Set along the rocky cliffs of Santa Cruz's east side, Opal Cliffs is an unincorporated community and series of beaches that overlook picturesque Monterey Bay. From the cliff top multiple public stairways provide access to beaches and some of Santa Cruz's popular surfing locations such as The Hook and Pleasure Point. Free parking, dog-friendly beaches, and a good surfing setup attract people from around the region. Crowds and parking can be an issue at times, particularly on weekends.
Opal Cliffs is a great to see an variety of wildlife frequenting the nearshore waters of nutrient-rich Monterey Bay. Pelicans and gulls often fly overhead, sea otters feed amongst the kelp, and gray whale and dolphin sightings are fairly common. Restrooms are located in the parking lot, and picnic tables are also available. Whether you're interested in a low tide walk along the beach, one of the classic surf breaks along the point, or just to enjoy the great view of the Pacific from the cliffs, Opal Cliffs is a nice spot to visit in the Santa Cruz area.