When To Go And What To Bring
Jack ONeill, founder of the famous wetsuit and surfboard brand, was a Santa Cruz local, which tells you two things about the coast here: The swells are great, and the water is ice-cold. Foggy and overcast mornings are common, and winds off the coast can chill the air, even on a clear day. Late summer to early fall is the best season for beachgoing, when clear, sunny days are more frequent even then, its best to come prepared. In addition to the usual necessities , add an extra layer of clothes to your beach bag, including a warm sweatshirt, hat, and extra towels. If youre going to spend extended time in the water, rent a wetsuit.
Dont Miss: Best Places To Stay In La
Best Hotel In Aptos: Best Western Seacliff Inn
The Best Western in Aptos is one of our best recommendation for where to stay in Santa Cruz for families. It has a great central location and is close to restaurants, shops, the beach and more. Guests can enjoy a variety of amenities, including a swimming pool, laundry facilities, a golf course and a restaurant.
Where To Stay In Santa Cruz: Mid
Also check out Beach Street Inn and Suites, which is just a few minutes’ walk from Main Beach and Cowell Beach and under 15 minutes by foot from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Santa Cruz Wharf. This brightly colored hotel offers colorful rooms with wood floors, microwaves, mini-fridges, and flat-screen TVs. Many also feature shared balconies with sea views.
Families will appreciate the suites, which come with separate living spaces, sleeper sofas, and kitchens. Amenities include an on-site cafe, outdoor heated pool, and a picnic area. Parking is free.
Read Also: Cool Places To Stay In Los Angeles
Cheapest Places To Visit In California
Whether you are traveling to California or you already live in the Golden State and are looking for the cheapest places to visit in California, youll have a surprising number of options. This is a huge state with a wide variety of places that dont break the bank.
People who are looking for a cheap California vacation or the cheapest places to travel in California can visit some amazing cities, towns and entertainment areas that suit any type of budget.
Below, you will find the ultimate list of the best and cheap weekend getaways in California including everything you need to know to make your cheap California travel a success.
PIN IT FOR LATER
This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, you wont pay any extra penny, but Ill get a small commission that encourages me to deliver more helpful content for you.
Best Hotel In Santa Cruz: Rio Vista Inn & Suites Santa Cruz
The Rio Vista Inn is our favourite hotel in Santa Cruz. It is ideally located at the heart of the city and is a quick walk to the restaurants, Santa Cruz attractions and bars of the Downtown, the Boardwalk and Midtown neighbourhoods. It is comprised of 16 modern rooms with an excellent array of amenities and features.
The seaside town of Santa Cruz is one of the coolest places in California. Located at the north end of Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz is a relaxed and laid-back city known as a counterculture and artistic hub with a bohemian feel and youthful vibes.
Santa Cruz seamlessly blends its relaxed beach lifestyle with a vibrant culture and some high tech industry. It has great shopping, delicious dining, buzzing nightlife and some of the most beautiful beaches in the state.
In this Santa Cruz neighbourhood guide, well look at the best places to stay based on what you want to do.
Downtown Santa Cruz is the best neighbourhood in Santa Crus to stay in if youre visiting for the first time. It is centrally located and within walking distance of the beach. It also boasts plenty of shops, restaurants, bars and landmarks.
Travel south from here and youll arrive in the busy and buzzing Boardwalk neighbourhood. A hub of activity and attractions, the Boardwalk is our best recommendation for where to stay in Santa Cruz for one night or if youre on a budget.
Also Check: Great Places To Stay In Branson Mo
Hearst Castle And Cambria
The Hearst Castle is one of the most visited attractions on the Central Coast with good reason. Its a stunning architectural achievement crowning the mountains that overlook the serene San Simeon coastline. The best place to stay during a stop to tour the castle is the nearby hamlet of Cambria. Far and away the most inexpensive overnight option in town is the Bridge Street Inn-HI Cambria . The hostel, which was once the home of a pastor, has single bunks in a co-ed dorm room as well as private rooms available.
The Sand Pebbles Inn has a superb location across from Moonstone Beach and just feet away from the very popular Sea Chest Oyster Bar. Spend extra money for a room with a full ocean view.
Hotel Paradox Autograph Collection
Address: 611 Ocean Street
WiFi available in all areasOutdoor pool Use of cleaning chemicals that are effective against CoronavirusLuggage storageHand sanitizer in guest accommodation and key areasGuest accommodation sealed after cleaningSafety deposit boxOutdoor pool
This grand hotel is located very close to the Lighthouse Field State Beach. The contemporary rooms feature flat-screen televisions, writing desks, and separate living areas. A tea and coffee maker is present in every room and the hardwood furniture all through the property gives an additional touch to the chic interior. The hotel has an outdoor pool and a sauna for relaxing. A continental breakfast is served every morning in the restaurant.
Don’t Miss: What Area To Stay In Lisbon
Where To Stay In Santa Cruz For Couples
Santa Cruz Lighthouse at sunset
Couples will also like the Edgewater Beach Motel, which has a romantic ambiance and overlooks the ocean. The property is within walking distance of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the Santa Cruz Wharf and is good value.
It features quaint and cozy rooms, which are comfortable and clean. They also offer upgraded options with Jacuzzi tubs and ocean views. Amenities include a heated swimming pool and direct beach and wharf access. The staff is friendly, and there is parking on-site.
For a romantic B& B experience check out the Babbling Brook Inn. The historic property features 13 lovely rooms, each slightly different, but all clean and comfortable with feather beds and framed reproductions of works by famous artists on the walls. Some of the rooms come with Jacuzzi tubs or fireplaces that up the romance.
Amenities include a gourmet breakfast each morning, afternoon refreshments, and fresh-baked cookies upon check-in. There is free parking, and you can rent bicycles here to explore Santa Cruz.
Where To Stay In Santa Cruz On A Budget
Lifeguard tower on Santa Cruz Beach
Super 8 by Wyndham Santa Cruz/Beach Boardwalk East is another budget option, which is popular for its location just under five minutes’ walk from the beachfront and a block from the San Lorenzo Riverway. It offers basic but comfortable rooms with premium cable, comfortable beds, microwaves, and mini-fridges.
Some rooms also feature Jacuzzi tubs. All come with free Wi-Fi, and the property is family friendly, allowing children under 18 to stay free with an adult. A continental breakfast is also included as is parking, and there is a seasonal outdoor swimming pool.
Recommended Reading: Where To Stay In Melbourne Beach Florida
Where To Stay In Santa Cruz For Families
Surfing in Santa Cruz
Carousel Beach Inn is a great choice for families as it features an awesome location, just a few minutes’ walk from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and about a 10-minute walk to the Santa Cruz Wharf. The rooms are colorful and feature original art on the walls, and hardwood floors. They also come with mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi.
Families will enjoy the larger rooms with separate living spaces and Jacuzzi tubs. Amenities include a free continental breakfast and complimentary parking.
Another family-friendly pick is the Mission Inn. This boutique property has 53 rooms, including family room choices. Rooms are contemporary in design, with beach-focused artwork and faux wood accent walls. Each one also comes with a refrigerator and microwave, which is convenient for heating up snacks for the kids.
Amenities include a complimentary breakfast, as well as free parking. There is a hot tub on the grounds and also a sauna. The hotel is located near the University of California Santa Cruz and about a five-minute drive to the boardwalk and downtown.
How To Get There And Then Get Around
A set of wheels will get you to Santa Cruz and make it easier to visit state parks and beaches along Highway 1, too. Out-of-towners can rent a car at the airport in San Francisco or San Jose, then take the redwood-fringed Highway 17 over the coastal mountains to the city of Santa Cruz. If youd like to buck California tradition and skip the car entirely,Amtrak runs trains between San Jose and points across the West Coast, including Oakland from the San Jose station, take an Amtrak connector bus to Santa Cruz. Once youre in town, Santa Cruz is relatively flat and totally bike-friendly . In fact, the city is small enough that its even walkable its only about a mile from the citys Main Beach to downtown.
Also Check: Where To Stay In Antigua
Downtown Where To Stay In Santa Cruz For Your First Time
Downtown is a large neighbourhood located in central Santa Cruz. It is our pick for the best neighbourhood to stay in Santa Cruz if youre visiting for the first time because it has plenty of cultural attractions is packed with bars, restaurants and shops and, allows for easy access throughout the city and the wider county.
Santa Cruzs downtown district is also where youll find the local arts scene. Tucked throughout the neighbourhood are a good variety of galleries and shops that showcase the excellent works of local artists, musicians, actors and writers.
Things To See And Do In Aptos
- Browse the tiny but interesting Aptos History Museum.
- Eat incredible and fresh seafood, pasta and more at Café Rio.
- Enjoy an awesome meal with a great view at Sanderlings Restaurant.
- Go for a hike through Forest of Nisene Marks State Park.
- Indulge at the Bittersweet Bistro.
- Pop by the La Selva Library, which regularly hosts family-friendly events.
- See the ruins of the S.S. Palo Alto Concrete Ship.
- Shop for everything from souvenirs to fine art and pottery in Rio del Mar.
- Splash, swim and play at Rio del Mar beach.
Best Hotel In Downtown: Rio Vista Inn & Suites Santa Cruz
The Rio Vista Inn is our favourite hotel in Santa Cruz. It is ideally located at the heart of the city and is a quick walk to the restaurants, attractions and bars of the Downtown, the Boardwalk and Midtown neighbourhoods. It is comprised of 16 modern rooms with an excellent array of amenities and features.
Things To Do In Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is home to one of the oldest beachfront amusement parks on the west coast, located on the Beach Boardwalk. After loading up on sugar-coated doughnuts, take a ride on the Giant Dipper for an old-school American adrenaline rush.
For an action-packed day of sun, sand and sports, head to Twin Lakes State Beach where you can enjoy surfing, kayaking and sunset stand-up paddleboard classes. Afterwards, retire to the Crows Nest Restaurant to dine on fresh seafood fettuccine and delicious grilled dishes.
Downtown Santa Cruz is perfect for strolling around at a leisurely place. Hop from boutique shop to quirky cafe in search of the perfect souvenir or hire a bike to zip around the area like a local. For a sweet treat, head to the Santa Cruz Farmers Market to pick up some baked goods.
Seymour Marine Discovery Centre is an educational centre located next to Natural Bridges State Beach. Children and adults alike can wander around the interactive science exhibits and dip an arm into the aquariums touch pools. Make sure to get a picture in front of the large blue whale skeleton outside.
Recommended Reading: Where To Stay In Valdez
Stay At Fern River Resort Feels Like A Summer Camp
09 | 09 | 2019
Nestled behind Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, just off the ever meandering highway 9, lives Fern River Resort. Fern River is a charming gathering of cabins in the redwoods fit for large family vacations, weddings, or even just a romantic getaway for two. Fern River Resort was founded in 1929, years after a boulder containing
Do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDCs international travel recommendations for people who are not fully vaccinated.
Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some COVID-19 variants.
The COVID-19 situation, including the spread of new or concerning variants, differs from country to country. All travelers need to pay close attention to the conditions at their destination before traveling.
CDC will update these recommendations as more people get vaccinated, as rates of COVID-19 change, and as additional scientific evidence becomes available.
Best Airbnb In Downtown: Beautiful Apartment In Downtown
Furnished with an eye for detail, this Downtown Airbnb is the right place for visiting Santa Cruz for the first time. The beautiful interior design will make you feel comfortable and at home. Located in the best position, you wont have to walk far to the main hotspots youll definitely enjoy your time at this place.
Don’t Miss: Places To Stay In Puerto Escondido
Santa Cruz California Hotels
The Santa Cruz Inn hotel is located in the coastal town of Santa Cruz, California. Sitting on the Pacific Ocean, the hotel provides quick access to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a top-rated family attraction, as well as local state beaches, the Santa Cruz Pier, and the University of California Santa Cruz. The city is also world famous for the local ocean waves which allow for incredible surfing all year round.
Read Also: Places To Stay Near Winthrop Wa
Let A Local Plan Your Day
Colby Barr is a longtime Santa Cruz resident and co-founder of Santa Cruzs standoutVerve Coffee Roasters. He shared some of his favorite places on Santa Cruzs west side and beyond, including his pick for the citys unmissable scoops.
Close to the west side Verve location, there is a really cool retail space calledSawyer Land & Sea Supply. The owner, Stacy, has impeccable taste and style. She is friends with all the superstars in the surf culture, and she always has very nice surfboards, as well as cool art, ceramics, clothing, and things like that. Its kind of California bohème.
Just around the corner from Sawyer is one of the newest breweries to open in Santa Cruz, calledHumble Sea. Santa Cruz is a crazy place for breweries right now. There are a couple of real all-stars, and this is one of them. Were collaborating with them right now, using our coffee from Panama for a saison, and a Dubbel Belgian with our cascara . All of their beers have great aromatics and clarity, but their Juice Bag IPA is a real winner.
Read Also: Best Places To Stay In Ubud
Ocean Echo Inn & Beach Cottages
Near scenic Sunny Cove Beach, this charmingboutique hotel is located at the end of a quiet street and within earshot of the ocean. Offering a true getaway for couples looking to spend intimate time together, rooms at the Ocean Echo Inn range from cozy captain’s quarters to private beach cottages with great views of the ocean. Cottages at the hotel also feature fully equipped kitchens and personal patios.
Take A Ride On The Roaring Camp Train
This railroad offers two train rides, the Redwood Forest Steam Train and the Santa Cruz Beach Train. The Redwood Forest train is a 75-minute trip that travels through the forests, up the mountains to the town of Felton as the conductor narrates the story of Roaring Camp. The Beach Train, which returns in spring 2022, is a three-hour trip through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, along the San Lorenzo River, and down to the Beach Boardwalk. Kids 12 and under can join the Kids Club to earn fun prizes.
You May Like: Best Area To Stay In Key West Florida
Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay Koa
Located about 20 minutes outside the city, close to Watsonville, is the Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA. For lodging, choose from a variety of cabins, or go even fancier with a retro Airstream rental. You can also choose to stay in your own RV or camp in your own tent. The campground offers endless fun for kids, including mini golf, a giant bounce pad, a small arcade, and a rock-climbing wall.
Dont Miss: Places To Stay In Winthrop
Super 8 By Wyndham Santa Cruz/beach Boardwalk East
Near the banks of the San Lorenzo River, and a short walk from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, this budget-friendly hotel delivers a first-class stay. Rooms at this Super 8 feature a sleek and modern design with local art on the walls. Special features like a well-kept pool area, free continental breakfast, and sparkling clean rooms make the Super 8 tremendous value.
Also Check: Best Area To Stay In Houston For Tourists