Cowell Beach

Santa Cruz

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

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Cowell Beach


  • Cowell Beach.- Cowell Beach
  • Beach access.- Cowell Beach
  • The Santa Cruz Wharf from Cowell Beach- Cowell Beach
  • The Santa Cruz Wharf from Cowell Beach.- Cowell Beach
  • Development abuts Cowell Beach.- Cowell Beach
  • A curious seal takes a look at things near Cowell Beach.- Cowell Beach
  • Low tide at Cowell Beach.- Cowell Beach
  • The distinctive sculpture near the wharf at Cowell Beach.- Cowell Beach
Overview + Weather
Easy access. Sheltered beach. Surfing
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, CA
Location type: 
Sandy beach
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Sponsored Contributor

Located right next to the Santa Cruz Wharf and Beach Boardwalk, this beach is a hotspot for locals and tourists alike. Cowell Beach is a popular surfing spot as well. If the surf is up, you can expect to see dozens of wetsuits dotting the ocean waiting for the next wave. The shoreline is sandy and stretches along the cliff face where West Cliff starts. Some amazing sunrises and sunsets can be seen from here also.

Wildlife can be abundant here at times, and to get a better view just walk down the wharf. There are always sea lions coming to and from the wharf, and you may see an occasional sea otter. Gray whales can be seen from the far end of the wharf during migration season, and there are always plenty of sea birds hanging around. 

Parking can be a little tricky here at times. If this small parking lot is full, try your luck along Beach Street or on the wharf and walk in. A few restaurants and bars are within walking distance from here as well.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(18 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(109 within a 30 mile radius)

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Adventure Community

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