On one end of the road is the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk, while the other end of the road ends you up at Natural Bridges State Park. In between this 3 mile scenic route, one can see many surfers and skim boarders at the surf competitions or visit the Lighthouse where a tiny, but historic surf museum is at. This road is a very nice scenic route for morning walks or biking. On a typical day, there are many people on the paths where they take their pets out for a walk or just enjoy the nice view of the Pacific Ocean as waves come crashing down for the daring surfers.
There are many things you can do near West Cliff Drive. An option is to visit the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk where there are carnival type rides and attractions for both adults and kids. Right beside it is the main Santa Cruz beach that have killer waves and is one of the top surfing spots in the world. If your not the daring type, then you can relax and tan on the beach or play some beach volleyball with the nets they have set up there. A warning to the wise though, because it is the Pacific Ocean, the water is freezing cold during the Fall, Winter, and even through some of the Spring months. Summer time is the best time to visit this beach if you do decide to step into the 40-50 degree water. If you do decide to venture out during the cold months, then a full wet suit is needed.
Moving along the scenic route, there is a path for people to walk, bike, and view the scenery of the Pacific Ocean waves. The path and the scenic road follows the edge of the cliff-side, making the scenery more surreal. As the waves crash along the cliff, the mist and swells of the water shoot up from the cliff, creating a natural display of water dancing in the air. If your lucky, you might get a little bit wet from the ocean spray. I recommend parking the car somewhere along the way and take a little walk on the path as views from the cliff-side are absolutely gorgeous.
In the middle of the 3 mile long scenic road, there is a Surfing Museum that is in the shape of a small lighthouse. Admission is free, but donations are welcome to keep this museum up and running in the original Surf City. Although it is a very small room, there is a lot to be learned in this surf museum. Sometimes they will show movies and clips of the history of famous surfers. There are many items in the museum that show how surfing is ingrained into the history of Santa Cruz. The museum also has collections of surfboards to look at as well.
Toward the end of West Cliff Dr., sits the park entrance to Natural Bridges State Park. According to the park website, it is world renowned for it’s yearly migration of monarch butterflies during the months of mid-October through late-January. It also has a natural bridge that is consisted of rock formations, home to many marine animals, from birds to sea otters. Natural Bridges also has it’s own beach with small tide-pools to see the tiny sea animals such as sea stars, crabs, and sea anemones.
Because West Cliff Dr. is such a nice route for walking, and biking, I highly recommend this be a stop when taking a visit to Santa Cruz.
What were the WOW moments you experienced?
The breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and all the surfers, attempting to attack some of the largest waves.
United States of America, Santa Cruz, West Cliff Dr.
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