Parks & Rec

Parks & Recreation

Big Basin State Park

Cali's first state park is still one of the best.

Scott Creek

Sometimes blowy, never crowded—that's the beauty of Scott Creek. Photo by Josh Hallett.

Free parking, no people and a pretty consistent right.

Manresa Upland Campground

Manresa Upland campground has some spectacular sites. Photo by Garrett McAuliffe.

One of California's most scenic.

Moore Creek Preserve

One of the great oak trees at Moore Creek Preserve, a little-known gem on the Santa Cruz Westside. Hilltromper photo.

Huge views and zero crowds.

Schwan Lake

Surrounded by eucalyptus and oak, Schwan Lagoon is home to egrets, cormorants and a host of other birds. Eric Ressler photo.

A hidden sanctuary for birders and dog lovers.

West Cliff Drive

The Surf Museum at Lighthouse Point.

A sweet three-minute video by Michael Horn.

Seabright SB

Beautiful cloudscapes can often be seen from the Seabright shores. Photo by Molly Lautamo.

Sun and sand at one of Santa Cruz's favorite beaches.

Big Rock Hole

The mighty San Lorenzo River, home to several awesome swimming holes. Photo by Eric Ressler.

A sunny swimming hole on the San Lorenzo.

Waddell Beach

Strong northwesterly winds make Waddell Beach a major kitesurfing destination. (It glasses off, too, so surfers can have a shot.) Photo by Joe Gomez.

North Coast kiters paradise with surfing benefits.

Natural Bridges State Beach

The last remaining "natural bridge." Photo credit: Eugene Zelenko/Creative Commons.

Possibly the ultimate Santa Cruz beach.