Beach Walking Tour (Self Guided), Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is home to many beautiful and unique beaches. You will find the major part of the tourists and locals on the sunny beaches, some are surfing, some are enjoying an ice-cream on the Boardwalk, everybody has fun here. Take this amazing tour to discover the best attractions along the beaches of Santa Cruz.
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Beach Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Beach Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Santa Cruz (See other walking tours in Santa Cruz)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: karenl
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
  • Neptune's Kingdom
  • La Bahia Apartments
  • Ideal Bar & Grill
  • Santa Cruz Wharf
  • The Surfer Statue
  • Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
  • Lighthouse Field State Beach
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

1) Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (must see)

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is an oceanfront amusement founded in 1907, it is California's oldest surviving amusement park and one of the few seaside parks on the West Coast of the United States.

The eastern end of the boardwalk is dominated by the Giant Dipper roller coaster, one of the best-known wooden coasters in the world and one of the most visible landmarks in Santa Cruz. The Dipper and the Looff Carousel, which still contains its original 342-pipe organ built in 1894, are both on the US National Register of Historic Places. They were, together, declared to be a National Historic Landmark in 1987 and the park is California Historical Landmark also.

Old-fashioned carnival games and snack booths can be found throughout the 24-acre (9.7 ha) park. The beach was a destination for railroads and trolleys since 1875; a short passenger service to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park was restored in 1985.

It has won the Best Seaside Amusement Park Award from Amusement Today in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Although there is no admission and the beach is public, parking is charged a fee when the rides are open.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Neptune's Kingdom

2) Neptune's Kingdom (must see)

Located on the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, this center provides entertainment for family, friends and kids. Historically, the building was the location of the Water Carnival and had a huge indoor pool, but in 1963 it was transformed into a mini golf course. The upstairs Captain's Game Deck is loaded with pool tables, hockey, arcade games, snacks, foosball and cold beer, and downstairs is the place for video games and pinball machines. If you are just a tourist of Santa Cruz, make sure to go upstairs and visit the gallery with old pictures and displays of what Neptune's used to be.
La Bahia Apartments

3) La Bahia Apartments

A quiet relic of 1920s Spanish architecture, La Bahia Apartments is famous for its white walls and a great view of the beach from its apartments. Here the visitors can inhale the fresh air that fill La Bahia's outdoor courtyard and admire the fountain bubbles between a blossoming flower garden. There were and persist to be many disputes on living the La Bahia as it is or re-construct it in a modern hotel. Here you'll inhale the fresh air that fill La Bahia's outdoor courtyard and admire the fountain bubbles between a blossoming flower garden.
Ideal Bar & Grill

4) Ideal Bar & Grill

Located on the left side of the entrance to the Santa Cruz Wharf, the Ideal Bar and Grill is ideal through its inside and outside dining and its great views of Monterey Bay, West Cliff and the Boardwalk. Ideal also has an espresso bar, restaurant and cafe where you can enjoy cappuccino, fresh croissants or even Mexican food. They have everything and the food style is American with a Hawaiian twist. It is a great place to meet out of town for a drink, outstanding food, low prices, excellent customer service and beautiful views of the beach and boardwalk; keeps you feeling warm and safe.
Santa Cruz Wharf

5) Santa Cruz Wharf (must see)

Built in 1914, the Santa Cruz Wharf is famous for its restaurants, gift shops, fishing, dining and boat tours that cater mostly to tourists. The scenic Santa Cruz wharf is the best place for enjoying events and the most popular attraction is the seals. Rent a fishing pole, learn to surf, sail, visit the local artist shop or just enjoy shopping at many boutiques and fresh fish markets. They can also arrange for pier fishing and whale watching from the wharf. Santa Cruz Wharf is the best seal viewing area and the best place to enjoy seafood while taking in the ocean view.
Sight description based on wikipedia
The Surfer Statue

6) The Surfer Statue (must see)

Located not far from Surfing Museum, the Surfer Statue represents a surfer with a surf board behind it; it is a famous location in this town consecrated to all the surfers from California. The memorial represents the surfing spirit of the town and the protected Monterey Bay shelter. The iron statue is a great spot for locals and tourists to watch top surfers catching waves. Definitely one of the best attractions for those who seek adventure.
Santa Cruz Surfing Museum

7) Santa Cruz Surfing Museum (must see)

The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum is a museum which documents the history of surfing, with collections dating back to the earliest years of surfing on mainland United States. Located in the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse at Lighthouse Point on West Cliff Drive, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum opened its doors in June 1986 as the first surfing museum in the world. The lighthouse was built in 1967 as a memorial to surfer Mark Abott, who died while surfing at the nearby Pleasure Point surf break.

Overlooking the Steamer Lane surfing hotspot, this little museum features photographs, surfboards, and videos tracing over 100 years of surfing history in Santa Cruz. After funding cuts in 2009, the Santa Cruz Surfing Club Preservation Society and private donations kept the museum open.

Introduced in 1885 by three Hawaiian princes who surfed the mouth of the San Lorenzo River on plank boards, surfing has permeated every facet of the Santa Cruz community. A plaque was dedicated to the princes: David Kawānanakoa, and Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole in April 2010.

Examples of surfboards from each era are on display, from the huge hollow paddle boards and redwood planks made and ridden in the 1930s and 1940s to examples of early foam and fiberglass boards, and speedy short boards used to create radical new surf moves beginning in the 1970s.

The museum contains the current Santa Cruz Light, marking Point Santa Cruz on the west side of Santa Cruz Harbor. The light was allocated funding by congress in 1852, but disputes over the owner of the land meant that construction did not proceed until 1868.

Operation hours: Summer Hours (July 4 - Labor Day): 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (closed Wednesdays)
After Labor Day Hours: Noon - 4:00 p.m. (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays).
Sight description based on wikipedia
Lighthouse Field State Beach

8) Lighthouse Field State Beach

Located along West Cliff Drive, Lighthouse Beach is home to California's first surfing museum and a wonderful spot for our tour; it is relaxing and fun. Being a protected beach, it is a good region for those who love lakes and it has amazing landscapes for your viewing happiness as well as great spots to watch crazy surfers. This area is popular for tourists and locals because of the beautiful birds, Monarch butterflies and a spot for "Caroling Under the Stars," organized each Christmas. Lighthouse Field State Beach is splendid enough to spend your vacation here.

Walking Tours in Santa Cruz, California

Create Your Own Walk in Santa Cruz

Create Your Own Walk in Santa Cruz

Creating your own self-guided walk in Santa Cruz is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Specialty Shops Walk

Specialty Shops Walk

Santa Cruz is home to an appealing variety of gifts, antiques and specialty shops. Stroll through Santa Cruz’s best shops on your own or check your favorite Santa Cruz store on this tour. Downtown Santa Cruz has the key to the best shopping experience, with over 200 original stores and shops. It's all here, don't miss it.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 Km or 0.4 Miles
Museums Walking Tour

Museums Walking Tour

Before you set out on your trip to Santa Cruz, the following are top museums worth visiting. These museums tell their stories through photographs, history, art, surfboards and other related items. Take this tour to discover the natural history and best museums in this city.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 Km or 3.1 Miles
Santa Cruz Introduction Walking Tour

Santa Cruz Introduction Walking Tour

Owing to its coastal location in Central California, Santa Cruz is largely regarded as the birthplace of U.S. surfing. Other than that, the city's main attraction is a long wharf stretching far into Monterey Bay, packed with eateries and shops. Those in favor of vintage entertainment will find it in plenty at the nearby Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, featuring the 1911 Looff Carousel and the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 Km or 2.8 Miles
Historical Churches

Historical Churches

Santa Cruz is the biggest city of Santa Cruz County, California. Santa Cruz has a lot of beautiful churches and religious centers. Even though Orthodox and Catholic churches predominate, there are also Moslem, Jewish and Buddhist communities. Take this tour to learn about the most famous religious buildings and get a sense of the spiritual life of Santa Cruz.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Capitola District Walking Tour

Capitola District Walking Tour

Capitola is an intimate beach village situated Santa Cruz County on the Monterey Bay, and is home to different interesting galleries, restaurants, museums and specialty shops. Located an hour from San Francisco, Capitola is full of great traditions and interesting history. It is the perfect place where Begonia Festival fascinates tourists every weekend, along with live music and sand castle...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles