Getting to Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is within driving distance of some of the biggest cities in California, and is also accessible by bus, plane, or boat. For the best ways to get around Santa Cruz, see Transportation in Santa Cruz.

By car:

Santa Cruz is about a 30-minute drive from San Jose and the Silicon Valley, 45 minutes from the Monterey/Carmel area, and 75 minutes from San Francisco. On summer weekends and holidays, the traffic can be heavy (and the drive times longer), so be sure to leave enough time to be able to enjoy everything Santa Cruz has to offer.

Scenic Highway 1 stretches along the breathtaking Pacific Coast and Monterey Bay from San Mateo County in the north to Monterey County in the south. Highway 17 is a beautiful drive from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz through the redwoods and the Santa Cruz mountains.

North:

  • The fastest route from San Francisco and other points north is through San Jose: Take Interstate 280 south or US Highway 101 south to CA Highway 85 and then take CA Highway 17 south to Santa Cruz.
  • The most picturesque, ocean-side route from San Francisco: Take CA Highway 1 south through San Mateo County and Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz.

East:

  • From Oakland, other East-Bay cities, and Sacramento: Take Interstate 80 west to Interstate 880 south which becomes CA Highway 17 to Santa Cruz.
  • From Los Banos, Merced, Fresno, and other points south: Take Interstate 5 or CA Highway 99 to CA Highway 152 west to CA Highway 156 west CA Highway 1 north.

South:

  • From Salinas and points south on CA Highway 101: Take CA Highway 183 West to Highway 1 north.
  • From the Monterey/Carmel area: Take CA Highway 1 north.
For information on road conditions:
  • Real-time traffic conditions and highway webcams in the Santa Cruz County area Regional Transportation Commission's Commute Solutions Traffic Conditions webpage
  • Current road conditions by phone, call the CalTrans (California Department of Transportation), (800) 427-ROAD
  • Visit the California Department of Transportation website and enter the number of the highway you're taking (e.g., Highway 1, 9, 17, 129, 152, or 156)
  • Call 511 or visit http://511.org/ for up-to-the-minute Bay Area traffic, transit, rideshare, and bicycling information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere in the nine-county Bay Area

Parking in Santa Cruz:

22 public parking lots are located throughout the city of Santa Cruz. Download a parking brochure (PDF), or visit http://www.downtownsantacruz.com/ for more information.

 

By bus:

The Amtrak Highway 17 Express bus takes you from downtown San Jose to downtown Santa Cruz in an hour. Santa Cruz Metro buses can help you get around the County from the north coast to Watsonville and around town.

Bus and Train Service:

Greyhound Service - Santa Cruz
Highway 17 Express Bus schedule
Highway 17 Express and Caltrain schedule
Monterey-Salinas Transit Website
Amtrak

For transit guide information for Santa Cruz, please visit: http://www.iridethebus.org/

By plane:

The nearest airports for commercial travel include San Jose International Airport (SJC), Monterey Peninsula Airport (MRY), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and Oakland International Airport (OAK). Watsonville Municipal Airport is a public general aviation airport and Monterey Bay Academy Airport is a private airport. Shuttle and taxi service is available from all airports.

Airport Shuttle Service:

Early Bird Airport Shuttle

820 Bay St., Ste 111, Capitola CA 95010
Phone: 831.462.3933
Fax: 831.462.6946
www.earlybirdairportshuttle.com

Santa Cruz Airport Flyer

4525 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz
(831) 423-5937
www.santacruzairportflyer.com/

Santa Cruz Experience

140 Seaview Avenue, Santa Cruz
(831) 421-9883
thesantacruzexperience.com/

Public transportation between Santa Cruz and local airports:

The following information provides information on public transportation between Santa Cruz and airports in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, and Monterey. (Note: routes and fares may subject to change.)

Santa Cruz to San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Transportation

To

Time

Fare

Runs every

Walk/bike/drive

Pacific Station(Metro Center)
920 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz




SC-Metro:
Highway 17 Express

San Jose (Diridon) Station

1 hr

$4.00

1-2 hours

Caltrain
(800) 427-ROAD

Milbrae Station

1 hr

$5.75

30-60min

BART
415 989-2278

San Francisco Airport (SFO)
BART Station, Int’l Terminal

15-25 min

$1.50

15 min

Total fare: $11.25
Total travel time: 2-3 hrs
Latest departure time: 9:00 pm
Latest return time: 7:45 pm
Approx Driving Hrs: 1-1.5 hrs

For SFO parking options visit:
http://www.flysfo.com/web/page/parking/options/

Santa Cruz to San Jose International Airport (SJC)

Transportation

To

Time

Fare

Runs every

Walk/bike/drive

Pacific Station(Metro Center)




SC Metro:
Highway 17 Express

San Jose (Diridon) Station

1 hr

$4.00

1-2hours

Caltrain
(800) 427-ROAD

Santa Clara Caltrain Station

5 min

$2.25

30-60 min

Airport Flyer VTA: (408)321 2300

San Jose Airport (SJC)
Opposite Terminal A or C

15 min

Free

15-30 min

Total fare: $6.25
Total travel time: 2-2.5 hrs
Latest departure time: 9:00 pm
Latest return time: 9:00 pm
Approx Driving Hrs: 45 mins

For SJS parking options visit:
http://www.airportparkingconnection.com/sjc-san-jose-airport-parking.aspx

Santa Cruz to Oakland International Airport (OAK)

Transportation

To

Time

Fare

Runs every

Walk/bike/drive

Pacific Station(Metro Center)




SC Metro:
Highway 17 Express

San Jose (Diridon) Station

1 hr

$4.00

1-2hours

VTA bus
(408)321 2300

Fremont BART Station

1 hr

$3.50

15-60 min

BART
510 465-2278

Coliseum BART Station

25 min

$3.40

5-20 min

AC Transit
510 891-4700

Oakland Airport(OAK)
4th Curb, between Terminals 1&2

15 min

$1.75

15-30 min

Total fare: $12.65
Total travel time: 3.5 hrs
Latest departure time: 9:00 pm
Latest return time: 7:30 pm
Approx Driving Hrs: 1 hr 15 mins

For OAK parking options visit:
http://www.avistarparking.com/fasttrack/Oakland_%28OAK%29-Airport-Parking

Santa Cruz to Sacramento International Airport (SMF)

Transportation

To

Time

Fare

Runs every

Walk/bike/drive

Pacific Station (Metro Center)




SC Metro:
Highway 17 Express

San Jose (Diridon) Station

1 hr

$4.00

1-2 hours

Capitol Corridor
1-877-974-3322

Sacramento Amtrak Station

3 hr

$26.00

1-3 hours

Sacramento RT
(916) 321-BUSS (2877)

All points in Sacramento


$2.00


Total fare: $31.00
Total travel time: 4-5 hrs
Latest departure time: 6:00 pm
Latest return time: 5:30 pm
Approx Driving Hrs: 3 hrs

For SMF parking options visit:
http://www.ifly.com/sacramento-international-airport/Sacramento-SMF-Airport-Parking

Santa Cruz to Monterey Airport (MRY)

Transportation

To

Time

Fare

Runs every

Walk/bike/drive

Pacific Station (Metro Center)




SC Metro

Watsonville Transit Station

1 hr

$1.50

30 mins

MST
1-888-678-2871

Salinas

1 hr

$3.00

1 hr

MST
1-888-678-2871

Monterey Airport (MRY)

40 mins

$3.00

1 hr

Total fare: $7.50
Total travel time: 2.5-3 hrs
Latest departure time: 6:00 pm
Latest return time: 6:00 pm
Approx Driving Hrs: 45 mins

For MRY parking options visit:
http://www.ifly.com/monterey-peninsula-airport/Monterey-Peninsula-MRY-Airport-Parking

By boat:

The Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor provides permanent moorage and guest berthing to boaters, averaging 15,000 visitor-nights per year. Santa Cruz Harbor is situated between Monterey Harbor and Pillar Point Harbor of Half Moon Bay. Coordinates of Walton Lighthouse at the harbor entrance are 36° 57’ 36” north, 122° 00’ 06” west.

Is it sunny in Santa Cruz?

Before you jump in your car to drive to Santa Cruz, you can answer the important question of "Is it foggy in Santa Cruz?" by checking out one of many webcams in Santa Cruz. And, as anyone who has been to Santa Cruz knows, a foggy start to the morning can end with one of the most beautiful, sunny days at the beach as the fog lifts and the sun comes out to shine on our beautiful beaches and mountains!

Santa Cruz Web Cams

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Webcam
Santa Cruz Harbor Beach Webcam
Santa Cruz Harbor EntranceWebcam
Santa Cruz Walton Light House Point Webcam
Santa Cruz Harbor Westside Webcam
Santa Cruz Harbor Main Channel Webcam
Rio Del Mar Beach Webcam
Cabrillo College Aptos Webcam

Transportation Policies

The Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce proactively represents highway users, including automobile, truck and commuter traffic, at appropriate meetings of the Transportation Commission, Board of Supervisors, and City Council. Our Chamber represents motorists in an effort to ensure that important congestion-relieving projects such as: the widening of Highway 1; increasing roadway capacity; and improving safety and maintenance become the highest priority for action and funding. For more information on how the Chamber coordinates the efforts of roadway user groups and ensures that the voices of local motorists are heard, please visit the Community Affairs Committee page.