Cowell Beach

Cowell Beach is located on the westside of Santa Cruz’s wood-built municipal wharf in the downtown district. Stretching from the wharf to the cliffs overlooked by West Cliff Drive, this broad sweep of golden sand is popular for a number of reasons.

Beyond the delights of its sands, it is close to the amusements of the boardwalk, and is also popular for those looking to be a little more active than basking in the Californian sun, and there are a good number of courts marked out for anyone interested in a game of beach volleyball.

Cowell Beach is also a favourite of beginner surfers, since the waves tend to be relatively gentle. Long and slow, the breaks are a favorite with long boarders too. However, more experienced surfers will want to head instead to the Steamer Lane break that lies between Cowell Beach and Point Santa Cruz. Kit can be hired out from a number of stores on the beachfront.

Before entering the water, it’s well worth checking out the current conditions, as the water quality can vary here. Street parking is available, but can be tricky to find during the summer months, with many spots reserved for permit holders.

Nearest town/city

Santa Cruz


CA 95060


  • Good fishing
  • Swimming/bathing
  • Surfing

Lifeguard service



  • Cafe/restaurant
  • Restroom/toilets

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2022-09-28 18:00:00

Current weather (Wed Sep 28th 18:00)

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(Clear sky)
23.8°C / 75°F

Sea temperature

Cowell Beach surf forecasts

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