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Scotts Valley



1414 Soquel Ave., Ste100
Santa Cruz, CA, 95062


City of Santa Cruz


The surfing Mecca and long-time beach resort community of Santa Cruz perched on the scenic north shore of Monterey Bay offers a welcoming climate (daytime averages for summer in the 70s and for winter in the 50s) and a political climate that is the most liberal and progressive in the county. The Santa Cruz community enjoys many natural and cultural attractions, including the Natural Bridges State Beach and the historical Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Amusement Park.


Location & Flavor

The City of Santa Cruz is located about 74 miles south of San Francisco on the Monterey Bay. Santa Cruz is famous (or notorious) for its liberal and progressive activism. It was the first city council to officially oppose the Iraq war.



Santa Cruz hosts a progressive school system, including the University of California's Santa Cruz campus. For many years the University refused organized sports, and even to this day, holds to its mascot, the banana slug, an inhabitant of the nearby Redwood forests where many Santa Cruz residents hike and camp.

Santa Cruz is also progressive in its agricultural practices (it is the center of the organic agriculture movement) and its infrastructure, which includes an extensive network of bike paths and bike lanes to accommodate its many bicyclists.
Principal industries in Santa Cruz include agriculture, tourism, education (the university) and high technology.



Activities & Attractions

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is California's oldest amusement park and a State Historic Landmark. Residents and visitors also enjoy the Santa Cruz Wharf, and the downtown Pacific Garden Mall with its historic Victorian buildings, locally owned businesses, and street performers.

The natural beauty of Santa Cruz includes the Natural Bridges Park on Santa Cruz Beach is named after the scenic rock formation that we see on so many post cards and travel brochures. The state park is also world-renowned for its monarch butterflies. Here you can see literally thousands of monarchs on any given day during their peak migration season here (usually mid-October to late January).

The beach is also a popular spot for viewing shore and ocean birds, migrating gray and humpback whales, and the seals and otters that play just offshore in the protected waters of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Several species of birds can also be viewed here. 

Tide pooling is another favorite activity here in the Natural Bridges Park where low tides reveal sea stars, crabs, sea anemones, and other colorful ocean life. In the spring, Santa Cruz' bright native wildflowers decorate the scrub meadows in the Park where Moore Creek flows, creating wetlands that are another outstanding place for birding.

Popular water sports include windsurfing, sailing, diving, swimming and sea kayaking, and then there is of course the surfing. Santa Cruz offers 11 world-class surf breaks, as well as gentle surf and lessons for beginners and a rich history of surfing as evidenced at the fun Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. Among the best resources of the Surfing Museum are the docents – many have actually been surfing Santa Cruz since the 1930s.



At the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum we learn that Santa Cruz is actually the birthplace of California surfing. It all started when members of the Hawaiian monarchy visited in 1885 and surfed a break at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River on long, redwood boards.


Historical Tidbits

Santa Cruz also has a rich pueblo history and is home to the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, the site of Misión la Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz, the 12th mission founded in California. The original mission crumbled in 1867 as a result of damages sustained over the years from earthquakes; however, the lovely, single-story Neary-Rodriguez Adobe that was built in 1791 has been restored to its original appearance.