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family activities in Santa Cruz
Things to Do

Santa Cruz Family Activities

family walking

Springtime Adventures in Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County attracts visitors of all ages. We've got the sun, we've got the beaches and we've got SO MUCH MORE! Below we've highlighted many of the Santa Cruz family acitivites...for kids or kids at heart each destination is well worth the time.

  • Visit Santa Cruz is our local visitor's center and offers plenty of insider knowledge of our beautiful county. LEARN MORE
  • Santa Cruz Visitors's Guide pick one up at the resort or request your copy here!
  • Santa Cruz Life offers locals and visitors top notch tips and the latest events hitting Santa Cruz County. LEARN MORE
  • Trekaroo & Things To Do - Check out there top 10 things to to in Santa Cruz! From shopping, to hiking to wildlife watching..all here in Santa Cruz.LEARN MORE

Boardwalk Fun, Santa Cruz Sun

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is open 7 days a week with rides and the casino arcade available for FUN!

Monterey Bay FREE Exploration Center

Just a short walk from the beach and Boardwalk is the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Exploration Center. Come learn about our local ecosystem and how our actions affect where we live and breathe.

kids on an amusement park ride
Seymour Marine Discovery Center

Seymour Marin Discovery Center

Take your family on a tour of a real marine research facility right here in Santa Cruz!  Pet sharks, gaze at moon jellies, and view a life size skeleton of a gray whale.  The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is dedicated to raising awareness about how to care for the world’s oceans and gives the public a chance to interacte with fun displays.

Redwood Canopy Tours

Redwood Canopy Tours

The Mount Hermon Canopy Tours are thrilling and awe-some! This is the perfect family adventure for those looking to getaway from the beach and looking for adventure...up 150 feet. The Redwood Canopy Tours include a zipline over a third of a mile long and two sky bridges. Click the link above for more details and height requirements.

Roaring Camp Railroads

Roaring Camp Railroads

Located  in the Santa Cruz mountains in the quaint town of Felton, Roaring Camp Railroads is home to fun, adventure for the whole family.  You can ride authentic steam locomotives that date all the way back to the late 1800s or take the Santa Cruz Beach train all the way to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (hint: this helps avoid parking and traffic).    Click the link above for more details and special events. Resort guests use promo code: HCHAMINADE for $2.00 off each ticket!

Beach Train - A 3-hour round trip ride, from Roaring Camp to the Beach Boardwalk.
Steam Train - A one-hour round-trip featuring a ride up Bear Mountain.
Roaring Camp also has special events throughout the year. Visit www.RoaringCamp.com for train schedules and more information.

Wilder Ranch State Park

Wilder Ranch State Park

Explore a historic coastal ranch, complete with horses, goats, and miles of hiking trails.  Wilder Ranch State Park is located just off highway 1, north of Santa Cruz.  Enjoy a "day in the life" of folks in 1880's, as you walk/bike through this historic ranch.  Choose between miles of flat coastal walking trails, or hike up the mountains toward UCSC.

MORE Family Friendly Santa Cruz Things To DO

family on the beach at sunset
  • Mystery Spot -  You can take a 45 minute tour of the Mystery Spot located just minutes from Chaminade Resort & Spa. Experience the world-wide phenomenon.
  • UCSC Arboretum - The UCSC Arboretum is home to hundreds of plant species from all around the world. Enjoy a peaceful walk through the gardens with a picnic lunch or stop in for an educational lesson.  
  • Whale Watching - Whale watch from a variety of fleets right here at the Santa Cruz Harbor. From May to November, look out for humpback whales, which make the Monterey Bay their feeding ground.  December through April, be prepared to see gray whales. Sailing charters include the graceful Chardonnay sail boats.
  • Natural History Museum - While heading to the beach stop off at our local natural history museum. Learn about native wildlife, sealife and local history.  Admission is free for kids under 18 and just $4 for adults...worth the visit and once you're done hop across the street to Seabright State Beach.