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A Guide To The Best Attractions in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California, is a unique city that’s home to charming boardwalks, stunning natural forests, and numerous beautiful beaches. A small population of around 70,000 people live here, and they don’t mind sharing it. Santa Cruz is located north of Monterey Bay and about 75 miles south of San Francisco. There are a variety of sights to see and adventures to experience, making it fun for the whole family. Santa Cruz is well-known for its mild climate, freshest seafood, scenic coastal beauty, and alternative lifestyle. says the HuffPost.

santa cruz beach boardwalk

The Mystery Spot

The Mystery Spot is an illusion-based attraction in Santa Cruz that opened in 1941.

You’ll learn through demonstrations that the laws of physics don’t apply.

Some of the many presentations include seeing people standing at a slant and water flowing uphill.

It’s situated on a gravity hill providing a tilt-induced optical illusion.

When you enter the tilted room, you’ll be surprised at the misconceptions of orientation and height.

The Beach Boardwalk

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a favorite oceanfront amusement park.

It’s home to historic landmarks, the Looff Carousel, and the wooden roller coaster, the Giant Dipper.

The Looff Carousel allows riders to grab and toss rings into a clown’s mouth as they slowly spin around.

You can also keep a brass ring as a souvenir.

The boardwalk was built in 1907 and overlooks Main Beach.

There are over 40 rides to enjoy and concession stands that sell kettle corn, churros, deep-fried Twinkies, funnel cakes, and much more!

Head over to the indoor arcade Neptune’s Kingdom, where you can play miniature golf and win toys and prizes.

Santa Cruz is still a vibrant city when the winter hits.

September holds the Boardwalk Bites and Brews event, and there’s the Chili Cook-Off in October.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is located between Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz, California.

It was established in 1954 and consists of over 4,500 acres of the beautiful park.

You’ll see several big leaf maple trees, tanbark oaks, California bay laurels, mixed evergreens, coast Douglas fir, California hazelnut, old coast redwood, and several stream canyons.

The tree species change as the elevation rises to provide a variety of wildlife and terrain.

Families and nature lovers alike enjoy fishing, swimming, biking, hiking, bird watching, camping, and shopping at the Mountain Parks Nature Store.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a paradise for everyone who visits.

Where To Stay

Forbes shares Santa Cruz County offers lodging options for every traveler and budget.

There are seaside resorts, charming inns, vacation rentals, rustic campgrounds, friendly motels, boardwalk Santa Cruz hotels, full-service, and boutique hotels.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional hotel for a business conference or bed and breakfast for a romantic getaway, Santa Cruz has it.

Hyatt Place Santa Cruz blends in perfectly with the surf culture and the laid-back, coastal feel that Santa Cruz is all about.

We love the location and history of the Dream Inn in Santa Cruz

Hyatt Place is an affordable family getaway decorated with waves and surf-themed artwork reminding you of the bay.

Enjoy the hot tub, heated pool, and over 100 rooms that include a cozy living area with a sofa bed.

During your stay, you can wake up to a fresh breakfast served every day.

Visit the Hyatt website to find out more and book your room.

About Julee: Julee Morrison is an experienced author with 35 years of expertise in parenting and recipes. She is the author of four cookbooks: The Instant Pot College Cookbook, The How-To Cookbook for Teens, The Complete Cookbook for Teens, and The Complete College Cookbook. Julee is passionate about baking, crystals, reading, and family. Her writing has appeared in The LA Times (Bon Jovi Obsession Goes Global), Disney's Family Fun Magazine (August 2010, July 2009, September 2008), and My Family Gave Up Television (page 92, Disney Family Fun August 2010). Her great ideas have been featured in Disney's Family Fun (Page 80, September 2008) and the Write for Charity book From the Heart (May 2010). Julee's work has also been published in Weight Watchers Magazine, All You Magazine (Jan. 2011, February 2011, June 2013), Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine (Oct. 2011), Red River Family Magazine (Jan. 2011),, and more. Notably, her article "My Toddler Stood on Elvis' Grave and Scaled Over Boulders to Get to a Dinosaur" made AP News, and "The Sly Way I Cured My Child's Lying Habit" was featured on PopSugar. When she's not writing, Julee enjoys spending time with her family and exploring new baking recipes.
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