West Cliff Drive- What are The Main Attractions?

West Cliff Drive is an extremely popular destination filled with pristine and breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean that treat you to the scenic coast of Santa Cruz. It has about 3 miles of a path skirting and overlooking the sea; the path is wheelchair accessible and is great also for walks and bike rides. The beautiful path has benches that make for a perfect pit stop for anyone taking the 3 mile walk (or 6 if you’re doing the round trip)

It’s one of the points of interest in Santa Cruz for good reason. It has scenic stretches that begin from Natural Bridges State Beach all the way to Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf. In between you get to view the Lighthouse that is now the Santa Cruz Surfers Museum.

Ideal for the whole family including your four legged friends (who are required to be on leash) this site is ideal for joggers, walkers, skaters and bikers and is open and free to use year round.


West Cliff Drive offers you spectacular views of the entire Monterey Bay, Board walk and the renowned Steamer Lane. You also get to see the Big Sur mountain tops.

Wildlife- you’ll get mesmerized by the variety of wildlife here, a regular sighting can include whiskered sea otters, sea lions and brown pelicans. A lucky and more thrilling sighting can include gray whales, dolphins and humpbacks during their migrations.

Recreation- This is a perfect place where locals freely mix with visitors as they all stroll around while pushing babies in strollers or walking their dogs or carrying their surf boards and so on. You’ll find the Santa Cruz Dream Inn, the West Cliff Inn, Sea and Sand as well as the Seaway Inn as you get near the residential area. One thing that stands out here is the iconic longboard “To Honor Surfing” surfer statue that’s a favorite spot for people wanting to take selfies.

You can also stop by the Museum that’s inside the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse and get to learn a little history about how surfing became the official sport in California. Further after this spot is Mitchell’s Cove, an area that a favorite for dogs and their owners because it’s an off-leash area. It’s always a beautiful sight to see the dogs run up and down chasing balls.

Sights and Sunsets

There is a sandstone arch created by the wind and waves that rise from the sea. During low tide, you can be lucky to sight sea stars, sea anemones and crabs. But whatever you do, you’re guaranteed to enjoy some of the best views in California, including the sunsets.


If you wish to avoid crowding especially along the path, it’s recommended that you visit West Cliff Drive on a weekday; this also means it’s easier to find parking spots as compared to weekends. Parking fee can be paid at Santa Cruz Wharf or use the free parking slots on Swanton Boulevard close to Natural Bridges State Park or the Lighthouse Field State Beach.

Learn about Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk


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