Santa Cruz Beaches

Guide to the Best Santa Cruz Beaches

Natural Bridges, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz County is home to some of the best beaches on the West Coast.

Surfing?  Absolutely.

Tide pooling?  Check.

Miles of uninterrupted sand, and beautiful sunset views?  mmm hmmm.

Beach volleyball, Sand Castle Contests, Beach Concerts?  Got those too.

Nude Beaches?  Uh…

Guide to the Best Santa Cruz Beaches:

Santa Cruz beaches have something for everyone. Some are favorites with tourists due to proximity to hotels and shopping while others tend to be local favorites. Below you will find all the best Santa Cruz beaches. We’ve given you two options for navigating this post:

View on a Map

Santa Cruz Beaches Map

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Classic Beach Hangout: Seabright Beach

Seabright Beach

Seabright is the valedictorian of Santa Cruz beaches.

You know that kid who is just good at everything? Star of the basketball team and academic success, who aces the SAT, and somehow manages to look cool doing it?

Yup, that’s Seabright.

Seabright delivers on everything important in a beach. While it may not have the flashy attractions of the boardwalk or the unique wildlife of natural bridges, Seabright might just be the best classic beach hangout in town.

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Beaches and Bridges and Butterflies, Oh My!

Natural Bridges State Beach

Natural Bridges State Beach (Photo credit: karma17)

Looking for a great spot to watch the sunset, play in the waves, or see some local wildlife?

Natural Bridges State Beach is one of the best spots in Santa Cruz for doing all three.

As you watch the sun dip beneath the water, you might just spot a whale or a group of sea otters playing in the kelp.  If you are visiting during the day, head over to the tide pools or the eucalyptus grove full of monarch butterflies.

During the fall and winter months, you can see the thousands of migrating monarch butterflies that make Natural Bridges a famous destination for wildlife enthusiasts.

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