Cheap Flights to Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is a scenic coastal city 75 miles south of San Francisco. The city is flanked on one side with the Pacific Ocean and on the other with beautiful mountains. Beach lovers adore Santa Cruz because of its pleasant climate and its location on Monterey Bay. Nature lovers come for the expansive local wildlife preserves such as the Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve. Wine lovers come to Santa Cruz to enjoy the area's boutique central coast vineyards. Many flights to Santa Cruz arrive at Monterey Regional Airport (MRY), which is located across Monterey Bay about 40 miles down the coast from Santa Cruz. MRY is just minutes away from the famous Monterey Aquarium, which offers a glimpse at the dynamic aquatic life of Monterey Bay. Just south of the airport is Pebble Beach and the coastal enclave of Carmel by the Sea.
Monterey Regional Airport
The closest airport offering flights to Santa Cruz is Monterey Regional Airport (MRY), which offers direct flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas via American Airlines, United, Allegiant and Alaska Airlines. After arriving at MRY, Santa Cruz is only a 45-minute drive up coastal Highway 1, a famous scenic roadway lined with seaside cliffs and hidden beaches. The easiest way to get from the airport to Santa Cruz is by renting a car. Several major car rental agencies operate out of Monterey Regional Airport. The cost of a rental car starts at around $40 per day. Another option is to take public transportation. Monterey-Salinas Transit provides public bus service to Santa Cruz on the 78 Presidio – Santa Cruz Express. The cost is $3.50 per person. A taxi from the airport into Santa Cruz would cost about $150.
Attractions in Santa Cruz
Paddleboarders flock to Santa Cruz for its reliably calm surf. On the city’s southern border is a town called Capitola, which is popular among travelers for its colorful one-room cottages on the beach. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is famous for its carnival games and amusement park rides, which overlook Monterey Bay. The mountains behind Santa Cruz are home to the campus of the University of California Santa Cruz. The land all around Santa Cruz is wine country. The most famous local vineyard is Bonny Doon, which is located 10 miles north of Santa Cruz along coastal Highway 1.
Santa Cruz Travel Tips
The annual Jay Moriarity Memorial Paddleboard Race is hosted in Capitola each year in June. Most Santa Cruz hotels are located near the beach. The city enjoys high temperatures between the mid-60s and the mid-70s all year-round. It barely rains between May and September. New Brighton Beach State Park offers picnic areas and outdoor recreation near the seashore. Wilder Ranch State Park north of Santa Cruz offers 35 miles of mountain trails and seaside bluffs. There are also horseback riding trails running through the park. Visitors to Santa Cruz can sample the variety of cuisines the city has to offer, including Mexican, seafood, Chinese and vegan. The average cost of a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant is around $35.