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Santa Cruz California Hotels & Motels

Find hotels in Santa Cruz using the list and search tools below. Search for cheap and discounted hotel and motel rates in or close to Santa Cruz, CA for your upcoming personal or group trip. Discover the most popular Santa Cruz, California hotel and motel rooms. Browse the Santa Cruz area hotels to find the perfect lodging! Please use the provided map of the Santa Cruz hotels. Booking 5+ Rooms? Find Santa Cruz Group Hotel Deals

The Santa Cruz center is around the area of Mission Santa Cruz and the area of Town Clock.

It's hard to beat the romantic atmosphere of Santa Cruz. There's no better place to have a first date, celebrate an anniversary, or even propose, than on the cliffs and bluffs of Santa Cruz. Take a stroll after brunch at one of the amazing restaurants lining Monterey Bay at West Cliff Drive or drop by for pre-sunset drinks over the water. The smooth, paved paths make this an experience anyone can enjoy, whether you're pushing a stroller or require wheelchair accessibility. More from this guide...

Santa Cruz Hotels, Motels & Accommodations

Motel 6 Santa Cruz
+1-888-389-4121
1015 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Low-priced property
  • 28 rooms in hotel
From$45
Not Good 1.5 /5 Latest Reviews Call BookMore Details
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Quality Inn Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz
+1-888-675-2083
1101 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Website
  • Two-star Beach property
  • 42 rooms in property
From$89
Average 3.0 /5 Guest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Hotel Paradox Autograph Collection - Santa Cruz
+1-800-716-8490
611 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Four star Downtown property
  • 5 conference rooms in property
From$125
Average 3.0 /5 Latest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Hampton Inn Santa Cruz : 1505 Ocean St.
+1-800-805-5223
1505 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Low Cost Downtown hotel
  • Comp. Breakfast
From$159
Very Good 4.0 /5 Hotel Reviews Call BookMore Details
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Santa Cruz, an IHG Hotel
+1-888-965-1860
1410 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • When you're ready to explore Northern California, you'll want to stay at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Santa Cruz. Close to this hotel is the Santa Cruz Wharf, the Mystery Spot, Wilder Ranch State Park, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. Corporate guests will be given access to the hotel's 24-hour business center. Both business and leisure guests can take advantage of the on-site swimming pool, sauna, fitness center, guest patio, and complimentary hot breakfast. All of the guest rooms are equipped with modern conveniences, such as telephones with voice mail services, iPod docking stations, and HD televisions.
  • Affordable Beach property
  • Gym / Fitness Center Available
From$119
Average 3.0 /5 Latest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Comfort Inn Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz
+1-888-788-5576
110 Plymouth St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • 2 star Beach property
  • Free breakfast available
From$100
Average 3.0 /5 Review Score Call BookMore Details
SureStay Hotel by Best Western Santa Cruz : 516 Water St.
+1-888-897-9207
516 Water St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Three Star Downtown property
  • 50 sleeping rooms in hotel
From$89
Average 3.0 /5 Guest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Best Western Inn
+1-888-311-4278
126 Plymouth St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • 3-star Beach hotel
  • 2 floors in property
From$89
Average 3.0 /5 Latest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Oceana Inn
+1-888-469-4795
525 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Low Cost Downtown hotel
  • 55 rooms in hotel
Best Western Plus All Suites Inn
+1-888-734-9421
500 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • 3-star Downtown property
  • Access to gym on-site
From$90
Average 3.0 /5 Review Score Call BookMore Details
Hyatt Place Santa Cruz
+1-888-841-5292
407 Broadway, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Three Star Beach property
  • Gym / Fitness Center Available
From$80
Very Good 4.0 /5 Latest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Hotel Solares : 600 Riverside Ave.
+1-888-455-5160
600 Riverside Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Low-priced Beach hotel
  • 3 floors in hotel
From$79
Very Good 4.0 /5 Hotel Reviews Call BookMore Details
Motel Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz
+1-888-965-8297
370 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Inexpensive Beach hotel
  • Free complimentary breakfast
Ocean Pacific Lodge : 301 Pacific Ave.
+1-888-906-6358
301 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • The Ocean Pacific Lodge is the perfect place to stay if you plan on spending your time in the water or sunbathing on the sand. Situated in a beach resort community, you'll be able to charter a boat, go fishing, rent a jet ski, or simply surf the waves without traveling far from the hotel. When you want to take some time to relax at the lodge, enjoy a complimentary breakfast, go for a dip in the swimming pool, or simply watch a movie in your guest room. All rooms are fully equipped with coffeemakers, microwaves, refrigerators, high-speed Internet access, hair dryers, an iron, and an ironing board.
  • Low Cost Beach property
  • Check-in time: 3:00PM
From$89
Very Good 4.0 /5 Read Reviews Call BookMore Details
Surf City Inn and Suites
+1-888-749-6785
619 Riverside Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Low priced Beach property
  • 2 floors in property
From$59
Average 3.0 /5 Recent Reviews Call BookMore Details
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Pacific Inn Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz
+1-888-878-9982
330 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Cheap Beach property
  • Free comp. breakfast
From$179
Poor 2.0 /5 Review Score Call BookMore Details
Americas Best Value Inn & Suites Boardwalk - Santa Cruz
+1-888-389-4485
505 Riverside Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • 2-star property
  • Free breakfast available
From$60
Average 3.0 /5 Hotel Reviews Call BookMore Details
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz
+1-888-389-4121
550 2nd St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Three Star Beach hotel
  • Hotel has 2 floors
From$60
Average 3.0 /5 Review Score Call BookMore Details
Salt Air Lodge
+1-888-675-2083
510 Leibrandt Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Two-star Beach property
  • Hotel has 4 suites
From$70
Very Good 4.0 /5 Reviews Call BookMore Details
Beachview Inn : 50 Front St.
+1-800-716-8490
50 Front St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • 2 star Beach property
  • Free breakfast
From$50
Average 3.5 /5 Reviews Call BookMore Details
Howard Johnson by Wyndham Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk - Santa Cruz
+1-800-805-5223
130 West Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • 2-star Beach property
  • Check-in: 3:00PM
From$140
Average 3.0 /5 Recent Reviews Call BookMore Details
Beach Street Inn & Suites : 125 Beach St.
+1-888-965-1860
125 Beach St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Economy Beach hotel
  • Check in time: 3
From$129
Very Good 4.0 /5 Hotel Reviews Call BookMore Details
Super 8 by Wyndham Santa Cruz/Beach Boardwalk East
+1-888-788-5576
338 Riverside Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • 2-star property
From$60
Average 3.0 /5 Read Reviews Call BookMore Details
Ocean Gate Inn : 111 Ocean St.
+1-888-897-9207
111 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Low Cost Beach hotel
  • 2 floors in property
Aqua Breeze Inn - Santa Cruz
+1-888-311-4278
204 2nd St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Low priced Beach property
  • 3 floors in hotel
From$60
Very Good 4.0 /5 Latest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Fireside Inn Santa Cruz - Santacruz
+1-888-469-4795
311 2nd St., Santacruz, CA 95060 ~1.12 miles southeast of Santa Cruz
  • Low priced Beach property
  • 25 rooms in hotel
From$400
Average 3.0 /5 Latest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Courtyard Santa Cruz
+1-888-734-9421
313 Riverside Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Website
  • Midscale hotel
  • Check in time: 3:00 PM
From$109
Average 3.0 /5 Latest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Comfort Inn Beach/Boardwalk Area
+1-888-841-5292
314 Riverside Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • 3-star hotel
  • Check in time: 11:00
From$80
Average 3.0 /5 Read Reviews Call BookMore Details
Marea Sol
+1-888-455-5160
301 Beach St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • 3 star Beach hotel
  • Hotel has 10 suites
From$119
Average 3.0 /5 Guest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Dream Inn Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz
+1-888-965-8297
175 West Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • All of the guest rooms within the Santa Cruz Dream Inn - a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel offer a breathtaking view of Monterey Bay. The inn offers much more than a view, it also has so many activities that you won't want to venture off of the property. With your stay, you'll get access to Cowell's Beach, board games, a beachfront swimming pool, a children's pool, a pool bar, a 24-hour business center, and your choice of pillows. If you do want to go sightseeing, you won't have to go far. Within a few miles you'll discover the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, the Santa Cruz Wharf, and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
  • High end Beach property
  • 16 suites in property
From$159
Very Good 4.0 /5 Guest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Hampton Inn Santa Cruz West
+1-888-906-6358
2424 Mission St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Midscale property
  • 3 floors in hotel
From$105
Very Good 4.0 /5 Recent Reviews Call BookMore Details
Inn at Pasatiempo : 555 Highway 17
+1-888-749-6785
555 Highway 17, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • 2 star Golf Course property
  • Check in time: 3pm
From$99
Very Good 4.0 /5 Hotel Reviews Call BookMore Details
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Santa Cruz, CA
+1-888-878-9982
2956 Mission St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • 3 star Beach property
  • 82 rooms in hotel
From$129
Average 3.0 /5 Latest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Ocean Echo Inn and Beach Cottages in Santa Cruz
+1-888-389-4485
401 Johans Beach Dr., Santa Cruz, CA 95062
  • 4 star Beach hotel
  • 2 floors in hotel
From$75
Very Good 4.0 /5 Reviews Call BookMore Details
Chaminade Resort & Spa
+1-888-389-4121
1 Chaminade Ln, Santa Cruz, CA 95065
  • Located in an area that receives 300 days of sunshine each year, the Chaminade Resort & Spa is an ideal vacation spot for guests who travel for business or leisure purposes. Sporting activities are in abundance thanks to four tennis courts, a volleyball court, a badminton court, several hiking trails, an exercise room, a heated swimming pool, and two outdoor Jacuzzis. Of course, you'll also appreciate a good night's rest in one of the 156 luxury guest rooms or suites. The feather bedding, premium cable, telephones with voice mail services, in-room movies, and comfortable bathrobes will make you feel relaxed and right at home.
  • Four-star Resort property
  • Hotel has 11 meeting rooms
From$127
Average 3.0 /5 Review Score Call BookMore Details
Fairfield Inn & Suites Santa Cruz - Capitola in Capitola
+1-888-675-2083
1255 41st Ave., Capitola, CA 95010 ~3.79 miles east of Santa Cruz
  • Three Star Beach hotel
  • 84 sleeping rooms in hotel
From$135
Very Good 4.0 /5 Reviews Call BookMore Details
Best Western Plus Capitola By-the-Sea Inn & Suites in Capitola
+1-800-716-8490
1435 41st Ave., Capitola, CA 95010 ~3.79 miles east of Santa Cruz
  • 3-star Beach property
  • Gym is available on property
From$125
Very Good 4.0 /5 Hotel Reviews Call BookMore Details
Hilton Santa Cruz / Scotts Valley - Santa Cruz
+1-800-805-5223
6001 La Madrona Dr., Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Website
  • Situated directly between Silicon Valley and Monterey Bay, the Hilton Santa Cruz - Scotts Valley Hotel is just minutes from the beach. Also nearby is the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, the UCSC Arboretum, and the Nickelodeon Theater. If you enjoy swimming in a pool or soaking in a whirlpool spa, then you'll love staying at the Hilton. The hotel also offers a fitness room for some exercise, a business center with complimentary wireless Internet access for keeping up with your clients, a beauty salon for a new look, a gift shop for souvenirs, and the Stonehouse Bar and Grill for casual dining.
  • Mid-scale Suburban hotel
  • 21 suites in hotel
From$109
Very Good 4.0 /5 Review Score Call BookMore Details
Quality Inn & Suites Capitola By the Sea
+1-888-965-1860
720 Hill St., Capitola, CA 95010 Website ~4.39 miles east of Santa Cruz
  • Mid-scale Beach property
  • 55 rooms in property
From$310
Very Good 4.0 /5 Latest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Inn at Depot Hill in San Jose
+1-888-788-5576
250 Monterey Ave., San Jose, CA 95010 ~4.59 miles east of Santa Cruz
  • Four star property
From$160
Very Good 4.0 /5 Latest Reviews Call BookMore Details
Four Points by Sheraton Santa Cruz Scotts Valley in Scotts Valley
+1-888-897-9207
5030 Scotts Valley Dr., Scotts Valley, CA 95066 ~5.38 miles north of Santa Cruz
  • Mid-scale Mountain hotel
  • Gym / Fitness Center Available
From$116
Very Good 4.0 /5 Review Score Call BookMore Details
Best Western Plus Inn Scotts Valley : 6020 Scotts Valley Dr.
+1-888-311-4278
6020 Scotts Valley Dr., Scotts Valley, CA 95066 ~6.12 miles north of Santa Cruz
  • 3-star property
  • Check-in: 03:00
From$86
Very Good 4.0 /5 Read Reviews Call BookMore Details
Seacliff Inn Aptos Tapestry Collection by Hilton - Aptos
+1-888-469-4795
7500 Old Dominion Court, Aptos, CA 95003 ~6.78 miles east of Santa Cruz
  • 3-star Beach hotel
  • Check-in time: 04:00
From$140
Very Good 4.0 /5 Read Reviews Call BookMore Details
Rio Sands Hotel in Aptos
+1-888-734-9421
116 Aptos Beach Dr., Aptos, CA 95003 ~7.14 miles east of Santa Cruz
  • Two-star Beach hotel
  • 26 suites in hotel
From$70
Very Good 4.0 /5 Reviews Call BookMore Details
Quality Inn & Suites, Santa Cruz Mountains in Ben Lomond
+1-888-841-5292
9733 Highway 9, Ben Lomond, CA 95005 ~8.43 miles northwest of Santa Cruz
  • Three Star hotel
  • Check in time: 11:00
From$80
Very Good 4.0 /5 Recent Reviews Call BookMore Details
Seascape Beach Resort - Aptos
+1-888-455-5160
1 Seascape Resort Dr., Aptos, CA 95003 ~8.84 miles east of Santa Cruz
  • High end Oceanfront property
  • 3 floors in property
From$179
Very Good 4.0 /5 Read Reviews Call BookMore Details
The Historic Brookdale Lodge, Santa Cruz Mountains - San Jose
+1-888-965-8297
11570 Hyw 9, San Jose, CA 95007 ~9.86 miles northwest of Santa Cruz
  • Midscale property
  • Check-in: 15:00
From$90
Very Good 4.5 /5 Read Reviews Call BookMore Details
Pajaro Dunes Company
+1-888-906-6358
105 Shell Dr., Watsonville, CA 95076 ~13.34 miles southeast of Santa Cruz
  • Four-star Beach property
  • Hotel has 300 rooms
From$120
Average 3.0 /5 Recent Reviews Call BookMore Details
Motel 6 Watsonville Ca Monterey Area
+1-888-749-6785
125 Silver Leaf Dr., Watsonville, CA 95076 ~14.32 miles east of Santa Cruz
  • Cheap hotel
  • 3 floors in hotel
Comfort Inn Watsonville
+1-888-878-9982
112 Airport Blvd., Watsonville, CA 95076 Website ~14.34 miles east of Santa Cruz
  • 3 star Beach property
  • Check in time: 3:00pm
From$80
Average 3.0 /5 Hotel Reviews Call BookMore Details

Next: See My Santa Cruz Hotels with Pricing

Graph: Upcoming 20 Days of Santa Cruz Hotel Rates

Rates shown are nightly rates before taxes and do not necessarily reflect all Santa Cruz, CA discounts available. The chart reflects the cheapest Santa Cruz hotel for each day and each star rating category.

Santa Cruz is known for its remarkable beach bluffs, coves, picturesque waterfront shops and restaurants, but Santa Cruz is also ringed by redwood forests and mountains that attract hikers and mountain bikers. The region also offers delicious dining, wineries, and breweries. Best of all, you can enjoy these dining experiences in an exquisite Southern California landscape. It's a stunning place to work, play, or even learn, as the city is also home to the University of California, Santa Cruz.

If you're seeking the ultimate romantic dining experience, Santa Cruz's Shadowbrook Restaurant at Soquel Creek does not disappoint. Guests to this elegant restaurant take a hillside cable car, then make their way through lush gardens and waterfalls to an early 20th century chalet for romantic dinner and cocktails in front of a stone fireplace or enjoy the river view from Shadowbrook's greenhouse-like terrace.

The sand and surf in Santa Cruz invites exploration and fun, from surfing to stand-up paddle-boarding. Discover the numerous tide pools of its coves or relax and set off for a sunset Chardonnay cruise. For the nature lover, the socialite, the foodie, the beach bum, and hikers, bikers, and nature lovers, Santa Cruz offers entertainment experiences of all kinds.

When should you visit Santa Cruz, CA?

Santa Cruz's Mediterranean-like Southern California climate begs visitors and residents alike to get outdoors, year-round. Winters are temperate, in the mid to lower 60s, with higher rain fall, and summers warm up with clear skies and temperatures in the balmy mid-70s. The climate is conducive to hiking, biking, walking, and even surfing, almost year-round. However, summertime is when Santa Cruz, CA really heats up, in terms of entertainment and events.

There are numerous opportunities to enjoy free summer concerts and outdoor movies on and around the beach from May through August. Santa Cruz's Main Beach hosts throwback concerts featuring favorites from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, every Friday, as well as classic movies on Wednesday nights from mid-June to the end of August. Esplanade Park at Capitola Village also hosts a free Wednesday Night Twilight Concert through June and August, as well as free Friday night movies all summer long. If you're a movie buff, you can't miss the classic movie nights on Wednesdays, from late June through mid-August.

Nature lovers like to visit Santa Cruz in the off-season for a chance to spot monarch butterflies in migration at the craggy shoreline of Natural Bridges State Beach, from October to early February.

Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Santa Cruz, CA:

seasonality of hotel rates in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, CA: Prices by Star Rating Class

Below we've posted 3 graphs illustrating avg. nightly cost patterns by star rating class in Santa Cruz, CA. Browse these illustrations to calculate the most cost effective time period to book in Santa Cruz for upcoming travels.

What luxury hotels are worth booking for your stay in Santa Cruz, California?

4 Star Average Prices: $157.53

When you visit Santa Cruz, California, you'll have no shortage of luxurious hotels from which to choose, from intimate boutique bed-and-breakfasts to conference resorts and wellness retreats.

The Inn at Depot Hill welcomes guests to an intimate four-star bed-and-breakfast, convenient to Capitola and the University of California. Each guest room in this hotel features bespoke décor and haute finishing, including a mantelpiece, window banquettes, and lush upholstery. During your stay, you will enjoy both a complimentary daily breakfast and a guest reception.

For a quiet retreat that's still convenient to Santa Cruz center-city, choose the Chaminade Resort & Spa. The idyllic property is surrounded by woods, affording privacy for guests enjoying their terrace or swimming in the outdoor pool. This hotel's full-service spa earns high marks for its facials, massages, and wellness services.

If you need to accommodate a large party for a wedding, conference, or family reunion, the luxurious Seascape Beach Resort is ready to accommodate you. This sprawling beach-side property welcomes guests with 250 spacious guest rooms and suites and a host of amenities, from a restaurant and lounge to an outdoor pool. The property is known for its beach-side banquets, generously spread out next to a roaring beach fire.

Where are the most affordable hotels located in Santa Cruz, CA?

3 Star Average Prices: $133.36

Quality Inn Santa Cruz is a welcome respite for guests seeking an affordable Santa Cruz hotel. It's a classic roadside hotel, with rooms facing out toward an outdoor pool. Every day, guests enjoy the added value of a free breakfast reception. Guest rooms are very spacious and comfortable. Soft bedding and clean, well-kept furnishings, and free high-speed internet round out an affordable yet comfortable stay in Santa Cruz.

Guests also love the modern styling and amenities at Comfort Inn Santa Cruz. This affordable hotel is located just over two miles from Main Beach. From in-room coffee-makers to free Wi-Fi, you'll find every convenience here and more, including free breakfast and pool and spa access.

3 Star Hotel Prices in Santa Cruz

2 Star Average Prices: $100.45

2 Star Hotel Prices in Santa Cruz

Where are the top hotels in Santa Cruz for discounted rates?

Guests love the mission-style vibe of Hampton Inn Santa Cruz, California, and its convenience to Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park and the Boardwalk. This affordable hotel also offers discounted hotel rates to AAA members. A stay at this Hampton Inn property includes indoor pool access and a free daily hot/cold breakfast, plus internet connectivity, soft bedding, and entertainment via an LCD television.

The Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites Santa Cruz also welcomes AAA guests with extra discounts. Customers rave about the hot/cold breakfast, which includes fresh fruits and unexpected treats like cinnamon rolls and fresh muffins, along with breakfast staples like scrambled eggs. Business travelers also appreciate the express check-out services, laundry services, business center, and meeting space. Be sure to take advantage of the property's sauna and outdoor pool before you depart.

What hotels offer the most value in Santa Cruz, California?

For a world-class boutique hotel experience at an approachable rate, consider the Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection in Santa Cruz. This hotel's modern design draws inspiration from the landscape of Santa Cruz, with exposed wood planks and elements of redwood. Be sure to dine at Hotel Paradox's Solaire restaurant, enjoy an open-air dining experience next to the pool, and take in the unique sculptures on the grounds outside. A shuttle bus from the hotel will get you to all the sites of Santa Cruz, within minutes.

The Babbling Brook Inn in Santa Cruz offers a quiet escape to those who prefer traditional décor in a bed-and-breakfast setting. Guests get the opportunity to mingle during the free daily breakfast buffet, adding value to an already affordable room rate. The West Santa Cruz location makes it a convenient spot, while its quiet gardens and elegant guest rooms make this property a sweet escape.

What are the best things to do on your vacation to Santa Cruz, CA?

From the cliffs and beaches to the redwood-forested hills and mountains beyond Santa Cruz, California, the best way to take in the landscape is to set out on foot. Sedate, paved footpaths and more strenuous hikes offer options for families with small children as well as seasoned hikers who prefer a challenge.

Favorite walking paths include the promenade at West Cliff Drive, affording incredible beach cove views, and you can spot surfers and sailboats from East Cliff Drive in Pleasure Point. Don't miss Walton Lighthouse at the western edge of Santa Cruz Harbor, and if you want to get closest to the beach, Seacliff State Beach's paths offer long, relaxing strolls on the beachfront. For a water view that's closer still, the Santa Cruz Wharf takes you 2,745 feet onto the water for up-close views of sea lions, playing below. Capitola Wharf and the wharf at Seacliff State Beach also present great views and excellent fishing.

The diverse ecosystem of Neary Lagoon Wildlife Refuge is both convenient and calming. This wildlife sanctuary is situated right in the middle of town, but you'd never know it, as you take a serene mile-long stroll down its floating walkway, observing birds in their natural habitat. The nearby USC Arboretum is a Zen escape of succulents, exotic plants, and hummingbirds.

For a livelier scene, a stroll through Pacific Avenue's nine-block dining and shopping district pleases the eyes and the palate. The Capitola esplanade's colorful shop facades and tasty dining venues invite guests to linger until sunset, for unparalleled views over the Pacific.

If you haven't gotten your fill of walking yet, there are several popular trails and scenic stairways to explore up and down the coastline, offering less foot traffic and more privacy. Meanwhile, seasoned hikers love the challenge of Berry Creek Falls at Big Basin State Park. This 11-mile trail ascends 1000 feet, affording incredible views of an old-growth redwood forest and the canyons below.

Whether you're looking for a romantic weekend away or a family-friendly beach vacation, Santa Cruz offers endless options to entertain you on your quintessential Southern California vacation.

Carlos Santana, one of the most famous residents of Santa Cruz and often considered to be among the best guitarists in the world, is quoted as saying, 'The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.

If we consider these words and ponder over them, it is not too difficult to see how they reflect the way Californians seem to think. California, as a state, is considered to be very liberal and accepting, and love is perhaps the strongest emotion in California. Santa Cruz, quite pleasantly, embodies that fact. Situated by the Pacific, not too far away from San Francisco and San Jose, Santa Cruz is one of the best known cities in the world as far as surfing and beaches are considered. Beach Boys, the most famous Californian band to date, have also sung paeans of praise for the Santa Cruz beaches and their gentle waves. 

Santa Cruz is also a university city, housing University of California at Santa Cruz “ one of the top research oriented institutions in America. 

Book a Hotel Room While Saving Money

Unlike many surrounding cities like San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego, it is not too difficult to find cheap hotels or budget hotels in Santa Cruz. This has primarily to do with the fact that Santa Cruz is not a tourism center in the region. It is more of a laidback country place that people visit during summer months to make the most of its beaches and its waves. Apart from these, however, there's not much to see in or around Santa Cruz. 

This is the prime motivator and reason of the fact that most establishments found in Santa Cruz are of budget kind. This works well with surfers and other travelers as they can lodge in Santa Cruz instead of lodging in more expensive cities like San Francisco or San Jose. 

Enjoy a Stay in Santa Cruz to the Maximum

After having stated that there is an abundance of budget Santa Cruz hotels, it should also be said that the city is not at all without its luxury hotel establishments. In fact, the Los Tajibos Resort and Hotel in Santa Cruz is considered to be among the very best that are present in the state of California. 

These luxury hotel buildings are usually high rises, equipped with the best imaginable resources and facilities like indoor tennis courts, spas, gyms, heated swimming pools, rooftop bars and free flow of drinks for their loyal patrons. 

Boutiques and Independent Hotels in Santa Cruz 

If you are the sort of traveler who doesn't appear to fit quite well in the affordable settings of cheap motels or the opulence of intimidatingly good luxury establishments, it is perhaps for the best that you turn to boutique and independent options in Santa Cruz. 

There are a quite a few boutique and independent hotel establishments in Santa Cruz that specialize in customizing what they have to offer in order to streamline their service to best suit the needs of their guests. 

Most of the boutique and independent establishments of lodging and boarding kind in Santa Cruz include beach houses, beach shacks, temporary studio apartments and summer houses. As one can guess, these places are typically rented out on short terms and are perfectly suitable in terms of convenience and affordability for tourists and surfers who wish to spend a month or two in Santa Cruz. These boutique and independent establishments can be considered as not only viable but very positive alternatives to cheap hotels, as they provide safe and convenient accommodation at relatively lower prices. 

What Should I Know Before Sightseeing in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, at its core, is a city that's best experienced through its people. So, if you are visiting Santa Cruz, make it a point to hire a local guide or a knowledgeable person who can show you around with passion.

All things said and done, Santa Cruz is a city that revolves around its beaches, its waves and its exquisitely laidback lifestyle further accentuated by authentic Californian and Mexican food. So, before sightseeing in Santa Cruz, you should have at least a semblance of idea about where you are going to find the best food that is both locally sourced and authentic. Like most Californian cities, Santa Cruz has its share of food trucks and street side food joints that can put the best of luxury restaurants and hotels in Santa Cruz to shame in terms of the authenticity and popularity of their food. 

The most popular tourist destination in Santa Cruz happens to be the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. This sizeable stretch of pristine sand and boardwalk is unique to the city and cannot be found anywhere else in California. Another beach that is quite popular among surfers is the West Cliff Drive. Arguably, the waves here are harder to surf on and ever more difficult to rule. But that very reason attract many a bunch of experienced surfers from around the world to feel and take on the challenge of West Cliff Drive. Inexperienced surfers should, however, stay away from surfing at West Cliff Drive. 

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center in Santa Cruz is one of the very first of its kind in the United States. Those who are interested in learning more about marine biology and what efforts are being done to identify newer species of marine life can find a short trip to the Center edifying as well as interesting. 

Best Time to Travel to Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, being a Californian city, is more often than not sunny. It's only during October to December that the city experiences a season that can remotely resemble winters. Otherwise, traveling to Santa Cruz is a great prospect all year round. Many Santa Cruz hotels provide express deals and discounts during winter months. So, if you wish to make your trip more economical, winter months can be the best time for you to travel to Santa Cruz! 

FAQs about hotels in Santa Cruz

What are the top rated hotels in Santa Cruz?

The Historic Brookdale Lodge, Santa Cruz Mountains, Hampton Inn Santa Cruz and Hyatt Place Santa Cruz are the best rated hotels based on customer reviews in the last 365 days.

What are the most up-scale hotels in Santa Cruz?

Hotel Paradox Autograph Collection, Dream Inn Santa Cruz and Ocean Echo Inn and Beach Cottages are the top 3 luxury hotels near Santa Cruz city center.

What hotels are closest to the city center of Santa Cruz?

Motel 6 Santa Cruz, Quality Inn Santa Cruz, and Hotel Paradox Autograph Collection are the properties closest to Santa Cruz city center.

How much does a cheap hotel in Santa Cruz cost per night?

In the last year, a 2 star hotel in Santa Cruz can be as cheap as $100.45 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)

How much does a 3 star hotel in Santa Cruz cost per night?

In the last year, the average 3 star hotel in Santa Cruz has been $133.36 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)

How much does a 4-5 star hotel in Santa Cruz cost?

In the last year, the average 4 star hotel in Santa Cruz has been $157.53 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)

What are the most popular independent hotels in Santa Cruz?

The Historic Brookdale Lodge, Santa Cruz Mountains, Hotel Solares and Ocean Pacific Lodge are the best rated independent hotels (not part of a big brand).

What are the best Marriott hotels in Santa Cruz?

Fairfield Inn & Suites Santa Cruz - Capitola, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Santa Cruz, CA and Courtyard Santa Cruz are the best rated Marriott/Starwood branded hotels (based on customer reviews score).

What are the most popular Choice Hotels branded hotels in Santa Cruz?

Quality Inn & Suites Capitola By the Sea, Quality Inn & Suites, Santa Cruz Mountains and Quality Inn Santa Cruz are the best rated Choice Hotels branded hotels (based on HotelPlanner reviews score).

What are the most popular Best Western hotels in Santa Cruz?

Best Western Plus Capitola By-the-Sea Inn & Suites, Best Western Plus Inn Scotts Valley and Best Western Inn are the best rated Best Western branded hotels (based on user reviews score).

Verified reviews of the city of Santa Cruz

Below are reviews of the city of Santa Cruz, CA from an actual visitor's perspective.

"Love It!"
Score 4.0 / 5

I love it!

Maria V., from 11-Feb-2024
"Ocean Vibe!"
Score 4.0 / 5

I always love the ocean. Grew up in the Bay Area. Always love the Santa Cruz vibe ❤️

Esther J., from 29-Jan-2024
"The Redwoods and fine dining!"
Score 4.0 / 5

The Redwoods and fine dining!

Kurt K., from 03-Jan-2024
"Close to Downtown"
Score 4.0 / 5

Close to downtown.

Scott I., from 29-Dec-2023
"Cool Vibes"
Score 4.0 / 5

Cool vibes!

Marissa T., from 27-Dec-2023
"Great Location With Many Attractions"
Score 4.0 / 5

We visit often, many attractions and great location.

William L., from 27-Dec-2023
"Mission Santa Cruz"
Score 4.0 / 5

Mission Santa Cruz.

Francis W., from 01-Dec-2023
"Love the vibe, various restaurants, beaches & hiking trails."
Score 4.0 / 5

We are frequent visitors to Santa Cruz because we have family in the area. We love the vibe of the downtown area, the various restaurants and the beaches and hiking trails.

Wendy J., from 28-Nov-2023
"Holiday Fun!"
Score 4.0 / 5

The Holiday Train Ride from the Boardwalk. The Tree Farm where you can cut down a Christmas Tree. The Craft Faire near the Surfer Museum and the Butterfly Museum.

Christine M., from 27-Nov-2023
"Scenery & Great Organic Food!"
Score 5.0 / 5

Scenery, friendly people and access to great tasting organic foods.

Alia C., from 24-Sep-2023
"Ocean Views!"
Score 4.0 / 5

Ocean views!

Marilyn D., from 08-Aug-2023
"Access to All Restaurants"
Score 5.0 / 5

Clean air and access to all restaurants.

Daniel B., from 23-Jul-2023
"Fun Boardwalk!"
Score 5.0 / 5

The boardwalk was fun.

Anthony M., from 17-Jul-2023
"Beach & Boardwalk"
Score 4.0 / 5

Beach and boardwalk.

Sara H., from 29-Jun-2023
"Beach"
Score 5.0 / 5

Beach is within walking distance.

Melva L., from 04-Jun-2023
"The Ocean!"
Score 5.0 / 5

I love the ocean!

Christino L., from 03-Jun-2023
"The Geach!"
Score 5.0 / 5

The beach!

Dave G., from 16-Apr-2023
"The staff were very friendly and helpful the hotel was very nice and clean and the beds very comfort"
Score 5.0 / 5

The staff were very friendly and helpful the hotel was very nice and clean and the beds very comfortable. We took a walk on the wharf and enjoyed the experience 😋

Lawrence P., from 17-Mar-2023
"Close to Redwoods in Big Basin."
Score 5.0 / 5

Close to Redwoods in Big Basin.

John H., from 14-Mar-2023
"Wonderful Location"
Score 4.0 / 5

The proximity to coast, downtown, historical homes, and UCSD hills and trees.

Erin M., from 23-Jan-2023
"UCSC"
Score 4.0 / 5

UCSC

Sheri J., from 30-Nov-2022
"Great options for dining and fun, awesome beach!"
Score 5.0 / 5

Great options for dining and fun, awesome beach!

Zindy H., from 25-Oct-2022
"The Beach"
Score 5.0 / 5

Marianna's ice cream, UCSC, all the trees, shopping street, & the beach!

Laurie C., from 13-Sep-2022
"Coastal scenic ocean drive!"
Score 5.0 / 5

Coastal scenic ocean drive!

Shirley D., from 14-Jul-2022
"Nice and clean."
Score 5.0 / 5

I am a long-time visitor and former resident of Santa Cruz. I adore it and the memories from prior stays...

Rick E., from 02-Jun-2022
"Santa Cruz was very nice!"
Score 4.0 / 5

Santa Cruz was very nice!

Rita M., from 09-May-2022
"Lots of Beautiful Beaches & Restaurants"
Score 4.0 / 5

Lots of places to eat. The city has a lot of beautiful beaches.

Jorge R., from 22-Feb-2022
"Near the Beach!"
Score 5.0 / 5

It's close to the beach.

Michael O., from 22-Feb-2022
"The Boardwalk & Beach!"
Score 5.0 / 5

My baseball team liked the boardwalk and beach!

Dennis L., from 14-Feb-2022
"Food choices"
Score 5.0 / 5

Lots of surrounding forest and other small towns to explore. Many choices of good restaurants.

Herb M., from 22-Oct-2019
"People are friendly"
Score 5.0 / 5

Lots to do and see. The beach with lots of rides or lots of little shops for shopping. Walk the pier and eat at many of the restaurants along the way or just sit by the water and day dream

Gwendolyn H., from 05-Nov-2018
"Great Stay!"
Score 4.0 / 5

Beautiful beaches, forests. Great restaurants and nice people.

Ryan F., from 26-Mar-2018
"Great hotel!"
Score 4.0 / 5

We enjoyed Rivas's on the wharf, The Cremer House in Felton, Henry Cowells State Park, and the Roaring Camp Railway, cheap night at the Boardwalk, and free music in Capitola.

Kathleen Danzey C., from 27-Jul-2017
"Family reunion!"
Score 5.0 / 5

We enjoyed Rivas's on the wharf, The Creamer House in Felton, Henry Cowell's State Park, and the Roaring Camp Railway, cheap night at the Boardwalk, and free music in Capitola.

Kathleen Danzey C., from 27-Jul-2017
"Meetings in Santa Cruz"
Score 5.0 / 5

Santa Cruz is the quintessential California beach town. This is a great town to visit for people who love the outdoors! People gather from all over to visit the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the West Coast's oldest seaside amusement park and enjoy free concerts on Fridays, roller coaster rides and many other exciting attractions. There is plenty to do when visiting Santa Cruz, such as surfing, hiking from the Redwoods to the beach, paddle boarding and just soaking in the sun. The downtown area, located a couple blocks from the beach, is lined with trees and offers shops and restaurants, art galleries and outdoor live music.

Jennifer G., from 29-Jun-2015
"Beautiful weather"
Score 5.0 / 5

It was great to get out in the heat in the Sacramento area.

Kelly C., from 28-Jul-2014
"Ano Nuevo State Park"
Score 4.0 / 5

Ano Nuevo, Natural Bridges at low tide for tide pools.

Deanna D., from 31-May-2014
The average traveler rating of the city of Santa Cruz, CA shown above is 4.5 out of 5 based on 37 reviews
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