A Complete Guide to Moving to Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz is a popular tourist destination and a desirable place to live on California’s scenic coastline. It combines coastal charm with an active, community-oriented lifestyle with its tranquil beaches, beautiful redwood woods, and bustling cultural scene. Homes for sale in Santa Cruz provide choices, each revealing the city’s varied flair. The real estate scene here is as diverse as the community, from seaside bungalows to hillside estates with panoramic vistas. However, entering this market demands a deep awareness of trends and pricing variations and experienced local agents to lead you through this exciting journey. This article unlocks the wonders of this seaside gem, whether you’re moving here, establishing roots, or enjoying the many activities.

Moving to Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz’s coastal beauty and vibrant community make it a lifestyle. Here are seven things to know about Santa Cruz before moving here:

Welcoming community

You can expect smiles and welcoming greetings from neighbors while walking, hiking, or relaxing on the beach. The inviting atmosphere makes it easy to connect with new neighbors.

Outdoor activities

Living in Santa Cruz offers various activities for all interests, from sports and art displays to wine tastings and community meetings. Take time to see the Pacific Ocean sunsets, a simple yet beloved Santa Cruz tradition.

Diverse community

Santa Cruz fosters a diverse and inclusive community, inviting retirees, young families, singles, and a strong student population. The community values inclusivity, creating a unique equilibrium. Diversity creates a vibrant and stimulating culture that makes Santa Cruz a great place to live.

Opportunities for community involvement

Engaging in the Santa Cruz County community is simple with the number of active non-profit groups. There are likely to be others who share your passion or cause. This robust community engagement improves the quality of life and provides many possibilities to make a difference.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Enjoy the following fun activities in Santa Cruz:

Dream Inn offers relaxed elegance

Staying near the beach is always a good option, and the Dream Inn is the closest. This hotel, beside Jack O’Neill’s first shop, is steps from Cowell Beach. The bright, surf-inspired decor of the 165 ocean-view suites with balconies or patios makes them beachy. Enjoy 85-degree water in the heated beachside pool while listening to the surf. The Jack O’Neill Restaurant provides farm-to-table seafood and sunset views.

Adventure with animals at sea

Rent a kayak from Venture Quest Kayaking and paddle out from shore to see Monterey Bay’s marine life differently. You’ll pass sea lions lounging on rocks while pelicans soar. Look for dolphin fins, frolicking otters, and surf-borne seal heads. On a guided tour, visit Wilder Ranch State Park’s sea caves or see 50-foot gray whales during migration (March–May).

Understand surfer history

Surfing is said to have begun in Santa Cruz when three traveling Hawaiian princes paddled out. Santa Cruz Surfing Museum features rare relics, photos, and historic boards from the Cowabunga era. Step outside to see history unfold after learning what Burt Landess first used for a board.

Enjoy a wooden roller coaster.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk proves seaside amusement parks are timeless. The stomach-flipping Double Shot and the Giant Dipper, a 70-foot wooden roller coaster, will send salty air through your hair. The 342-pipe organ and authentic horse hair Looff Carousel are great for beginners. Before walking around the waterfront, try an arcade game and eat a carnival snack.


Shopping locally in Santa Cruz offers a unique experience. World-class wines, glass, surfboards, and organic foods are created in the city. The community’s numerous establishments add to Santa Cruz’s global reputation for quality.