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

Santa Cruz

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
    More details on our blog: "Last Weekend in Santa Cruz"

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, out to Capitola.


Bicycle trip (Soquel Ave. in Santa Cruz and Clares St. in Capitola) 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, near to places you'll want to explore:

Santa Cruz family hotels
family vacation rentals santa cruz california

Family friendly vacation rentals in Santa Cruz, all styles and price ranges, close to the beach.

Santa Cruz family beach vacation rentals
kids books california
Sea Otter Pup
Victoria Miles, Elizabeth Gatt

Delightful story to read before going to look for sea otters around Santa Cruz. 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.


Little Whale
Jo Weaver

Going whale watching on Monterey Bay, read about amazing gray whales. A baby gray whale follows her mother on a long journey, through seas that shimmered and danced, to their home in the north. Gorgeous artwork portrays wonders of gray whales and their yearly migration. (Picture book)


monarch butterfly  
Monarch Butterfly
Gail Gibbons

Before you view the monarch butterflies at Monarch Grove Sanctuary, learn out about the life cycle of the monarch, from egg to caterpillar to butterfly. (Picture book)


Monarch Butterflies
Ann Hobbie, Olga Baumert

Detailed look at monarch butterflies, from egg to caterpillar munching on milkweed, chrysalis and emerging butterfly. Miraculous migrations, why monarchs are in danger, and how to help monarchs on their journey. (Picture book)


monarch butterflies hobbie
caterpillar to butterfly  
Caterpillar to Butterfly
National Geographic Kids

Watch a caterpillar turn into a beautiful colorful monarch butterfly. Bright photos (e.g. caterpillar eating big hole in milkweed leaf) and simple text, perfect for little ones. (Board book)


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