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Beaches & Programs


Main Beach and Cowell Beach

The Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf

Lifeguard Headquarters
#1 Municipal Wharf 

Lifeguard service is provided during Spring weekends, daily in Summer months and Fall weekends.  Service hours are usually from 10:00 - 7:00, but may vary depending on the weather conditions.  Service area is from Cowell’s Beach to the San Lorenzo River.

 Surf Schools
A permit is required to conduct commercial surfing lessons in the City of Santa Cruz. For surf school regulations see ordinance (13.14). Note that all surf schools are required to have their students and instructors wear colored vests while conducting lessons. Permitted surf schools with their vest colors are as follows:
Adventure Out - Red
Club Ed - Blue
Richard Schmidt Surf School - Purple
To report violations or for questions about concerns on the ordinance, call the Parks and Recreation Department at (831) 420-5270.

Reserve the Beach
Reserve the beach for everything from sporting events to weddings or corporate events. Check the Conditions of Use and call 831-420-5270 or email us. Click here to visit the Fire Department website for Beach Wheelchair information.

No Alcohol allowed on Santa Cruz City Beaches. No bonfire pits available on Main or Cowell Beach.

The Surfing Way: Surf Etiquette Brochure
Beach Safety
Water Quality
National Weather Service Marine Forecast
Best Beach Towns


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