquarium and Ms. Blue, the world’s largest blue whale skeleton, on display. Here, visitors can see the bones of the blue whale, which washed ashore in 1979, as well as animals native to Monterey Bay. While the exhibits change from time to time, visitors can always see California spiny lobsters, swell sharks, bat stars, sea nettles, purple urchins, and giant green anemones.

Mission Santa Cruz is another Santa Cruz tourist attraction that gives visitors a peek into the storied past of the city through the eyes of its clergy. A mission repeatedly struck by attacks from neighboring communities and misfortune, much of Mission Santa Cruz’ original buildings have been lost to time and an earthquake that took place in the mid-1800s. A 1930s replica of the historic Mission Santa Cruz built in 1791, the current mission serves as a place of worship with a small but intriguing museum dedicated to what has been called “the hard luck mission.”

Natural Bridges State Beach is a beautiful beach locale where beachgoers can see the iconic arched rock formation that sticks out from the waters near the coast. You can also partake in a diverse range of fun beach activities, including swimming, surfing, hiking, and more.

Make Your Escape to Monterey Bay with Beach House Rentals!

Contact our reservations team for more details on these iconic attractions in Santa Cruz and other cool places to explore when you reserve your stay in one of our beautiful vacation rental properties today!