About Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County is a diverse community of 267,551 residents situated at the northern tip of Monterey Bay, approximately 65 miles south of San Francisco, 35 miles north of Monterey, and 35 miles southwest of Silicon Valley. Its natural beauty is present in the pristine beaches, lush redwood forests, and rich farmland. It has an ideal Mediterranean climate with low humidity and sunshine 300 days a year.

There are four incorporated cities in the County. The largest is the City of Santa Cruz, with a population of 61,950. Watsonville has a population of 52,067, Scotts Valley has 12,232, and Capitola has 9,846.

Santa Cruz County is the Gateway to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, has 29 miles of coastline and includes numerous state parks and beaches. Its quaint shops and restaurants, coupled with a multitude of cultural and recreational activities, including sailing, fishing, golfing, surfing, kayaking, hiking and biking, provide a wealth of leisure activities. The State of California owns and maintains 42,334 acres of parks in the coastal and mountainous areas of the County. The County maintains an additional 1,593 acres of parks, not including the numerous parks also found within the cities. Cultural amenities include the Santa Cruz County Symphony, the Cabrillo Music Festival, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the McPherson Museum of Art and History, the University of California Performing Arts Center, and the Henry J. Mello Performing Arts Center.

The people of Santa Cruz County are diverse, with 56 percent Caucasian, 34 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian, 4 percent multi-racial, 2 percent Native American and 2 percent African American.

The County’s strong local economy is anchored by technology, agriculture, and tourism. The school system includes Cabrillo Community College and the University of California, Santa Cruz, one of the nation’s best universities. Santa Cruz also hosts the Long Marine Laboratory, the Lick Observatory, the National Marine Fisheries service, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center.

The County is served by the San Jose International Airport, the San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport, Monterey Peninsula Airport, and the Watsonville Municipal Airport.

As of 2021, the County had per capita personal income of $44,278, median income of $89,986, and a median price for single-family housing of $1.2 million. Information for visitors to can be found at www.santacruz.org.