100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 1.888.327.8110 Santa Cruz's Seymour Discovery Center offers guests of all ages the opportunity to learn more about the exciting and unique underwater environment of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The Monterey Bay is home to many great species of ocean dwelling mammals, fish and undersea vegetation. The Center showcases all life in the Bay and aims to educate patrons in ways to reduce human impact on the oceans. Seymour Discovery Center is an excellent choice for those who want a first-hand view of marine life in the Monterey Bay. Step into the world of the ocean explorer.
Santa Cruz Mystery Spot
465 Mystery Spot Rd., off Branciforte Dr., Santa Cruz, CA 831.423.8897 The Mystery Spot might be the manifest source of Santa Cruz's weirdness. Practically unchanged since its opening in 1939, the promotional literature still says things like, "It's Unusual, It's Amazing, It's Wholesome, Interesting Entertainment." This campy spot is open every single day of the year and draws visitors from all over the world. A couple years ago, a professor from Berkeley took it upon himself to debunk the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot, claiming it all to be nothing more than clever optical illusion. Whatever. According to Randall, a tour guide at the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz and the kind of guy who likes wagon wheels lying around in the front yard, the place "is testimony to the power of belief."
400 Beach St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060 831.423.5590 The only major seaside amusement park on the Pacific Coast, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk blends old-time nostalgia with modern thrills. Visitors can buy a bag of saltwater taffy, get their fortunes told in the old-style arcade, take a road rage-releasing ride on the bumper cars or test their mettle on The Giant Dipper. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk features a carousel and little cars and airplanes for the kiddies as well. Bring a swimsuit and a towel, as you'll be steps from a sandy, swimmable Santa Cruz beach. Open daily Memorial Day through Labor Day and on weekends fall through spring.
Ken Wormhoudt Skate Park
225 San Lorenzo Blvd., Santa Cruz, CA Boasting 15,000 square feet of prime skatepark real estate, the Ken Wormhoudt park features a full pipe, two pool-style bowls, a practice bowl and a street course complete with stairs, wall rides, rails and hubba ledges. The park is open from 9am to sunset daily and only closes for rain. Skaters are required to wear helmets along with knee and elbow pads. No bikes or scooters are allowed in the skatepark, but in-line skates with composite wheels are allowed.
Pacific Garden Mall
Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 831.429.8433 This outdoor mall is the heart of downtown Santa Cruz. Lined with eclectic shops selling one-of-a-kind jewelry, clothes and art, as well as plenty of books and music, Pacific Avenue is also home to a handful of quirky thrift stores. Street performers lend the mall its unique bohemian character, and a wide variety of restaurants, bars, clubs and movie theaters keep visitors entertained into the wee hours.
Pasatiempo Golf Club
20 Clubhouse Road, Santa Cruz, CA 831.459.9169 Designed by world-renowned golf architect Alister MacKenzie (who also designed Augusta and Cypress Point), this 6,439 yard, par 70 course was rated as one of the top 100 courses by Golf Digest. The course is nestled in the rolling hills above Santa Cruz, offering scenic vistas of the beautiful Monterey Bay. Enjoy breakfast and lunch at the MacKenzie Bar & Grill, and relax into the evening with fine Santa Cruz dining at the elegant and historic Hollins House.
Roaring Camp Railroad
Felton, California The Roaring Camp steam train through the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains is a classic California experience! This historic train ride through a preserved old growth forest of coastal redwoods harkens back to the steam locomotive days of the 1880s, when these Santa Cruz forests were part of an active logging region, and the steam railroad cars were used to haul trees to the mills. The Roaring Camp steam train ride passes through towering redwood groves and up a winding narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain.
Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History
1305 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz CA 831.420.6115 Tour the many habitats of Santa Cruz simply with a stroll through the exhibit area; visit woodlands, chaparrel, grasslands, and a variety of marine environments. Pound acorns the Ohlone way, excavate sand dollars, tickle a sea star, or get up close and personal with a living bee hive. Great for all ages, although the children particularly enjoy climbing on the cement whale which is located on the front lawn.
Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park
Mission Plaza, Santa Cruz, CA 831.425.5849 Santa Cruz's Misión la Exaltación de la Santa Cruz was the twelfth mission built in California back in 1791. Perched atop a steep hill overlooking downtown Santa Cruz, the mission is the last structure of the original Neary-Rodriguez adobe cluster still standing. Although it's been damaged by several earthquakes over the years, the single-story adobe mission has since been restored respective of its original design.
Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
705 Front Street, Santa Cruz, CA 831.429.1964 This quaint little museum in downtown Santa Cruz focuses on contemporary and historical visual culture with a series of rotating exhibitions. The permanent collection displays historical artifacts that illustrate the unique history of Santa Cruz. The museum also offers docent-led tours of the historic Octagon building, the Evergreen Historic Cemetery and the Davenport Jail Museum.
Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz CA 831.420.6289 The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum is housed in the small, brick Mark Abbon Memorial Lighthouse overlooking Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz's internationally renowned surf spot, as well as Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay. Focusing on Santa Cruz's surfing history, the Sufring Museum displays unsinkable redwood plank surfboards, photographs of sets and breaks from the 1930s on, and sells books, T-shirts and other Cowabunga paraphernalia.
Monterey Bay Attractions
- Pebble Beach Resorts
Pebble Beach CA 93953 Home to three world-class resorts, Pebble Beach has remained a premier golf destination and Pacific oceanfront getaway for more than 80 years. The Lodge at Pebble Beach continues to earn prestigious accolades for its elegant architecture, thoughtful service and world-class amenities. Home to scenic hiking and equestrian trails, tennis courts, four championship golf courses and spacious guestrooms, the Lodge at Pebble Beach continually tops “Best Of” lists in major golf and resort magazines.
886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940 831.648.4800 The Monterey Aquarium, founded by Julie Packard of Hewlett-Packard (HP) in Palo Alto,is a world-reknown marine conservation aquarium like no other in the world. The Packard family has successfully put the Monterey Bay Sanctuary on the map of unique places to visit for marine life and their collections rival most other aquariums.
1021 Monterey-Salinas Highway, Salinas CA 93908 800.327.7322 Located less than an hour south of Santa Cruz, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is home to some of the most thrilling auto racing in the country. Notable events include the Monterey Festival of Speed, Corona AMA Superbike Finale, the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix and the Monterey Sports Car Championship. Each year, Laguna Seca raceway draws crowds of racing enthusiasts who enjoy watching expertly tuned cars and bikes speed around this renowned California racetrack.
- Cannery Row on Monterey Bay
Monterey, CA 93940 Monterey's famous Cannery Row, a short drive from Santa Cruz, is a popular day trip destination for people all over the Bay Area to see the Monterey Bay Aquarium, kayak in the Bay's scenic waters or dine at restaurants with some of the freshest seafood around.
- Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Main Office: 299 Foam Street, Monterey CA 831.647.4201 Spanning 276 miles of shoreline between Marin and Cambria, this 5,322-square-mile marine sanctuary is one of the world's most diverse ecosystems, with the heart of it all lying in the Monterey Bay. Numerous mammals, seabirds, fishes, invertebrates and plants make their home here. Endless opportunities to take advantage of the Sanctuary's resources abound in Santa Cruz, including kayaking, hiking, whale watching, fishing, sailing, surfing, scuba diving and much more.