Outdoor Activities watersports surf spots US > Central California > Santa Cruz

10 Best Surf Spots In Santa Cruz, California, USA

surf spots in santa cruz
Sidharth
Sidharth
Published

From beach breaks to big waves, you can find all possible types of surf spots in Santa Cruz. Once frequented by legendary surfers such as Duke Kahanamoku and Jack O'Neill, Santa Cruz is home to some of the best surfing waves in the world and it hosts several surf contests each year, drawing participants from all over the world. The coast gets huge waves in the directions of northwest and south and it is geographically blessed with offshore winds that translates to rideable waves throughout the year. From consistent, easy waves at Cowell’s, to epic big wave breaks at Mavericks, Santa Cruz accommodates surfers of all levels. Here is a list of 10 surf spots in Santa Cruz, California, that will make you jump right in and carve timeless memories in the ocean.

1. 30th and East Cliff

Looking for something to do on New Year's? Come get pints at ECBC! New Year's Eve hours: 12:00pm-7:00pm New Year's Day...

Posted by East Cliff Brewing Company on Friday, 30 December 2016

30th and East Cliff spot is great for experts and experienced surfers only. The swells here make up for aggressive rides that form ideal ramps to perform aerials and other advanced tricks. During the weekend, the lineup here is crowded with pro-short-boarders getting barrelled in the ocean while the novices look at them in awe from the shores.

30th and East Cliff

Address: E Cliff Dive and 30th Avenue Santa Cruz, CA, USA

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Santa Cruz and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz

2. Steamer Lane

A Surfer in Steamer Lane

Steamer Lane is the most popular and the most dangerous surf spot in Santa Cruz. It gets the best waves on the California coast when the swell is up and attracts flocks of local surfers. You should know what to do in a surfboard before you paddle out into this spot that has four reef breaks working to create powerful waves. You can also choose to visit the surfing museum in the nearby lighthouse in the region.

Steamer Lane

Address: Steamer Lane, 700 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Santa Cruz and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz

3. Natural Bridges

Natural Bridges

Natural Bridges is known for its dramatic views and the presence of monarch butterflies floating around during the fall season. The conditions here are not always great but when they are right, this surf spot can produce waves as great as the ones in Steamer Lane. Uncrowded lineups and breathtaking views make this beach one of the best to surf in all of Santa Cruz.

Natural Bridges

Address: Natural Bridges, 2531 W Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA, USA,

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Santa Cruz and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz

4. Moss Landing State Beach


Moss Landing has beach breaks that are suitable for experienced surfers. Situated 20 miles (32 km) south of Santa Cruz, this surf spot can offer really long rides with high waves through miles of beach break near the Harbour entrance. There is an occasional presence of strong rip currents in the ocean here that is best left to advanced surfers to manoeuver.

Moss Landing State Beach

Address: Jetty Rd, Moss Landing, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Santa Cruz and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz

5. The Hook

Posted by Kent Watts on Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Located at the end of the stairway on 41st Avenue, the Hook is a longboarder’s paradise. Named after the abundance of kelps in the water that hooks to your legs, this point break leaves a lot of surfers hooked on to the spot. Localism can be a bit of a problem and the point breaks here are not for beginners.

The Hook

Address: The Hook, 511 41st Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Santa Cruz and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz

6. Scott Creek

Heading for a surf. Scotts Creek Beach, California

Posted by Mark Capilitan on Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Scott Creek has got all sorts of challenges for a surfer and rewards with the best breaks from the powerful north swell. Strong currents, long paddle outs, sharks, and rip currents are some of the challenges that a surfer can face here before getting a taste of the killer rides produced by a combination of a reef and beach break.

Scott Creek

Address: Davenport, CA 95017, USA

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Santa Cruz and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz

7. Cowell Beach


Cowell Beach is the best place to get introduced to surfing in Santa Cruz. With consistent, easy waves ideal for beginners and novices, Cowell’s has many surf schools that teach the sport to visitors of all ages. The gentle, long waves are also great for longboarding and stand up paddling.

Cowell Beach

Address: 21 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA, USA,

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Santa Cruz and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz

8. Mavericks

Mavericks

The unusually shaped underwater rock formation at Mavericks produces waves that break at a height of 25 to 60 feet (8 to 18 m) and is a well sought after destination for big wave surfers around the world. With colossal waves rivaling that of Jaws in Hawaii, Mavericks is also the host of an invite-only surf contest that draws in the world’s best big wave surfers each year. Mavericks is located an hour away to the north of Santa Cruz at the village of Princeton-by-the Sea.

Mavericks

Address: West Point Avenue, Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay, CA, USA

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Santa Cruz and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz

9. Pleasure Point

Pleasure Point

Pleasure Point is one of the most famous surf spots in Santa Cruz, that has breaks between the Hook and 30th Avenue. You can find anyone from surf-mad little grommets to amped up pro surfers hanging loose here. Home to the wetsuit pioneer Jack O'Neill, the Pleasure point is the perfect spot to capture the authentic surf vibe of Santa Cruz.

Pleasure Point

Address: E Cliff Dr & 36th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Santa Cruz and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz

10. Four Mile


Located 4 miles (6.4 km) to the north of Santa Cruz City, this surf spot is protected by bluffs and coves that balance the winds and produces waves that can be ridden by surfers of all levels. The high-quality point break right here, are usually crowded with a colorful crew of UCSC students and other non-local surfers.

Four Mile

Address: 3810 Coast Rd, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Santa Cruz and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz

Buy the ticket, take the ride

Ever since the first waves in Santa Cruz were surfed by three Hawaiian brothers in 1885, this beach town has had a flourishing surf scene attracting surfers from all corners of the world. Known as the ‘surf city’, Santa Cruz receives waves that range from consistent, gentle ones ideal for a beginner to perfect, glassy barrels that can make a pro surfer drool. Take your pick from one of the above 10 surf spots in Santa Cruz, based on your level, and paddle out to catch what may possibly be the best wave of your life.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Mavericks surf contest 2010b
Still Need Travel Insurance?

You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101

*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.

When I am not travelling or writing, you can find me perfecting my Spanish, binge watching Netflix , reading, swimming in the ocean or just daydreaming in a hammock.

Have a question? Ask fellow travellers and travel experts here.
 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Santa Cruz
Good things are meant to be shared!