Santa Cruz travel guide

Santa Cruz Tourism | Santa Cruz Guide

You're Going to Love Santa Cruz

With a population of 59.946, Santa Cruz is a must-see destination in California, United States. It is one of the most popular cities to visit in the country. Santa Cruz deserves at least 2 full days for you to see its main sights.

Where to Eat in Santa Cruz

Downtown is the neighbourhood with the most restaurants in Santa Cruz. These include popular favourites such as Laili (101B Cooper St), Alderwood Santa Cruz (155 Walnut Ave) and Oswald (121 Soquel Avenue). If you’re looking for affordable options, Soif Wine Bar Restaurant (105 Walnut Avenue) and Johnny's Harborside (493 Lake Avenue) are great picks.

When to visit Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz in January
Estimated hotel price
$174
1 night at 3-star hotel
Santa Cruz in January
Estimated hotel price
$174
1 night at 3-star hotel

Looking for warm weather? Then head to Santa Cruz in July, when the average temperature is 17 °C, and the highest can go up to 24 °C. The coldest month, on the other hand, is January, when it can get as cold as 4 °C, with an average temperature of 10 °C. You’re likely to see more rain in January, when precipitation is around 157 mm. In contrast, July is usually the driest month of the year in Santa Cruz, with an average rainfall of 2 mm.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Santa Cruz

Plane

Although Santa Cruz doesn’t have its own airport, you can fly to Mineta San Jose Airport (SJC), which is located 44 km from Santa Cruz. The shortest flight to Santa Cruz from Australia departs from Melbourne and takes around 14h 15m.

Train

Amtrak is the only carrier operating train routes to Santa Cruz. The train journey from Santa Cruz to Sacramento takes 1h 37m and costs around $44 for a one-way ticket. When coming by train from Fresno, expect to pay about $38 for a 3h 58m trip. The train station in Santa Cruz is called Santa Cruz, and is located 0.6 km from the city centre.

Car

Another option to get to Santa Cruz is to pick up a car hire from San Francisco, which is about 97 km from Santa Cruz. You’ll find branches of Thrifty and Dollar, among others, in San Francisco.

Bus

You can travel by bus to Santa Cruz using FlixBus or Greyhound. From Reno, the bus ride to Santa Cruz takes 507 km and will cost you around $50. From Fresno, the ticket costs about $50 for a journey of 652 km.

Plane

Although Santa Cruz doesn’t have its own airport, you can fly to Mineta San Jose Airport (SJC), which is located 44 km from Santa Cruz. The shortest flight to Santa Cruz from Australia departs from Melbourne and takes around 14h 15m.

Train

Amtrak is the only carrier operating train routes to Santa Cruz. The train journey from Santa Cruz to Sacramento takes 1h 37m and costs around $44 for a one-way ticket. When coming by train from Fresno, expect to pay about $38 for a 3h 58m trip. The train station in Santa Cruz is called Santa Cruz, and is located 0.6 km from the city centre.

Car

Another option to get to Santa Cruz is to pick up a car hire from San Francisco, which is about 97 km from Santa Cruz. You’ll find branches of Thrifty and Dollar, among others, in San Francisco.

Bus

You can travel by bus to Santa Cruz using FlixBus or Greyhound. From Reno, the bus ride to Santa Cruz takes 507 km and will cost you around $50. From Fresno, the ticket costs about $50 for a journey of 652 km.

Airports near Santa Cruz

Airlines serving Santa Cruz

Lufthansa
Good (4,684 reviews)
KLM
Good (839 reviews)
SWISS
Good (962 reviews)
British Airways
Good (4,673 reviews)
Delta
Good (4,557 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (2,236 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (481 reviews)
Iberia
Good (1,603 reviews)
Air France
Good (982 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (2,114 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (4,990 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (2,405 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (6,062 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (228 reviews)
Finnair
Good (840 reviews)
LOT
Good (684 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (933 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (792 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (1,175 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (5,804 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Santa Cruz

Average rates range from around $543 per night for a double room in a 3-star hotel to $793 and up for a 5-star experience. If you’re on a budget, well-reviewed accommodations include Seaway Inn and Harbor Inn. There are also lots of holiday rental options in Santa Cruz, with prices from $157 to $846 per night. Downtown is the neighbourhood with the highest amount of rentals to choose from. On average, holiday rentals in Santa Cruz are about 186% more expensive than a hotel room in the city.

Where to stay in popular areas of Santa Cruz

Most booked hotels in Santa Cruz

Dream Inn Santa Cruz
4 stars
Excellent (8.7, Excellent reviews)
$614+
Hyatt Place Santa Cruz
3 stars
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
$323+
Casablanca Inn on The Beach
3 stars
Excellent (8, Excellent reviews)
$505+
Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection
4 stars
Excellent (8, Excellent reviews)
$348+
Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley
3 stars
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
$246+
Bay Front Inn Santa Cruz
2 stars
Good (6.8, Good reviews)
$171+

Hiring a car in Santa Cruz

Expect to pay $1.50 per litre in Santa Cruz (average price from the past 30 days). Depending on the size of your car hire, filling up the tank will cost between $17.92 and $23.89. The most frequently booked car type in Santa Cruz is Compact (Kia Soul or similar). If you’re looking to save money, though, keep in mind that Supplier choice car hire (Class Special Car or similar) is, on average, 66% cheaper than other car hire types in the city.

Expect to pay $1.50 per litre in Santa Cruz (average price from the past 30 days). Depending on the size of your car hire, filling up the tank will cost between $17.92 and $23.89. The most frequently booked car type in Santa Cruz is Compact (Kia Soul or similar). If you’re looking to save money, though, keep in mind that Supplier choice car hire (Class Special Car or similar) is, on average, 66% cheaper than other car hire types in the city.