Located off of the Santa Cruz Harbor, Twin Lakes State Beach is easily accessible and offers fire pits, restrooms, and great views of the sailing ships as they enter and exit the harbor. Being a moderately sized beach, crowds can become an issue, so arrive early if you want to take advantage of the fire pits. Be sure to watch for the area's abundant wildlife, including the gray whales that migrate off-shore each year. Across East Cliff Drive, the beautiful Schwan Lagoon offers wildlife viewing as well.
Note that parking at Twin Lakes State Beach is controlled by a seasonal permit, and this can become difficult to negotiate during the busy season. A kiosk stationed near the parking lot sells parking passes when they are available.