Show/Hide

COVID-19 UPDATE | The City is coordinating closely with our public health officials at the Santa Cruz County Health Department to prevent the further spread COVID-19. In an effort to protect you and our community, changes and measures have been adopted in daily operations and activities. For further details please click here for the City’s Response to COVID-19

Beaches: In compliance with the updated Santa Cruz County Public Health Order issued June 24, City of Santa Cruz beaches will be open as of June 25 at 11:59pm. We ask visitors to help us stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community by remembering to do the following: 

✔️Wear a mask - the order is still in effect ✔️Wash your hands ✔️ Keep 6 foot distance

"Pack it in, Pack it out": There are reduced trash services on the beaches at this time. If you are using the beach we ask you to be responsible and take your trash with you when you leave.

Curfews for Cowell and Main Beach remain in effect from midnight to one hour before sunrise as stipulated in the City of Santa Cruz Beach Management Plan and in accordance with City municipal code 13.04. Most Parking lots are still closed- see detailed list below. 

Some Parking along West Cliff and East Cliff will be opened but the following lots are still closed:

  • Entire parking lot along W. Cliff at David Way  (currently closed)
  • Limited parking along Swanton Rd at West Cliff Dr.
  • Entire parking lot at E. Cliff Point (currently closed)
  • All parking spots at the end of 1St Av at E. Cliff (currently closed)
  • All parking spots at the end of 3rd Av at E. Cliff (currently closed)
  • All parking spots along the west curb of Center St, from Laurel St, past Depot Park, continuing on Pacific Av, and all the way to the Exploration Center
  • Lighthouse Field

Parks, open spaces remain open: Outdoor exercise continues to be allowed in parks and open spaces while following safe distancing guidelines. However, large gatherings are a violation of shelter-in-place orders meant to protect public health. In consideration of everyone, if the area you want to visit is crowded, consider altering your schedule to do so when there are fewer people. Be advised that due to reduced staffing levels, shared park amenities are not being regularly cleaned or sanitized. 

Skate Parks: City of Santa Cruz skate parks are open for active recreation. Visit for updated information.

Disc Golf Course:
 DeLaveaga Disc Golf course is open with restrictions. Visit for updated information.

The following amenities have been closed until further notice at all City parks:

  • Playground Areas and Equipment
  • Basketball Courts
  • Exercise Equipment

For more information visit Parks & Recreation COVID-19.

List of amenities and park features that have been affected countywide.

Social Distancing in Parks NRPA

Main Beach
108 Beach St
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Cowell Beach
21 Municipal Wharf 
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Cowell Beach closed midnight to one hour before sunrise.
Beach visitors are allowed to cross the beach to access the water. 

Lifeguard Headquarters
#1 Municipal Wharf 
831-420-5715

Lifeguard service is provided daily in summer months (Memorial Day-Labor Day) and on the weekends in spring (Easter-Memorial Day) and fall (Labor Day-October).  Service hours are 10:00 am - 7:00 pm but may vary depending on the weather conditions.  Service area is from Cowell 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
Surf School Santa Cruz - Gray
To report violations or for questions about concerns on the ordinance, call the Parks and Recreation Department at (831) 420-5270.

Amenities
Public bathrooms
Public transit nearby 
Lifeguards 
Rentals
16 Volleyball Courts

Helpful Information
When visiting our City beaches, please follow the rules below. Rules have been established to enhance your beach experience, preserve the environment and provide for your safety and the safety of others around you. Thank You!

  • Propane and Butane barbecues are allowed if they have stable legs that can be raised six inches off the ground and the gas cylinder is not exceeding 20 pounds. As of 2016, coal-burning barbecues are not permitted.
  • Glass is not allowed.
  • Alcohol and Smoking are not allowed.
  • Dogs and other Pets are prohibited.
  • Please clean up after yourself so that others may enjoy the beauty of these beaches.
  • Fireworks are not allowed.
  • Open flames, including candles, tiki torches and Sky lanterns are not allowed.
  • Camping is not permitted.
  • Campfires are not allowed on Main or Cowell beaches.
    They are allowed in fire rings at the following State Beaches:
    New Brighton State Beach       Twin Lakes State Beach
    831-464-6330                              831-427-4868
    Seabright State Beach
    831-427-4868
  • Wildlife is best left alone and unfed. If an animal is in distress or needs aid you can contact one of the following:
    Marine Mammal Center            Native Animal Rescue
    831-633-6298                              831-462-0726

Reserve the Beach 
Reserve the beach for everything from sporting events to weddings or corporate events. Call 831-420-5270 or email us. Visit the Fire Department website for Beach Wheelchair information. Main Beach is open 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. Cowell Beach has a 12:00 am to one hour before sunrise curfew. If you are driving to these beaches, to the Boardwalk or Wharf you might want a closer look at the roundabout at Ocean Street and Front Street.

Informational Links 
Junior & Little Guards
Main Beach Volleyball 2020 Tournament Guide
Main Beach Volleyball Tournament Application Packet  
The Surfing Way: Surf Etiquette Brochure 
Beach Safety 
Water Quality 
National Weather Service Marine Forecast 
Best Beach Towns