Winter Activities in Santa Cruz

Winter Activities in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is a perfect beach destination for families looking to escape the winter chill. This California city offers warm weather and sunny beaches where you can relax outside even during the winter. Here are some of the top winter activities to do in Santa Cruz. 

Things to Do in Santa Cruz in Winter

If you are traveling to Santa Cruz this winter, you want to ensure you will have plenty to do. Fortunately, there are several winter activities in Santa Cruz, such as:

  • Santa Cruz Boardwalk Winter Wonderland: On the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, you can enjoy boardwalk games and rides, festive holiday decorations, fire pit rentals and holiday shopping from November to January.
  • Whale watching: Though you can see whales and other wildlife year-round, the winter is the peak of migration season for California gray whales, so you are almost sure to spot one.
  • Santa Cruz Wharf: This half-mile-long wooden pier stretches into Monterey Bay, and it is a great place to grab food or set off in a boat.
  • Año Nuevo State Reserve:  This state park is a great place to observe elephant seals year-round. During the winter months, you can take guided tours along the shore. 

Christmas and Holiday Events

For those who want to spend their winter break near the beach, the city of Santa Cruz offers a wide variety of winter celebrations, so you will feel like it is Christmas time, even without the snow. Here are some top Christmas events in Santa Cruz:

  • Santa Cruz Holiday Lights: The Santa Cruz Fairgrounds allow local businesses and residents to compete for the best holiday lights each year. The result is a stunning light display you can drive through.
  • Holiday Lights Train: This train hosts a 60-minute trip from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. The train is decorated with holiday lights, and passengers can enjoy sing-alongs, hot cider and a Santa visit.
  • Winter Art Market: The Tannery Arts Center hosts this event where you can purchase one-of-a-kind gifts while enjoying live music and food.

These Santa Cruz holiday events are sure to add some cheer to your celebrations as you enjoy a vacation near the beach.

Travel to Santa Cruz This Winter 

Santa Cruz has plenty to do for families and groups of friends who want to vacation during the winter months. You can enjoy pleasant weather while celebrating this year's holiday season in California. If you need a place to stay, Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA Holiday offers a great central location to local attractions. Browse available camping and lodging options and book your stay today!

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