The Not-As-Touristy Guide to Santa Cruz, CA

The Not-As-Touristy Guide To Santa Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz, California is an unofficial hippie capital and an absolutely beautiful place to spend some time away with family, friends, or significant others. Its close proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area makes it the ideal place to get away from the fast-paced city or soccer mom suburban lifestyle. While Santa Cruz is also somewhat suburban, its vibrant personality is refreshing to those from out of town. 

Santa Cruz is one of those places where you need to peel back its layers to see its true beauty and value. So many people, including Bay Area locals, only see what’s on the surface–the boardwalk, the beach, and hippies. But there is so much more to do and explore in the area.

In fact, I cringe a little when I overhear  people say, “What even is there to do in Santa Cruz?!” because my inner voice is screaming, “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!”

Having lived in Santa Cruz for a few years, I came to appreciate how this little place is able to have restaurants, parks, beaches, stores, and more for everyone. Depending on your own travel interests, Santa Cruz will definitely have something you want to see. 

For this particular guide, I will be pointing out both touristy and non-touristy places to check out. I feel by doing that, you, as a potential visitor, have the information you need to decide whether you want to go to the most popular locations or if you want to head to the spots as the locals. That’s why it’s titled the “Not-As-Touristy” Guide to Santa Cruz. 

Also, for this guide, I’m going to be breaking it out into different posts:

The reason for this is because there is a lot I’m including, and I don’t want to overwhelm you with one single post that has all the information. Organizing it this way will make it easier for you to reference, I hope. 

At the end of the series, I will also be posting a downloadable version of the guide (PDF!) that you can save to your smartphone or tablet. That way, you can search the guide with the information you need without using internet. Depending on where you are in Santa Cruz, say in the middle of a forest, you may not have cell phone service but may need to reference the guide. That’s where I’ve got your back, friend. 

I really hope you enjoy this series and if you have any places or suggestions to add, please feel free to leave them in the comments!


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