Santa Cruz has so many beautiful beaches. To be precise, it has a total of 34 beaches and these are some of the best beaches in the Golden State. And the task of choosing the best beach from these shimmering and gorgeous 34 Santa Cruz beaches can be really overwhelming. This Californian beach town is one of the most popular summer destinations in the world where tourists flock to enjoy the sun, surf, and sand. This very famous surf town on the Central Coast is home to a great number of family-friendly, secluded, and pristine beaches that make it an excellent weekend trip destination from San Francisco. Looking out for the best beaches to head to? Here we have listed below a few of the best that are real showstoppers.
Top-rated And Best Santa Cruz Beaches To Check Out:
Natural Bridges State Beach:
This 65-acre California State Park in Santa Cruz, California is famous for a natural bridge that is set across a section of the beach. If you want to see the migration of monarch butterflies, head to the Santa Cruz Monarch Butterfly Grove which is located on the western edge of the town in the state park at Natural Bridges State Park. The best time to see the migration is in the month of November but the natural preserve remains home to up to 150,000 monarch butterflies from mid-October through mid-February. Walk through the Monarch Butterfly Trail where all the butterflies go around the grove of trees.
The view of the natural bridge at dawn and dusk is so pretty to look at.
To date, it is the most popular beach in Santa Cruz that locates just next to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Popular for its world-class surfing scene and excellent scenery, this is one of the best Santa Cruz beaches with soft sand, wide stretch, and waves.
If you do not get disappointed by crowds on sunny days and want to head to a beach that has close proximity to amusement rides and delicious eaters, Main Beach is certainly the best Californian beach for you. The beach starts from the mouth of the San Lorenzo River and stretches up to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf.
A great family-friendly beach with amusing activity places like a swimming pool, bowling alley, mini-golf, and a number of good eateries, you have to come to the Main Beach in Santa Cruz for an overwhelming experience.
Twin Lakes State Beach:
Just on the other side of Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, lies the Twin Lakes State Beach. If you are in search of a less crowded beach on Monterey Bay in northern California, this is one of the best recommended Santa Cruz beaches to head to.
Popular for swimming and birdwatching, the mile-long sandy shoreline of this beach is loved by both tourists and locals. Do you know why this beach is so named? The two lakes of this Twin Lakes are the Schwan Lake and the Woods Lagoon. A great family-friendly beach, from here you will have a great view of the Walton Lighthouse too. Enjoy beach volleyball, sailing, kayaking, and a calming sunset when you are at the Twin Lakes State Beach.
Locating at the north end of Monterey Bay, this popular urban beach is picture-perfect with its pastel-colored angular houses that are set on the terraces. It remains quite crowded during the summer months and contains a large fishing pier named Capitola Wharf. Go beyond the east end of the beach where you will enjoy great surfing waves. Tired after surfing and facing the crowds? Head straight behind the beach where Soquel Creek has formed a lagoon. It is a great place for bird watching.
Behind the beach, there is Esplanade where during the night, several concerts and art shows are organized. Also, grab a great snack to refuel yourself.
Santa Cruz Harbor Beach:
This south-facing beach that is adjacent to Santa Cruz Harbor and Twin Lakes State Beach is a beautiful and family-friendly beach. It usually remains less crowded and is easily accessible. Its close proximity to nearby eateries and shops makes it quite a popular beach to head to. Kids love to climb the rocks here and you get an amazing chance to soak in the magnificent view of the blue sky and the ocean.
One of the most popular eateries nearer to the beach is Crow’s Nest Restaurant where you will get to taste lip-smacking Hawaiian cuisine too.
Pleasure Point Beach:
One of the most secluded and best Santa Cruz beaches, the Pleasure Point Beach is located along East Cliff Drive. You need to climb down from Pleasure Point Park to reach the beach and you must note that the Hook in Pleasure Point is the second most popular surf spot in the county. So if you are searching for one of the best surfing locations in Santa Cruz, Pleasure Point Beach is certainly one of the best to head to. It is one of the best-known surfing locations in the entire world set on northern Monterey Bay.
Though the beach lacks heavy sand, but there are dramatic rock shelves on the beach where you can sit back and relax. If you are not here to surf, just watch out people enjoying their surf from the Pleasure Point Park.
Lighthouse Field State Bach:
When you are seeking outdoors, biking, hiking, and craving for nothing other than nature, you have to come to Lighthouse Field State Beach which is quite rugged and undeveloped. Undeveloped means it sees less footfall and you get the entire beach and the pristine view of the region all for yourself.
This is a protected beach in the state park system of California and is one of the best Santa Cruz beaches that is also the wintering ground for the migrating monarch butterflies. Also, a great place to spot California sea lions and American black swifts, the beach is quite a stunner. What else do you have to see here other than soaking in the beauty of nature? There is the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum that documents the history of surfing in Santa Cruz, California.