Best Outdoor Family-Friendly Adventure Spots In & Near Santa Cruz, CA

Whether you’re traveling with little ones or a large extended family, these spots are sure to be adventure-worthy and guaranteed fun in the sun for everyone! 

The picturesque beach town of Santa Cruz, California is known as an epicenter of leisure for both tourists and locals alike, conveniently nestled amongst the California coast. Families and individuals of all ages commute to Santa Cruz for its friendly ambience, rich natural landscape, and iconic tourist destinations. In this blog post, we will be listing out some of the top outdoor, family-friendly destinations in and near the city of Santa Cruz. Without further ado, let’s get started!

  • Known by multiple names, including Lincoln’s Beach or 14th Avenue Beach, Black’s Beach is a serene mile-long stretch of coastal bliss within Twin Lakes State Park. It is ideal for water activities of all sorts, including surfing, swimming, and even boogieboarding. While surfing here is extremely popular during high swells, it is also an ideal spot for family outings and includes amenities such as water faucets and restrooms in order to keep this destination convenient for families. 
  • This beloved spot is located in Capitola Village and boasts gentle surf, swimming, and volleyball, as well as a plethora of local shops. The Capitola landscape is unique and gorgeous, featuring hues reminiscent of the Mediterranean coast. This beach is also a short walk to the Capitola Wharf, where families can sit and take in the stunning views of the Monterey Bay. Popular outdoor activities at this beach include but are not limited to surfing, kite flying, fishing, sand castle building, and even simply taking a stroll and enjoying the salty air. Surf and outdoor sport equipment can be rented from the nearby shops in Capitola Village. When you’re ready to retreat for the evening, Capitola Village offers a robust selection of eateries, shops, and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy! 
  • This redwood grove is the only remaining old-growth grove in the Santa Cruz area. The 0.9 mile loop trail is considered to be a fairly easy hike and suitable for all ages to enjoy. On average, the trail takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and is a popular destination for hiking, birding, and camping alike. In addition, the state park surrounding this redwood grove showcases the natural beauty of the Santa Cruz region with its lush meadows, dense vegetation, and over 15 miles of additional trails that are suitable for equestrian use, biking, walking, and hiking. 
  • Located atop a scenic bluff in the Live Oak area of Santa Cruz, Pleasure Point Park provides exhilarating views of Santa Cruz’s sweeping oceans. Spectators can watch the surf and the tides from beaches and picnic tables located at the viewpoint. This is a perfect family destination for picnicking or just relaxing with family after a day soaking up the sights of Santa Cruz! 

While this list is by no means exhaustive, we hope that this blog post has provided you with inspiration for your next trip to Santa Cruz. Whether you are a local or a tourist, these spots are sure to show you the innate beauty of Santa Cruz and the California coast and give your family something to cherish in their memories forever! Have you been to or plan to go to any of these spots? Let us know in the comments below! Be sure to take your SOULBUDDY hats along on the adventure too! As always, be sure to follow us on Instagram @soulbuddyhats for travel and adventure tips, and be sure to tag us in your posts across social media with #soulbuddyhats so we can see how you style your SOULBUDDY gear! 

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