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About Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County Map

Santa Cruz County is located on the California coast, situated at the north end of the Monterey Bay. The County Government Center is located at 701 Ocean Street in the City of Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz County has 262,382 residents and is situated at the northern tip of Monterey Bay, 65 miles south of San Francisco, 35 miles north of Monterey, and 35 miles southwest of the 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 within Santa Cruz County. The largest is the City of Santa Cruz, with a population of 59,946. Watsonville has a population of 51,199; Scotts Valley has 11,580, and Capitola has 9,918.

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, golf, surfing, kayaking and hiking, 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 Santa Cruz County. The County maintains an additional 1,400 acres of parks, and numerous parks are 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.

Santa Cruz County’s strong local economy is anchored by vibrant high technology, agriculture, and tourism, and the school system includes Cabrillo Community College and the University of California, Santa Cruz. 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.

Santa Cruz 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. Rail access is provided by Union Pacific Railroad, with a railhead at Watsonville Junction.

Per capita personal income is $32,862. The median income is $65,253. Median value for owner-occupied housing is $648,700. Santa Cruz County Government has a workforce of 2,319 employees in 20 agencies and departments and an annual budget of approximately $595 million.

These elements of high quality living make Santa Cruz one of California’s most desirable living areas.

Census data on Santa Cruz County can be found here: Information for visitors to Santa Cruz County can be found at