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About Santa Cruz County

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Santa Cruz County is located on California's Central Coast, 65 miles south of San Francisco and 35 miles north of Monterey. Situated on the northern side of Monterey Bay and hugged by redwood forested mountains, Santa Cruz County has 29 miles of beaches and an extraordinary number of state parks and beaches - 14 in all - and each offers a unique experience for visitors. The nearest airport is in San Jose, 30 miles northeast of Santa Cruz.

Mild, with summer temperatures in the mid-70s and winter temperatures in the mid-50s. The sun shines 300 days a year and the humidity is low for a coastal city. Average rainfall is 31 inches per year, with most of the rainfall occurring between November and April. Occasional fog due to changing Pacific currents.

Santa Cruz County received its first visitors about 12,000 years ago, according to extensive archaeological research. Since then, from the Ohlone Indians to Gold Rush settlers and now you, people have come to find that the beaches are truly just the beginning in Santa Cruz County. Our community's architecture, natural resources, agricultural industry, arts and culture, and social diversity originate from a scintillating history worth learning more about!

Total Population

Incorporated Cities Population Square Miles
Capitola 10,073 1.6
Santa Cruz 58,982 12.0
Scotts Valley 11,764 4.6
Watsonville 51,882 5.9

Population in unincorporated areas: 133,739
Industries: Tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and high-tech.
Visitor Information: Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council
(831) 425-1234 or (800) 833-3494
Open Monday through Friday 9am to 4pm, Saturday & Sunday 11am to 3pm.

Getting Here
An easy drive south of San Francisco, Santa Cruz County's small-town charm and idyllic beach communities offer the quintessential California vacation. Santa Cruz County is easily accessible by car via Highway 17 through the Santa Cruz Mountains, or California's scenic Highway 1. Santa Cruz County is served directly by bus. The nearest major airport is San Jose International Airport, 30 miles northeast of Santa Cruz. The nearest train depot is also located in San Jose. San Francisco International Airport is approximately 60 miles north of Santa Cruz.

Once you arrive, car-rentals and a comfortable public transportation system provided by the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District make your adventures in the county a little more accessible.

Airport Shuttle Service
Early Bird Airport Shuttle
4525 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz
Phone: 831.462.3933
Fax: 831.462.6946
Private door-to-door airport transportation. Exclusive, reliable, professional and safe. Operates 24 hours a day! Internet Wi-fi. Open daily, 9am - 8pm

Local Bus Service
Highway 17 Express: San Jose to Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley
Catch the Santa Cruz Metro's Highway 17 Express at San Jose's Diridion Station. Leaves numerous times daily. For bus schedules, visit:

Road Conditions
For current road conditions, call the CalTrans (California Department of Transportation), (800) 427-ROAD. Or visit:

Highway 1
Highway 9
Highway 17
Highway 129
Highway 152

Weather and Road Information
National Weather Service/Monterey
(831) 475-3033

Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria

Delicious desserts, pastries, salads, sandwiches & more

Comfort Inn - Santa Cruz

Stained glass windows & over-sized spas available.

Kayak Connection

Kayak tours & rentals daily, beginners welcome!

Covewater Stand Up Paddle

Stand Up Paddling lessons, rentals, & more!

In This Section

303 Water Street, Suite 100
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
800.833.3494 or 831.425.1234