7:00 AM to Sunset
Lighthouse Field State Beach
Also known as Point Santa Cruz, this area forms the northern boundary of Monterey Bay. It is one of the last open headlands in any California urban area. Surfers, tourists, birds - including the rare Black Swift and wintering Monarch butterflies are drawn to this area. Sea lions populate the offshore rocks.
This is one of the places where Monarch butterflies winter along the California coast. Monarchs are unique because they migrate each winter to avoid freezing weather. The Monarchs wintering here, come from west of the Rocky Mountains. Monarchs east of the Rockies go to central Mexico for the winter.
Lighthouse Field State Beach has the distinction of being home to California's first surfing museum. The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum is in the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse at Lighthouse Point on West Cliff Drive. Overlooking internationally renowned surfing hotspot Steamer Lane, this museum has photographs, surfboards, and other interesting items tracing over 100 years of surfing history in Santa Cruz.
Among many noteworthy community events, Lighthouse Field State Beach hosts "Caroling Under the Stars" each Christmas, a Santa Cruz tradition which attracts hundreds of locals and visitors.
Location - Directions
The beach is on West Cliff Drive in downtown Santa Cruz.
Seasons - Climate - Recommended clothing
The weather can be changeable; layered clothing is recommended.
Available Activities and Facilities at Lighthouse Field State Beach
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Drinking Water Available