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Capitola

Public Schools: Main Street, Soquel Elementary, New Brighton Middle, Soquel High

Nearby Grocery: Whole Foods, Nob Hill 

Surf Breaks: Capitola

This beach neighborhood is called Pleasure Point for the name of the point from which a collection of great surf breaks are derived. The neighborhood is defined between the eastern side of Pleasure Point to the east edge of Opal Cliffs, just to the west of Capitola. Along this stretch of coast there really isn't much beach, except at low tide. During low tides there is a nice beach that forms at the end of 38th Ave and another that forms at Privates, just below Opal Cliffs. The surf breaks all along here are excellent with the most popular being Pleasure Point and The Hook at the end of 41st ave. The local surf vibe here is historic with neighbors like Jack O'Neill who still lives on East Cliff Drive near Pleasure Point. Here's an overview of the housing in this neighborhood:


This neighborhood is a mix of primary and vacation/second homes with homes priced from the mid $600k range, further inland of Portola Drive, to over $4M on East Cliff Drive and Opal Cliffs Drive. This neighborhood is split into two sections, a larger section up from the water and west of 41st which most people view as Pleasure Point and a smaller section just east of this area called Opal Cliffs. The architecture style of the homes in this neighborhood are still mostly beach bungalow but new construction is slowly converting more homes to larger modern Mediterranean or beach home styles. Most lots in this neighborhood are smaller and parking is tight. In this neighborhood you'll find lots of great shops like O'Neils, Billabong, Rip Curl and the Santa Cruz Boardroom,  and lots of tasty local eateries such as the Point Chop House, Pleasure Point Pizza, Betty Burger and Naka Sushi.

Twin Lakes

Public Schools: Live Oak Elementary, Shoreline Middle, Harbor High

Nearby Private Schools: VHM Christian

Nearby Grocery: Deke's Market, Karen's Market

Surf Break: Murph Bar

This beach neighborhood is called Seabright, for the large beach that it abuts to. Seabright beach, also know to some locals as Castle beach for the old castle like structure that was built on the bottom of 4th Avenue back about 1900, is the deepest beach in Santa Cruz County. What makes this beach so deep (about 500 feet on the eastern edge) is the large concrete jetty structure on the eastern edge that creates the opening and protects the entrance for the Santa Cruz harbor. This beach doesn't have a surf break and the beach break is a little larger than the Main Beach just to the west, so body surfing and boogie boarding are more popular here.  This beach has public restrooms and showers, has fire rings for beach bonfires, and dogs are allowed on leash. Due to its deep size, this beach is ideal for larger beach parties and volleyball nets. Here's an overview of the housing in this neighborhood:


This is mostly a vacation/second home neighborhood with homes priced from the mid $500k range, further up from the beach, to over $3M on East Cliff Drive. The architecture style of the homes in this neighborhood vary but the predominate style is beach bungalow and most lots and homes are smaller. In this neighborhood you'll find the Museum Of Natural History (a must see on weekdays) and great local eateries like Aldos, Seabright Brewery, and Betty Burger.

Seabright

Public Schools: Gault Elementary, Branciforte Middle, Santa Cruz High

Nearby Private Schools: Santa Cruz Children's School, Midtown Montessori

Nearby Grocery: Staff of Life, Whole Foods

Surf Break: Beach break only

This neighborhood is wrapped around Cowell's Beach and the Main Beach in Santa Cruz and abuts next to one of the largest attractions in the central coast area, The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. This neighborhood also abuts to the largest and most visited wharf in the Monterey Bay area, The Santa Cruz Wharf, which contains many restaurants and shops. There are two beaches connected to this neighborhood, Cowell's Beach on the western edge and the Main Beach directly in front of the Boardwalk and bordered on the eastern side by the San Lorenzo River. Cowell's Beach is the best beginners surf break in the county as the break is gentle and rolls on for hundreds of feet just to west of the Santa Cruz Wharf. A great place to rent surf boards or get lessons is at Cowells Beach Surf Shop. The Main Beach is a nice large beach with a very gentle beach break for kids and beginner swimmers. The Main Beach also has many volleyball nets and hosts summer tournaments from the California Beach Volleyball Association.  


This neighborhood has two distinct areas, the first is a small area called Beach Hill that, like the name suggests, is a hill just behind the Main Beach and Boardwalk (slightly west) that contains some of the most beautiful and majestic victorian homes in the county and some with panoramic ocean views. These homes are priced between the mid $800k range to over $2M. The architectures vary in this neighborhood but the signature style is Victorian. The property in this neighborhood is a mix of vacation/second homes and larger primary homes. The second area is called Beach Flats and is directly behind (slightly east) the Boardwalk and abuts to the San Lorenzo River. The Beach Flats area is a collection of smaller beach bungalows priced more affordably between $400k - $1M. The architectural style of these smaller bungalows are mostly craftsman. 

Beach Hill & Flats

Public Schools: Bayview Elementary, Mission Hill Middle, Santa Cruz High

Nearby Private Schools: Spring Hill, Holy Cross

Nearby Grocery: New Leaf

Surf Break: Cowells

West cliff

Public Schools: Bayview Elementary, Mission Hill Middle, Santa Cruz High

Nearby Private Schools: Pacific Collegiate School, Gateway

Nearby Grocery: New Leaf, Safeway

Surf Break: Mitchell's CoveSteamers Lane

This beach neighborhood is called West Cliff for the ocean front drive that wraps around it. However, the beaches connected to this neighborhood begin with Natural Bridges State beach on the western edge, then Mitchell's Cove about 1 mile further east, then to Its Beach at the eastern edge, just below Lighthouse Field. Steamers Lane, the surf break just below Lighthouse Point, is the best known surf break in northern California and there are many surf tournaments held here, like the Cold Water Classic. Here's an overview of the housing in this neighborhood.


This is an upscale westside neighborhood with homes priced from the mid $800k range, about 4 to 6 blocks away from the beaches, to well over $3M on West Cliff Drive. The architecture style of the homes in this neighborhood vary somewhat but the signature style is Victorian.  Many of the early and larger homes along West Cliff Drive where built in the late 1800s and some still stand as proud and refurbished estates on large lots, This neighborhood boasts the longest and most walked sidewalk path skirting the cliff about 60 feet above the ocean making it the most popular walking, biking, and skating path in Santa Cruz County. Just above this neighborhood towards Mission Street are some great local eateries such as West End Tap and Kitchen, Ristorante Avanti, and the Aquarius Restaurant at the Dream Inn.

Beach Neighborhoods

This is a continuation of the same strip of beach at Seascape that spans further south to the end of Lilly Way and is called Manresa State Beach. This area of the Monterey Bay is much less protected from the westerly winds and therefore the surf is usually stronger and carries multiple tiers of break. It's recommended that only stronger swimmers or surfers enter these waters as both the surf and currents become much stronger. If you are an experienced surfer this beach break can really be nice as it's much less crowded than surf breaks to the north. This beach area also gets more fog than beaches to the north.


This neighborhood is a mix of primary and vacation/second homes and is split into two different areas, La Selva Beach and Sand Dollar Beach. The main access to La Selva Beach is by way of San Andreas Road, then along Playa Boulevard.  La Selva Beach is quaint and quiet beach neighborhood of larger and smaller, mostly modern styled beach homes many with reverse floor plans that maximizes any ocean view each property might have. Homes in La Selva Beach range from $600k for smaller beach homes inland of San Andreas Road to over $3M for larger homes that front the beach on Vista Drive. The second area is a little further south on San Andreas Road, then up along Sand Dollar Beach Drive towards the ocean. This area is mostly vacation and second homes with many being townhouses or condos right along the beach. This is a beautiful and fairly consistent neighborhood of middle to upper middle class vacation homes priced from $800k to over $3M along the beach. This neighborhood is strictly residential with no restaurants or shops. People who choose this area prefer a quiet and uncrowded beach neighborhood.


Rio Del Mar

Public Schools: Rio Del Mar Elementary, Aptos Junior High, Aptos High

Nearby Grocery: Deluxe Foods, Rio Market 

Surf Breaks: Beach break only

This is a large and deep beach that stretches from Borregas Creek (edge of Pot Belly Beach) on the west to Aptos Creek to the east. This beach is well known for it's smaller (on the west end) to mid sized beach break making it ideal for young families looking for a place to stretch out with a larger party. You can access the western portion of Seacliff beach from the neighborhood above and the eastern portion from the main gate on State Park Drive. The Seacliff Beach has large picnic grounds and is most know for the cement ship, the S.S. Palo Alto, that was berthed along the wood pier back in 1930. Here's an overview of the housing in this neighborhood:


This neighborhood is a mix of primary and vacation/second homes. This neighborhood is split down the middle by State Park Drive with the larger part of the neighborhood to the west of State Park Dive. The area to the west of State Park Drive is a mix of smaller beach homes, mobile homes (Blue Pacific Park), and larger beach homes along Seacliff Drive. The western portion of this neighborhood has the most variation in home price ranging from the mid $300ks to well over $3M along Seacliff Drive. The smaller neighborhood on the eastern side of State Park Drive is more consistent and home here range from $800k to well over $3M along Seacliff Drive.  The Seacliff neighborhood has some great restaurants with international flavors such as Severino's Bar & GrillAmbrosia Indian BistroManuel's and Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine.

East Cliff

Public Schools: Del Mar Elementary, Shoreline Middle, Harbor High

Nearby Private Schools: Tierra Pacifica, Cypress High

Nearby Grocery: Live Oak Market

Surf Break: 26th Ave.

Seascape

Public Schools: Rio Del Mar Elementary, Aptos Junior High, Aptos High

Nearby Grocery: Deluxe Foods, Seascape Foods 

Surf Breaks: Beach break only

New Brighton

Public Schools: Main Street, New Brighton Middle, Soquel High

Nearby Private Schools: Santa Cruz Montessori, Twin Lakes Christian

Nearby Grocery: AJ's Market, Nob Hill 

Surf Breaks: Bombora (reef break on south swells only, east of Capitola)

This beach neighborhood is called East Cliff for the main drive that runs through, East Cliff Drive. The East Cliff neighborhood is defined between the eastern side of Black's Point to the western side of Pleasure Point. The first beach on the western side of this neighborhood is a narrow and fairly deep beach called Sunny Cove Beach. The next beach to the east is Santa Maria Beach and a little further east is a narrow and long beach, with a great surf break, called the 26th Ave Beach. The 26th Ave Beach spans all the way from 24th Ave down to Pleasure Point.  With Black's Point as it anchor, the beach area from Santa Maria all the way to Pleasure Point has multiple great surf spots. You feel the local surf vibe here for sure.  Sunny Cove Beach is located between two cliff areas making it a good wind break and dogs run off leash here. Santa Maria Beach has good tide pools at low tide on the west end and dogs are allowed on leash. Here's an overview of the housing in this neighborhood:


This neighborhood is a mix of primary and vacation/second homes with homes priced from the mid $600k range, further inland of Portola Drive, to over $3M on the avenue culdesacs south of East Cliff Drive. The architecture style of the homes in this neighborhood have traditionally been beach bungalow but new construction in the last 30-years is slowly converting more homes to the modern beach home style. Most lots in this neighborhood are smaller and parking is tight. In this neighborhood you'll find some great local eateries such as the Aloha Grill at 17th and East Cliff and Coles BBQ at 26th and Portola.

This is another long and deep beach (near the Seascape Resort) that stretches from Hidden Beach on the northern edge to the end of Sumner Ave at the southern edge. Seascape Beach is really a section of a very long continuous stretch of beach that spans from the Aptos Creek all the way down to the Pajaro River. As this stretch of beach is more unprotected from the northern part of the Monterey Bay, Seascape Beach is known for it's larger sized beach break making it ideal and more challening for boogie boards, body surfing and an overall great family beach.  With its more western exposure, this beach also gets more fog than the beaches further north and west towards Santa Cruz. Here's an overview of the housing in this neighborhood:


This neighborhood is a mix of primary and vacation/second homes. The main access to this beach neighborhood is by way of Seascape Blvd. This beach neighborhood has three distinct areas, Seascape Beach Estates, Seascape Greens and the Seascape Resort. Seascape Beach Estates is the area at the bottom of Clubhouse Drive where a portion is gated and these homes range from $1M up along Via Tournasol to over $3M below the gate and along Via Gaviota and Via Palo Alto. Seascape Beach Estates is an upscale area and has it's own entrance to the beach where many locals call this Beer Can Beach although it's a clean beach. The second area is a little further south up along Seascape Blvd and streets along Dolphin Drive are called Seascape Greens. This is a beautiful and consistent neighborhood of upper middle class homes with wide strips of green belts (lawns) separating each street. The homes in Seascape Greens range from $800k to about $1.5M down close to Sumner Ave. The third area is the Seascape Resort which is a well manicured condominium property of vacation homes down along the cliff overlooking the beach and ocean. The condos at the Seascape Resort are priced from about the mid $400k range for smaller one bedroom units to over $1M for larger 2 bedroom units with unobstructed ocean views. This neighborhood has a lot to offer with a small shopping village (Seascape Village), a swim and tennis resort (Seascape Sports Club) and some great restaurants and small eateries such as Palapas, Village Host Pizza, Hong Kong Garden and Sanderlings.


Seacliff

Public Schools: Mar Vista Elementary, Aptos Junior High, Aptos High

Nearby Grocery: Safeway, Seacliff Plaza Store

Surf Breaks: Beach break only

This is a smaller beach neighborhood tucked up in the most protected northern tip of the Monterey Bay, making this neighborhood less windy and a little warmer than most neighborhoods in Santa Cruz County. Due to its location this is the perfect spot to launch stand-up paddle boards, ocean kayaks, and other smaller water craft as this beach has a large parking lot that spans all the way down to the top of the beach. You can get an annual pass from New Brighton State Park which enables you to access this beach parking spot all year. The neighborhood is defined between the east edge of Depot Hill to New Brighton Road. The eastern most edge of this beach, at the end of New Brighton Road, is called Pot Belly Beach. This is a quiet and local beach with new public bathrooms and showers. This beach area is known for it's fantastic camping spots just above the cliff overlooking the beach. Here's an overview of the housing in this neighborhood:


This neighborhood is a mix of primary and vacation/second homes, although most homes in this neighborhood are primary homes. This neighborhood is split between two areas. The first is called Cliffwood Heights, located just east of Capitola along Park Ave and is a neighborhood of smaller ranch style homes built in the early 1960s and three larger condominium developments with stunning ocean views. Unlike many other neighborhoods in Santa Cruz County, this is one of the larger and most consistent. These homes are currently priced in the upper $800k range and the condos range from $400k to over $1M. The other area is a strip of beach homes of varying styles along Pine Tree Lane and  Potbelly Beach Road, and priced from the mid $800k range, to over $4M on Pot Belly Beach Road.

This beach neighborhood is called Twin Lakes, for the two lagoons, Woods Lagoon (now the Santa Cruz Harbor) and Schwan Lagoon to the east, that run through and into this beach. Twin Lakes beach spans all the way from the smaller rock jetty on the western edge that boarders the Santa Cruz Harbor inlet to Blacks Point on the far eastern edge. During high tide the eastern side of this state beach is only accessible by way of 15th Ave.  The locals sometime refer to the western side of this beach as Harbor Beach and the eastern side as Blacks Beach. This beach doesn't have a surf break and the beach break is a little larger than Seabright Beach just to the west, so body surfing and boogie boarding are popular here.  This beach has public restrooms and showers, has fire rings for beach bonfires, and volleyball nets. Due to its proximity to the Santa Cruz Harbor this beach neighborhood blends beach goers with sailors. The Santa Cruz Harbor is an excellent place to berth a boat, although berths are not normally available due to popularity, and to launch stand up surfboards (SUP) or ocean kayaks. You can rent a SUP or kayak in the harbor at the SUP Shack and Kayak Connection.  Here's an overview of the housing in this neighborhood:


This neighborhood is a mix of primary and vacation/second homes with homes priced from the mid $600k range, further up from the beach, to over $3M on East Cliff Drive. The architecture style of the homes in this neighborhood have traditionally been beach bungalow but new construction in the last 30-years is slowly converting more homes to the modern beach home style. Most lots in this neighborhood are smaller and parking is tight. In this neighborhood you'll find some great local eateries such as the Crows NestJohnny's Harborside and a few streets up from the beach is the Harbor Cafe.

This is a long beach that stretches from Aptos Creek on the northern edge to an area of the beach called Hidden Beach at the southern edge, at the end of Cliff Drive. The Rio Del Mar Beach is well known for it's mid sized beach break making it ideal for boogie boards, body surfing and an overall great family beach.  Here's an overview of the housing in this neighborhood:


This neighborhood is a mix of primary and vacation/second homes. The main access to this beach neighborhood is by way of Rio Del Mar Blvd. This neighborhood is split between the lower flat area of Rio Del Mar along Aptos Beach Drive and the upper bluff area along Cliff Drive. Most of the Rio Del Mar Beach abuts to Beach Street where most homes are vacation homes. The smaller lower flat area of this neighborhood is priced more modestly from $600k to just over $2M. The larger neighborhood to the south and up along Cliff Drive is a high-end neighborhood where homes range from $800k along Townsend Drive to over $4M along the cliffs overlooking this beach (Kingsbury, Seaview and Bayview Drives) or down on Beach Drive.  The Rio Del Mar neighborhood has some great restaurants and small eateries such as Cafe RioPanda InnPixie Deli and Bittersweet Bistro.

Twin Lakes

Public Schools: Live Oak Elementary, Shoreline Middle, Harbor High

Nearby Private Schools: VHM Christian

Nearby Grocery: Deke's Market, Karen's Market

Surf Break: Murph Bar

La Selva Beach

Public Schools: N/A

Nearby Grocery: El Patio Grocery

Surf Breaks: Manresa

This beach neighborhood is attached to the coolest beach village in Northern California. The neighborhood is defined between the east edge of Opal Cliffs to the east edge of Depot Hill and up from the beach about 6-8 blocks. This is a beach area that has everything, from it's own wharf (for fishing, boat and kayak rentals) to volleyball nets, great shops and restaurants steps away, a nice beginner to intermediate surf break, public bathrooms and showers, and tide pools below Depot Hill at low tide. It's recommended to use the large parking lot towards the back of the Capitola Village or the beach shuttle from a parking lot on Bay Ave. Here's an overview of the housing in this neighborhood:


This neighborhood is a mix of primary and vacation/second homes with homes priced from the mid $700k range in the upper village area, to over $5M on Prospect Ave and on Depot Hill. This neighborhood is split into three sections, on the west side of this neighborhood lies the Jewel Box with smaller homes on streets named for jewels. The homes in the Jewel Box are mostly beach bungalow style with a growing number of modern beach and Mediterranean from 49th over to Prospect Ave. Spanning from the Stockton bridge and up along the east side of the Soquel Creek and over to Bay Ave is another area called Riverview Terrace with smaller beach cottage style homes. The third area is a collection of smaller and larger homes on a larger culdesac (Escalona Drive in/out only) on the eastern side of Capitola called Depot Hill. The architecture style of the homes on Depot Hill are a mix of beach bungalow and Victorian with new construction converting more homes to larger modern Victorian, Mediterranean and modern beach home styles. Most lots in this neighborhood are smaller and parking is by permit only. In Capitola you'll find two key areas for shopping. Further up from the Capitola Village on 41st Ave you'll find the Capitola Mall and Brown Ranch Shopping Place with larger chain stores like Macy's, Kohls, and Bed Bath & Beyond. In the Capitola Village you'll find more local shops like the Capitola Mercantile, Thomas Kinkade GalleryNubia Swimwear, Capitola Beach Company and Petite Provence. The Capitola Village and nearby area offer some of the best local restaurants and eateries such as the Shadowbrook, Stockton Bridge Grill, Paradise Beach Grill,  Gayles Bakery & Rosticceria, Carusos Tuscan, Bella Roma Caffe and Pizza My Heart.