Places to Surf in Santa Cruz

If you are an avid surfer and are looking to spend your summer catching some waves and bathing in beautiful sunshine, consider venturing to Santa Cruz. Here, you will have no problem meeting fun and interesting people. Explore the flooded streets day or night, and discover some of the best places to surf in Santa Cruz in California. When the sun goes down, have a drink at some of the most popular nightclubs in the country, such as The Catalyst.

Best Places to Surf in Santa Cruz, California

This particular nightclub showcases well-known musical acts on a regular basis. When a live act is not performing, some of the most reputable DJ’s come to take their place. If you find, The Catalyst interesting you might also want to check out The Blue Lagoon, or dance with your significant other on the dance floor of another popular club in Santa Cruz called, Motiv.

Best Places to Surf in Santa Cruz: Crack the Lip at Santa Cruz California USA Surfing Surfer
Crack the Lip at Santa Cruz: Photo on Flickr by Steven Tyler PJs / CC BY-ND 2.0

What is Surfing in Santa Cruz Like?

The reason people call Santa Cruz “surf city” is because it offers incredible waves, that would peak the interest of surfers on every level. If you are new to surfing, Santa Cruz has plenty of beaches that will accommodate the needs of any beginner. If you are a more advanced surfer, you should be happy to learn that there are a number of local spots, which offer some of the most dangerous surf on the planet. You are welcome to surf at any of these beaches listed below:

Cowell Beach

If you are new to surfing, Cowell Beach is a great place to learn. Professional surfers recommend Cowell Beach for new surfers, because it offers textbook waves for longboarding.

Surfing Cowells Beach Santa Cruz California USA
Surfing Cowells Beach: Photo on Flickr by Richard Masoner / CC BY-SA 2.0

Capitola Beach

This beach is also considered a great beach for beginners. If you have children interested in the sport, this beach is perfect due to its gentle waves. Another good thing about this beach for beginners is that it offers more privacy than some of the more popular beaches provide.

Best Places to Surf in Santa Cruz: Surfer Capitola Beach Santa Cruz California
Capitola Beach: Photo on Flickr by Prosideo of Monterey / CC BY-NC 2.0

Steamer Lane

Unlike the two beaches listed above, Steamer Lane is one of the more hazardous places to surf (advanced surfers only). Even though these waves might be too dangerous for newcomers to the sport, it is still fascinating to watch the professionals take on the water. When the swell is up, Steamer Lane is famous for having the most dangerous surf in all of Santa Cruz County.

Rock n Roll Float Steamer Lane Santa Cruz California USA Surfer
Rock n Roll Float at Steamer Lane: Photo on Flickr by Stephen Tyler PJs / CC BY-ND 2.0

Moss Landing

If you are not a beginner, but not quite an expert at surfing, this is the perfect beach for you. At Moss Landing, you want have to stomach as much localism as you would at beaches like Steamer Lane or another popular beach called, The Hook. Moss Landing offers privacy as well as some incredible rides. The most thrilling surf can be had near the harbor entrance.

Stormy Surf & Sunset at Moss Landing Santa Cruz California USA in Winter
Stormy Surf & Sunset at Moss Landing in Winter: Photo on Flickr by Jerry Burke / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Explore the City and Free Entertainment

If you are afraid of spending an arm and a leg to visit Santa Cruz, cast your fears aside. This city offers plenty of free outdoor activities including the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. This attraction is most beautiful at night because of its magnificent lighting.

Sun's Still Shining When I Close My Eyes Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk California USA
Sun’s Still Shining When I Close My Eyes on Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: Photo on Flickr by Thomas Hawk / CC BY-NC 2.0

If you love wildlife, there is no shortage to be seen at Natural Bridges State Park. If you appreciate nature and want to observe beauty at its finest, make sure visit this site during the fall. Visitors come from all over the world to see the Monarch butterflies migrate.

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly: Photo on Flickr by Nagarajan Kanna / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A Great Location for a Family Road Trip

If you have never seen the West Coast or are looking for amazing waves to surf or you just want to have fun with your family in a place not like anywhere else on earth, Santa Cruz is a great place to explore with lots to do. It offers fun activities for people of all ages and the weather is as close to perfect as possible. Some of the most famous landmarks, attractions and activities are completely free of charge or low cost. Consider visiting Santa Cruz if you plan on taking a road trip or vacationing.

About Jason Mueller


Jason is a hard working Canadian entrepreneur currently living in Costa Rica who lives to travel and meet new people. When he is not behind the screen of a computer working you can find him out on an adventure somewhere.

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