When travelling, it’s easy to get caught up in tourist traps and overrated attractions.
If you’ve ever seen the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen or the Manneken Pis in Brussels, then you know the feeling.
It’s hard to imagine, though, coming to a city like Santa Cruz and being underwhelmed in any sort of way. It’s undeniable that this city is amazing!
Although this is true, we want to make sure your vacation to Santa Cruz is the best it can possibly be. Here are the dos and don’ts of visiting Santa Cruz, CA:
Don’t Rule Out the Off-Season
There’s no doubt why everyone travels to California in the summertime—the weather is amazing and the outdoor activities are better than ever.
But alongside all the amazing things that summertime brings are the people.
And not just a few people—hoards of them.
The summer months are the most popular to visit Santa Cruz, which means the population practically doubles. So if you’re wanting a more relaxed vacation, consider coming in the off-season.
The off-season begins in late September when all of the kids go back to school for the year.
At this time, the weather drops a tad, though it’s still warm at an average of 60 degrees.
September to November is a great time to visit because of all the events that take place in the city. Santa Cruz plays host to plenty of festivals and celebrations during this time, such as the Capitola Art & Wine Festivals and the Santa Cruz County Fair.
December through February is still a fantastic time to visit, but prepare yourself for some rain.
West Cliff Drive is Santa Cruz’s Sunset Boulevard—a famous street known for its beauty and allure.
This drive winds along the cliffs in the west of Santa Cruz, giving it some of the best views in the city. While driving, you can watch over the glistening Pacific Ocean or enjoy the colorful sunsets that often visit the city.
Not only is this a great place to go for a drive, it’s also an exceptional spot to relax. Along the coastline you can find beaches that are practically hidden from the seasonal tourists. These beaches are quiet and serene—exactly what you want while on vacation.
West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz is also a great place to take Instagram photos. With its incredible backdrop, you’ll have all your followers in awe of your trip.
Don’t Visit Santa Cruz Beach in the Middle of Summer
There are so many reasons why Santa Cruz Beach (Main Beach) is so popular: it has a prime location, a vibrant boardwalk, and a white-sand beach.
But it’s probably best to steer clear of this beach in the middle of summer. This is because it transforms into a zoo.
Since so many locals and tourists head to this beach in the summer it’s practically impossible to have a relaxing day in the sun—that is if you can even find a spot to put your beach towel.
If you’re not interested in being a part of the action, head over to some of the city’s more secluded beaches, like Seabright Beach or the beaches along West Cliff Drive. These spots are sure to impress you with their beauty and quietness.
Do Adventure in the Redwood Forests
Santa Cruz is primarily known for its fantastic beaches, but its redwood forests are a close second.