Visit USA - America's Best Travel Guide

Steamer Lane

STEAMER LANE: The point where talented surfers shoot the curl, look for that perfect wave and is a legendary surf spot located in front of Lighthouse Point. Steamer Lane is home to the famed O’Neill Cold Water Classic Surf competition each fall, where fearless surfers from around the world gather to compete for notable prizes. A perfect spot for long boarding, as the waves break far out.

There are other ways to enjoy oneself at Steamer Lane besides surfing. Skim boards, boogie boards, surf kayaking and kite boarding are all very popular activities at this beach. Essentially, there is something for everyone. Not only is Steamer Lane the place for hosted surf competitions, the World Surf Kayaking Championships are held there each spring.

CLIMATE: Moderate temperatures with occasional fog and rain in winter months. Layered clothing is always recommended.

ACTIVITIES: Surfing, boogie boarding, kayaking, wind surfing, surf kayaking, walking, bird watching, whale watching, sun bathing.

A favored attraction located right at Steamer Lane, is the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum in California, which traces 100 years of surfing history. Surfboards ranging from the early, heavy redwood "planks" to today’s lighter, high-tech designs are on display here. Visitors can also see some of the first wetsuits ever made.

There are wonderful photos - taken from the early 1930s on through today - that showing the gutsy surfers who challenge the wild sea by riding its waves. Continuous videos show the ever-changing styles of surfing. A gift shop within the lighthouse-style museum gives visitors an opportunity to purchase T-shirts, sweatshirts, books and posters related to the sea and to surfing. The museum is open from 12PM to 4PM, six days a week (closed Tuesdays).

LOCAL FLAVORS: Blocks from downtown Santa Cruz, is the famous year round Amusement park, “Beach Boardwalk,” or the “Mystery Spot,” is a place that will thrill. There is also a wide array of shopping and dining in the renovated historic downtown. Plenty to do and plenty to see while visiting this “surf city,” a Northern California hot spot!

  • Santa Cruz Wharf
  • Memorial Lighthouse Museum
  • Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
  • Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestra
  • Santa Cruz Mission
  • Historic Victorian Neighborhood Tour
  • Cabrillo Music Festival/First week in August

by: Carla Iacovetti
©2006Carla Iacovetti