Santa Cruz County is located on the territory of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (AMLT). Collectively referred to by many as “Ohlone,” the AMLT are the indigenous peoples of the territories ranging from Año Nuevo to the greater Monterey Bay area. Historically comprised of more than 20 politically distinct peoples, the modern tribe represents the surviving descendant families of the indigenous people who survived the Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista missions. Working the lands known to them as Popeloutchom for millennia, it is the goal of AMLT to restore the Mutsun people and their knowledge to better conserve and protect these lands.

Incorporated 1850

Total Population:


Source U.S. Census

More Santa Cruz History

Santa Cruc County Map

Natural Environment

Santa Cruz County offers 29 miles of beaches and large amounts of undeveloped land for recreational enjoyment and natural conservation. Santa Cruz County has a mild climate and rich biodiversity with its magnificent redwood forests, serene meadows, and wetlands. Popular outdoor recreational activities include tide pooling, hiking, surfing, mountain biking, sailing, kayaking, and more.

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From high tech to outdoor fun, from wholesome foods to fine craftsmanship, and from mountain wineries to coastal strawberry fields, Santa Cruz County encompasses a variety of economic industry. Santa Cruz County represents a brand identity unparalleled across the globe.

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Santa Cruz County has one of the nine prestigious University of California colleges, UCSC. Perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, UC Santa Cruz offers rigorous academic programs and cutting-edge research. Cabrillo College is a recognized leader in the California Community Colleges system. At the TK-12 level, ten public school districts serve about 40,000 students.

Cabrillo College
County Office of Education


Santa Cruz County is rich with arts festivals and institutions. Long standing festivals such as the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and Shakespeare Santa Cruz have more recently been joined by the Watsonville Film Festival. Art centers such as Pajaro Valley Arts and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History gather community together in creative celebration of the County's rich cultural history.

Santa Cruz County Symphony
Cabrillo Music Festival
Watsonville Film Festival
Tannery Arts Center
Museum of Art and History
Shakespeare Santa Cruz
Pajaro Valley Arts

In the Movies

Santa Cruz County's towering redwoods served as the backdrop for many of Hollywood's earliest westerns. Filmmaking in Santa Cruz County began in 1910, when "Bronco Billy" Anderson arrived with his studio in a boxcar. He came in search of redwood forests and filmed as many as 31 westerns in one year. By 1926, more than 100 movies had been made using Santa Cruz locations.

For over 90 years now, Santa Cruz County has continued to lure filmmakers with its scenic beauty.

  • US
  • Lost Boys
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space
  • Chasing Mavericks
  • Bird Box
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