Santa Cruz is ranked the second “Happiest” city in the nation and was named one of the World’s 20 Best Surf Towns by National Geographic in 2017.
Friends ~ Family ~ Community ~ Diversity ~ Art & Culture ~ Lifestyle ~ Nature ~ Sunshine ~ Education… Just a few of the words to describe this special community.
Surf world-class waves before breakfast at Pleasure Point; hike among giant redwoods in Nicene Marks Park mid-morning; then enjoy an organic gourmet lunch at one of the many Farmer’s Market’s; work on your PhD in Biomedical Engineering in the afternoon at UCSC; catch whales frolicking off the coast on West Cliff Drive; and then enjoy an incredible meal at the famous Gayle’s Bakery and a bit of local music in the evening in Capitola by the Sea.
Farmer’s Markets can be found in every neighborhood in the county, with a plethora of organic, local produce and flowers, homemade goods and one of a kind artisan treasures.
Because of the unique and rich culture Santa Cruz boasts, there are events happening every week of the year in this special city. Visitors and locals alike flock to The Art and Wine Festival, Begonia Festival, Wharf to Wharf Marathon, Hot Rods at the Beach, and the Santa Cruz Symphony, just to name a few. There’s something here for everyone!
Santa Cruz County has become a favorite to those who work in the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley. The relaxed, healthy, family-oriented lifestyle is what Santa Cruz is known for. It is a refreshing place to live and a wonderful community to raise a family.
While outdoor sports like surfing, sailing, paddle boarding, biking, hiking and whale watching are among some the favorite things to do, the city offers many entertainment and eatery options. Performance venues, such as the famous Catalyst, and restaurants fill up quickly all days of the week. Enjoy the Santa Cruz Symphony and Shakespeare in the Park which is highly acclaimed by all.
With Santa Cruz being one of the “Best Surf Towns” in the world there are a few “famous” surf spots worth mentioning…. Steamer Lane is on the Westside, a bit further north is acclaimed Maverick’s. On the Eastside of town, the famed Pleasure Point and The Hook. For those who are beginners or just want to take a dip in the blue sea, there are many spots such as Cowell’s and Capitola Beach that offer a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy all that this town has to offer. At Pleasure Point, you can see the home of legendary Jack O’Neill. Jack is the founder of the surf brand O’Neill and inventor of the wetsuit. Jack’s invention changed the world of water sports and he is an absolute icon of this town.
If you are a sailor or would like to take up sailing, the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor has its very own vibe! Home to some world-renowned sailors, sailboats and yacht builders. From Wednesday Night Sailboat Races, whale watching on the O’Neill Catamaran or Chardonnay Sailing Charter, to going on a fishing expedition on one of the many vessels in the harbor, you will find a friendly and adventurous vibe here.
The Beach Boardwalk seaside amusement park and The Wharf are popular attractions for locals and visitors year-round. The Mystery Spot, shopping along Pacific Avenue Downtown and Nicene Marks Park, a popular hiking and mountain biking area are also very popular places to visit. The Santa Cruz Mountains have spectacular hiking trails which afford spectacular sweeping views of the ocean, and the iconic, ancient redwood forests provide another natural habitat that the residents cherish and visitors gaze at in awe. There are way too many great places to mention, but local websites and the locals will help you explore more.
The beauty of Santa Cruz is that when you’re deciding how to spend your weekend, you don’t have to choose between the mountains or the beach – You can do both!
Santa Cruz County is located on California’s Central Coast, 65 miles south of San Francisco and 35 miles north of Monterey. It’s situated on the northern side of Monterey Bay, which is a protected marine sanctuary and hugged by redwood forested mountains. Santa Cruz County has 29 miles of spectacular beaches and an extraordinary number of state parks, 14 in all. Each offers a unique experience for locals and visitors alike. Just 30 minutes northeast of Santa Cruz you will find San Jose and Silicon Valley.
Another attraction to the area is its proximity to other places of interest along the California coast. Whale watch as you drive north on HWY 1 to the quaint town of Davenport. Further north, go antiquing in Pescadero, and then berry and pumpkin picking in Half Moon Bay. There is Wind and Kite surfing at Waddell Creek and big wave surfing at Mavericks, all on the coastal route to San Francisco. A 60+ mile stretch of scenic roadway which is serene and exhilarating!
Heading south on HWY 1, you can visit the agricultural beauty of the central coast where much of the world’s lettuce, strawberries, brussel sprouts and artichokes are grown. Minutes beyond these lush landscapes is Monterey, Carmel and Pacific Grove, known for its own beauty and home to Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Defense Language Institute and Carmel Mission. The Highway continues south along the spectacular coastline to Big Sur and beyond.
POPULATION AND CLIMATE
The city has a diverse population of 65,000+ residents. Santa Cruz has 300 days of sunshine annually in which to enjoy all that the quintessential coastal town offers. The summers are mild and pleasant, with temperatures in the mid-70s and 80s. Winter temperatures average low 60’s to mid-50’s. September and/or October will sometimes experience “Indian Summer”. Those days are extraordinarily beautiful and average temps are in the mid-80’s and higher. Average rainfall is 31 inches per year, with most of the rainfall occurring November through April.
HIGHLY RATED EDUCATION
Given the presence of UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz scored unsurprisingly high as an educational community. A highly rated public-school system includes nationally recognized public and charter high schools. Secondary school students can pursue a degree right at home, either at UCSC, which offers 65 undergraduate majors and 41 graduate programs, or the well-respected Cabrillo College. The kids here, young and old bike and skate to school. They surf or mountain bike and then they go to the beach. The lifestyle here for most is healthy and responsibly laid back.
The public transportation system has been robust for years and makes getting around town an ease.
VERY SHORT HISTORY
Santa Cruz County received its first visitors about 12,000 years ago according to extensive archaeological research. Since then…..from the Ohlone Tribe to Gold Rush settlers, people have come to find that the beaches and the picturesque surroundings are truly just the beginning of what Santa Cruz is all about. Our community’s architecture, natural resources, agricultural industry, arts, culture, and social diversity originate from a rich history worth learning more about!
Santa Cruz is at the intersection of Western culture, Eastern culture, and Surf culture, with a generous remembrance of the hippy movement. All the while, surrounded by beautiful nature, great beaches and surf. It all creates a bubble in which people can freely express themselves without limits. Santa Cruz has a sense of itself – there is a uniqueness to it, an identity that people can recognize.
It’s simply a wonderful city……Santa Cruz is an awesome place to live!
Visit www.santacruz.org to learn more about Santa Cruz