Maybe it's because it's so far off the beaten path (aka the 101 and 5 freeways), but Santa Cruz always seems like a blind spot for Southern Californians. But our neighbors in the San Francisco Bay Area have known for decades that this funky coastal city is a great year-round destination for families. Growing up, my Bay Area-raised wife would spend long summer weekends enjoying the many miles of beaches around the city. However, there's so much more to Santa Cruz than the beach.
To help you plan your first (or next!) Santa Cruz vacation, here is our list of 30 things to do in Santa Cruz with kids, including Santa Cruz restaurants kids will love and family-friendly Santa Cruz hotels. While you're there, check off a few of the items on our list of 100 things to do in California with kids!