Add your Property   |   Property Log In   |   Subscribe to our Newsletter
image box

Featured Destination

Albuquerque, NM

Among many other things, the American Southwest is famous for its adventure, its spirit of fun, and its beautiful scenery. Nowhere do all these things come together like on a family vacation in Albuquerque, New Mexico...

bottom panel image
top panel image

Travel Tips

  • Travel Safety -- From keeping your cash safe to avoiding slipping on rocks!
  • Health Tips -- Things to think about and how to get help when you need it.
  • Age Groups -- Tips for traveling with babies, toddlers, teens, and grandparents
  • Vacation Planning Tips -- Great family-friendly ideas for trip planning, packing and travel.
  • Pet Friendly Travel -- Search for pet friendly accommodations where ever you are going.
bottom panel image

Santa Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz is often valued for its location; tucked between the north and central coast of California, Santa Cruz has a mild climate, miles of sandy beaches, and a coastal redwood system that is hauntingly beautiful. But Santa Cruz offers family vacationers much more than just an ideal location, Santa Cruz is a family vacation paradise! From old fashioned carnival games to surf lessons, a Santa Cruz family vacation combines a love for modern amusements with the best of the outdoors. In Santa Cruz there is never a choice between the city and the rural life: both are essential parts of a Santa Cruz family vacation. Every member of the family will love a Santa Cruz family vacation; your family will tell stories and remember anecdotes of your family vacation for years. You’ll find that smiles and laughter come naturally on a Santa Cruz family vacation.

Santa Cruz Beaches

Visiting the Santa Cruz beaches is a major part of a Santa Cruz vacation. There are different kinds of beaches to explore on a Santa Cruz family vacation; some have coastal bluffs and rough water that make for a perfectly picturesque hike. Other beaches are tamer and better suited to families with young children. Both are worth visiting on a Santa Cruz family vacation. Greyhound Rock Beach is a perfect example of Mother Nature’s wild side; with coastal access, tide pools and nature trails, this beach is the perfect place for family vacationers to see the beautiful California coast in all its glory. For a fun beach time, Main Beach is the place for family vacationers to find a peaceful escape for an afternoon: this beach offers family vacationers beach volleyball, surfing lessons and lots of swimming opportunities. In the summer, parents will like that there are lifeguards to help keep an eye on the little ones. For family vacationers who want to have a dose of ecology on their Santa Cruz beach trip, then Natural Bridges State Beach is the home to beautiful monarch butterflies. There are also low-tide tidepools teeming with marine life for families to explore. There are other ocean activities for Santa Cruz family vacationers to enjoy as well; sailing and kayaking are popular, as is a visit to the Santa Cruz Harbor, which is a full service marina that includes boat rentals, whale watching, restaurants and a beach.

Santa Cruz Outdoor Adventures

Family vacationers will discover that the beautiful setting of Santa Cruz lends itself to lots of opportunities for the family to get out and explore the outdoors. The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is a great place for family vacationers to start: this museum has an aquarium, a touch tank and the largest blue whale skeleton in the world; all in a location that offers breathtaking vistas. For family vacationers who enjoy wildlife viewing, Neary Lagoon, a wildlife refuge area, is a great place to visit. A bonus for families is the small play structure. Neary Lagoon also has trails for family vacationers to hike around. A spot that may initially appeal more to the adults than the children on a Santa Cruz family vacation is the Arboretum at UCSC. Take your children to this anyway; this is a world famous public garden that is not to be missed and the kids will enjoy the wide variety of plants from as far away as Australia. For Santa Cruz family vacationers who want to discover the coastal redwoods that have become such an iconic part of the area, then Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a great destination. With 2,000 year old redwoods and over 80 miles of trails, this will be a highlight on your Santa Cruz family vacation. The Mystery Spot is another great outdoor attraction on a Santa Cruz family vacation; this gravitational anomaly startles and challenges traditional perceptions of gravity and is an awesome place to take pictures.

Santa Cruz Family Activities

Santa Cruz is the perfect destination for a family vacation because of the breadth of family activities it offers to family vacationers. For an educational experience loaded with fun, family vacationers should head over to nearby Watsonville and visit the Agricultural History Project Museum. This museum includes exhibits and equipment that showcases the rich agricultural history of the area and includes specific activities that the children on the Santa Cruz family vacation will enjoy. Another great place to take a family on a Santa Cruz family vacation is the Aptos Farmers Market at local Cabrillo College. This farmers market is the largest in the area and has over 80 vendors. This is a lively event that everyone will enjoy on the Santa Cruz family vacation; live music and delicious food is the norm. The Roaring Camp Railroads is another family-friendly attraction that will please family members of all ages. This 1880s steam train will take your family through the redwoods and beaches of Santa Cruz. Kids are notorious train lovers, and this one will not disappoint!

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is the premier activity on a Santa Cruz family vacation. Old-fashioned and charming with its long wooden sidewalks, Ferris wheels and carnival games, kids and adults alike will find the corners of their mouths turned upwards as they take off on the exciting roller coasters and try sweet, gooey delicacies. The parents on a Santa Cruz family vacation will love that admission to the boardwalk is free, and that there is a sandy beach just below the boardwalk that beckons for sunbathing and frolicking in the water. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a great place for families to have a meal on their family vacation; noisy kids are never a problem at the wide variety of eateries. Local favorites include Surf City Grill, whose specialty is fried artichokes, and Fishermans Galley, which has wine margaritas for moms and dads.

Downtown Santa Cruz

Downtown Santa Cruz is a fun and exciting place for families to head to on a Santa Cruz family vacation. Historic and a little bit kitschy, everyone in the family will love downtown Santa Cruz. For a little culture, the Santa Cruz symphony performs at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, but there are plenty of cool things for family vacationers to explore just out on the streets. Street performers abound and interesting museums dot the area. For family vacationers who want to catch a movie, the Nickelodeon and Del Mar Theatres are historic theaters that show current movies. Zacharys Restaurant is a downtown restaurant that is popular with family vacationers because of its laid back atmosphere and affordable menu (and delicious food!). Another popular restaurant to try on your Santa Cruz family vacation is the Walnut Avenue Café; you might find yourself waiting in line for a table, but the food is definitely worth the wait! For a laid back dining experience in downtown Santa Cruz, Zoccolis Delicatessen is the place for family vacationers to go: cozy and humble, the sandwiches and other homemade foods that come from here are perfect for beachside picnics.

Santa Cruz is ideal for a family vacation. Both affordable and fun, Santa Cruz will thrill every member of the family with its wealth of varied activities; from beach combing to hiking to riding roller coasters, a Santa Cruz family vacation offers it all!


image box

Family Lodging Search

Search By City, Name, or Keyword


ex: Santa Fe, NM

top panel

Featured Property

Forest Suites Resort
South Lake Tahoe, CA
United States

Nestled in an intimate alpine environment just steps away from year-round recreation activities, a few minutes walk from casinos, and blocks from the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe.

Forest Suites Resort

Contact Information

One Lake Parkway
South Lake Tahoe, California  96150
United States
Toll Free Reservations:
General Manager:
Matt Fenn
havelinkVisit Our Web Site
View Full Listing

Visit Pamela Lanier Web Site Visit Lanier Bed and Breakfast Web Site Visit Elegant Small Hotels Web Site Visit Travel Guides Web Site