Santa Cruz Harbor offers a variety of experiences for a visitor, from sailing, kayak rentals, sport-fishing charters, and eco-tours to whale watching and walking along paths with scenic views. Most charter boats are not accessible, but Pacific Yachting & Sailing has a portable lift to transfer people from their wheelchairs to the boats. You’ll find restaurants with live music, and shops, along both sides of the harbor. The harbor beach has volleyball courts and a lighthouse.
Special events and activities are scheduled year-round and include Wednesday-night sailboat races during daylight saving time (March through November); the Lighted Boat Parade on the first Saturday in December; and Thursday-night barbecues in summer. A free, accessible water taxi tours the inner harbor from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Obstacles: The path onto the beach can be covered in sand.
The Marina Interpretive Walk, bordered by ice plant and small shrubs, travels alongside the harbor. Interpretive signs provide information about fishing, the environment, harbor wildlife, and local history. Pelicans are plentiful and fun to watch. The sounds of chiming sailboats, crashing waves, and birds mute the traffic noise along the route. Water fountains and benches are scattered here and there. Near the eastside jetty, a short path leads about 50 feet onto the harbor beach, providing close-up ocean and beach views.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Ask at the harbor office, in the parking lot near the Crow’s Nest restaurant, for the key to unlock the storage cage housing the beach wheelchair. Office hours are 9 am-5 pm; call to arrange to use the wheelchair during off hours.
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