Staycation Santa Cruz: your guide to living the tourist life without the hassle and limited expense


Disappointed that you weren’t able to plan that summer vacation you now feel like you can finally take? We understand.

But as Dorothy said, “There is no place like home.” And for those of us fortunate enough to live in a major travel destination, that has the added benefit of being true.

During COVID, it was sometimes easy to forget that Santa Cruz is a tourist town – the number of visitors was somewhat limited. While those positive moments have come with an expiration date and you can feel the crowds returning, a local still has the option of channeling their inner tourist – if we allow ourselves to unplug it completely and schedule it.

And that’s a big if. But think about it: a vacation brings all the benefits of a vacation without the hassle.

Sea lions on the Santa Cruz wharf.

(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Whether you’re strolling the pier and gazing at sea lions, exploring different trails on foot or by bike, or practicing yoga or Pilates on the beach, suddenly there is so much more to choose from than we do. had none at this time last year.

So if you still think it’s too early to take a vacation, or if you just haven’t been able to plan one, rejoice in all the vacation Santa Cruz has to offer.

Here are some sample itineraries, so you can see how you can actually plan an entire day with a vacation mindset. But then take your pick from the guide below and plug in your favorites to customize your own adventure.


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