Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park

Update (Feb. 5, 2021): With the Regional Stay at Home Order lifted, State Parks is reopening campground sites for existing reservation holders. The department will be using a phased approach to reopen other campground sites for new reservations, starting January 28. The public is advised that not all campground sites are open to the public due to the pandemic, wildfire impacts and other issues. Additionally, group campsites remain closed. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public remain open.

As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.

Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

What is open now?
  • Parking – weekends only
  • Grounds – weekends only

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
  • Historic building
  • Visitor center
  • Tours
Statewide:
  • Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
  • Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time. 
  • Plan Ahead
    • The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
    • Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
    • SNO-PARKS: Make sure your vehicle is snow ready. A permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site. Parking is on a first come, first-serve basis at all SNO-PARK sites. The public is advised that parking lots are filling up early in the day. Illegal parking is prohibited. More information can be found at ohv.parks.ca.gov/SNOPARKS.
  • Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day. 
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.

California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(831) 425-5849

Park Hours

Call the park to confirm.
Monday, Thursday - Saturday from 10am-4pm;
Sunday 12pm-4pm
Closed Christmas, Dec. 25

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs not allowed in building.

Driving Directions to Santa Cruz Mission SHP

The historic park is in downtown Santa Cruz; take Mission Street to Mission Plaza. The adobe is located one block off the plaza on School Street.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Museums
Family Programs
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available

Visiting the Santa Cruz Mission

The Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park sits atop Mission Hill offering a patio, gardens, and excellent views of the city.  The park features the only building left of the 12th California Mission, Misión la Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz, founded by the Franciscans in 1791.  Restored to its original appearance, the austere single-story adobe was once housing for the California Indian residents of the Mission. Exhibits inside tell the story of the mission through the lens of the experience of the Ohlone and Yokuts people.

Mission Exhibits

This portion of the adobe, built in the early 1800’s, is the only surviving building from Mission Santa Cruz. Archeological excavations in the 1980’s revealed that this had been Indian family housing, the only example of its kind still standing in California today.  The story of the Ohlone and Yokuts Indian experience at the Santa Cruz Mission is depicted through exhibits and a wall-sized movie projection.  These are featured on guided tours, and may also be viewed at leisure on self-guided tours.  The 7-room building also includes information about Ohlone lifeways prior to European contact, archeological excavations and Rodriguez and Neary family histories. 

Reexamining Our Past

At Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park (SHP), we acknowledge that for California Native Americans, this is a site of great loss and trauma. The Spanish Mission system disrupted Native lifeways and traditions through the use of forced manual labor, severe punishments, and the spread of deadly disease. Despite this violence, California Native American people survived, persisted, and continue to practice their culture and traditions. It is our responsibility to share this complex and difficult history with the public in an appropriate and respectful way. The devastating legacy of the Spanish mission system is still widely felt today.

The mission was built on the traditional lands of the Uypi people, who are the ancestral relatives of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. Many California Native American tribes and families, both near and far, were impacted by the mission. For some years now, park staff have consulted with the local Native community to listen to their needs and support their capacity to access cultural resources at the mission site and surrounding State Parks properties. In addition to this, interpretation at Santa Cruz Mission SHP has been updated in collaboration with the Amah Mutsun.

Still, there is more to be done. We commit to work with California Native American people to create a more welcoming place for healing and sharing of personal stories of survival and cultural resilience. These stories will help inform updated exhibits, educational content, and interpretive programming to tell a more accurate history of the mission.