Santa Cruz : California


What It Is Like to Retire in Santa Cruz

The waterfront town of Santa Cruz, California, is situated on the northern edge of Monterey Bay, with a population of about 63,000 residents. Located in Santa Cruz County, the city is known as an artsy beach community, but it is also considered the center of organic farming and is an agricultural mecca with fields of fruits and vegetables, vineyards and apple orchards. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is recognized as one of the best in the world with an amusement park that has been operating since 1907, and has rides that are listed as a National Historic Landmarks. Also home to the University of California Santa Cruz and its 18,000 students, it lowers the median age of the city to just 24. The bicycle friendly town offers a beautiful coastline and natural environment with redwood forests and a marine sanctuary. Picture of A Pacific Avenue street corner courtesy of Wikipedia and Techgeist (public domain).

Where to Retire in Santa Cruz and Home Prices

Zillow reports the median home value to be very high at $1,269,542. in late 2021.

What Is Special about Santa Cruz

Located in a pretty spot on the the Monterey Bay and below the Santa Cruz Mountains, the community offers a lot of outdoor recreation choices including fishing, kayaking, surfing, hiking and biking. The Beach Boardwalk, an oceanfront amusement park, is considered one of the best in the world.

What Is Not Special about Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz has a high crime rate, much of it pertaining to property crime. There is also a very high rate of homelessness here.

Who Will Like Retirement in Santa Cruz

Those who want to live in a waterfront college town would enjoy Santa Cruz. There are art galleries, many organic farms and farm-to-table restaurants. The University of California Santa Cruz hosts lectures, performances, exhibits, and sporting events, along with offering volunteer opportunities. The Santa Cruz library has several branches and a bookmobile to bring books to patrons. The town also has several parks for birding and walking, hiking areas, public transportation and a hospital.

Local Economy Is Driven by

The economy is diverse with the principal industries of Santa Cruz being agriculture, tourism, education (UC Santa Cruz) and technology. The University is the largest employer.

Climate and Physical Environment

Santa Cruz has a moderate climate with January's average temperature 50 degrees, and July's average 61 degrees.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The vibrant town is home to many restaurants, and hosts several festivals, cultural events, outdoor performances and concerts. The city believes in environmental awareness with plentiful organic farms, bike-friendly streets, drought-tolerant gardening incentives, and local art.


The crime rate is very high.

Medical Facilities

There are hospitals here and many medical facilities.


Santa Cruz offers public bus transportation, and has an above average walkability score; The city does have a small international airport, with a larger one in San Francisco, about 60 miles away. Santa Cruz is a very bike friendly town with an extensive network of bike lanes and trails.

Valuable Links

City of Santa Cruz

What people are saying about Santa Cruz

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