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Sunset State Beach

SUNSET STATE BEACH: On the outskirts of Santa Cruz, about 16 miles south of Santa Cruz, is this state beach and park facility. The beach features pine trees, mountainous sand dunes, and ocean side picnic spots. Bordered by large agricultural fields west of the city of Watsonville, the beach is a year-round destination for thousands of visitors and campers.

CLIMATE: The climate on the central coast varies greatly with elevation and the amount of coastal influence. Areas with more coastal influence experience moderate temperatures year round with fog likely from June through mid-August. Plan your coastal visit in the late summer or fall to ensure the best conditions for viewing the scenery. In addition, occasional clear days between winter and spring storms are incomparable. Areas further inland experience greater temperature extremes, with relatively cooler winters and hot summers. Inland areas often receive frost on winter nights. As throughout most of California most of the precipitation comes in the winter months, with April through October normally very dry. Layered clothing is recommended.

ACTIVITIES: There are an array of hiking trails, horseback trails, group tours, and family camping. Swimming, surfing and all beach type activities are popular at Sunset, as well as picnic tables and there is wheel chair access. For camping or using the park facilities, reservations are strongly recommended.

LOCAL FLAVORS: Only 16 miles south of Santa Cruz, Sunset State Beach is accessible for enjoyment, entertainment and dining. Santa Cruz is famous for its year-round amusement park, “The Boardwalk,” located on the other side of the wharf, a haven for shops, rides, food and all around fun, sporting an incredible view of the blue Pacific. Santa Cruz offers both the beauty of the forest, with the Santa Cruz Mountains filled with towering California Coastal Redwood trees, just minutes out of town. The University of Santa Cruz campus is seated in the middle of this terrain and is a lovely campus for hiking, or just taking in the fresh coastal mountain air. Downtown Santa Cruz offers a wide variety of shops ready to delight the shopper at any given time. There are also tours of historical Victorian homes which mark the early years of Santa Cruz’s development as one of the early cities established in California.

  • Santa Cruz Wharf
  • Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
  • Steamer Lane/World famous surfing spot
  • Memorial Lighthouse
  • Long Marine Laboratory
  • Mystery Spot
  • Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
  • Pasatiempo Golf Club
  • Santa Cruz County Symphony

by: Carla Iacovetti
©2006Carla Iacovetti