fun to do kids santa cruz california   Travel for Kids
united states
  | California | Central Coast

Santa Cruz

santa cruz lighthouse
Santa Cruz is a classic California beach town, with sand beaches, perfect for playing in the sand, boogie boarding and surfing. It's a great place to grab the kids and go for the weekend, or you can easily spend a long vacation in summer – building sand forts, riding roller coasters high above the waves, exploring the tidepools at Natural Bridges or hiking or riding a stream train through the redwoods.
Santa Cruz Photo Album
  Central Santa Cruz - Beach Boardwalk
  Into the Redwoods
  Around Santa Cruz - North
    Around Santa Cruz - South
  Ride bikes Santa Cruz is a fun place to bike around, there are plenty of wide bike lanes running through the central Santa Cruz area and along the beach. Here's the bike trail map.

Bicycle trip on Soquel Ave. in Santa Cruz has bike rentals, including kids' bikes, helmets, bike lock.


Fun food


Farmers Markets – There are two farmers markets, right in Santa Cruz. The markets have fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, pastries, crepes, cheese, locally made chocolates, everything you need for a picnic.


Downtown Market, at the corner of Lincoln and Cedar St., is every Wednesday afternoon starting at 1:30pm, year round. Also visit the Live Oak Market, corner of 15th Ave. and Eastcliff Dr, May to October, on Sunday 9am - 1pm.

family hotels santa cruz

Travel for Kids has so many fun things to do with kids in Santa Cruz, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels in and around Santa Cruz (including Aptos and Capitola), all styles and price ranges, in neighborhoods comfortable for families, and near to places you'll want to explore:

Santa Cruz family hotels
kids books california
Sea Otter Pup
Victoria Miles, Elizabeth Gatt

Delightful story to read before going to look for sea otters in Morro Bay. Cycle of life for a sea otter mother and her pup – the mother feeds, washes, and snuggles the pup, and soon pup dives down to find food for himself. Beautifully illustrated! (Picture book)

Also, easy reader Sea Otters.


A Colony of Seals
Vicki Leon

Find out about the fascinating elephant seals that come to this part of the coast – habitats, social life, what all those barking noises mean, migrations. Plus, all about California sea lions and harbor seals, residents of the coastal waters here. Good for older kids. (Illustrated chapter book)


A Colony of Seals
monarch butterfly  
Monarch Butterfly
Gail Gibbons

Before you view the monarch butterflies at Natural Bridges State Park, learn out about the life cycle of the monarch, and migration of adult butterflies in fall and spring. (Picture book)


(More children's books on other California pages)
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