Santa Cruz Harbor- What Are The Main Attractions?
A boater’s paradise is what Santa Cruz Harbor is. It has over a thousand slips that give way to the Monterey Bay and besides a marina full of attractive vessels; there is a bunch of recreation facilities at the sea including waterfront eateries. Sail through the activities below and see which of them floats your boat.
Marina Interpretive Walk- Take a 2 mile walk around the harbor while stopping at 12 interpretive stations where you get to know more about the local history, facts about the harbor, the ecosystem, nautical facts and even about fishing!
Sailboat Races- From April to October there are races by local sailors that begin at around 5:30pm. You’re free to watch them either from the restaurants at the harbor or from the beach or even from the ocean aboard the Chardonnay II.
Open Water Rowing- The Santa Cruz Rowing Club hosts open water rowing competitions as a way of promoting recreational activities.
Beaches- The Santa Cruz Harbor Beach is a lovely beach that starts east of the jetty across to Twin Lakes State Beach and has picture perfect views of the Walton Lighthouse among other fun beach activities. Another beach that surrounds the harbor is the Seabright State Beach.
Marine Life Viewing- The Santa Cruz Harbor being part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary that provides protection to diverse sea mammals and other sea life, allows for viewing of these wildlife. You can view the harbor seals from the shore, when lucky you can also see the giant kelp, whales and dolphins. Alternatively you can get in a boat and get closer to these sea mammals.
How To Enjoy Water Activities
Fishing and Sailing Charters- You do not need to own a boat to cruise around the sea. There are countless charter vessels lining the harbor that offer picturesque bay cruises, so whether you just want to enjoy a cruise or fish, or watch the whales and dolphins, the Santa Cruz Harbor has ensured this is possible. The Chardonnay II and the O’Neill Yacht Sea Life Viewing are some of the vessels you can charter (among many others).
Stand-Up Paddleboards and Kayaks- The Santa Cruz Harbor has provided a launch point for kayaks and other self-propelled watercrafts such as stand-up paddleboards. Paddle or cruise around the harbor or head towards the wharf to get a better view of the seals and sea otters as you cruise along the Santa Cruise Beach Boardwalk.
Eat and Drink- There are many restaurants at Santa Cruise Harbor where you can enjoy fresh sea food dishes. The Crow’s Nest is one popular spot that also has a bar and grill and hosts live music to accompany all that waterfront goodness. You can also try any other out of the many that are there.
Shopping- There is the beach market that stocks up on assortment of items from snacks to beach essentials and apparels, or coastal home décor pieces.
Santa Cruz Harbor has parking lot that’s open to the public at a small fee. However these slots can fill up quickly, therefore the earlier you get there during a busy season, the better.
There are also free parking spots around the Twin Lakes State Beach; they however require permits during summer.
Dogs are allowed but must be on leash and should never be left unattended.