Along Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz, several creeks and streams feed the Pacific Ocean and create excellent estuarial habitat. Waddell Creek Beach is just one example, and it has been incorporated into Big Basin Redwoods State Park. If you enjoy bird watching, nature photography, or just relaxing by the ocean, this is a great spot to consider. The birds are not the only ones here taking flight, as Waddell Beach is a popular wind and kite surfing destination. Waddell is also a favorite beach break among surfers of the region, best on southwest swells.
Waddell Creek has vault toilets, but no other park amenities. This is a sandy beach that is much longer than it is wide. There is a section where the creek flows out onto the beach, and it is a hot spot for viewing waterfowl in action. The parking is free, and if you have time, the Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center is a great stop just a short distance down Canyon Road. Hiking trails leading into Big Basin are located across Highway 1.