Santa Cruz is rich in tradition and famous in history. Santa Cruz has been a famous resort destination for many generations and for many great reasons, even Hollywood’s elite would escape to unwind and retreat here.


  • Awaswas, Ohlone and Costanoan Native tribes lived in this coastal region stretching from San Francisco to the Monterey Bay.
  • Settlement began in 1791 Santa Cruz in Spanish means Holy Cross.
  • California became the 31st state in 1850. The City of Santa Cruz was incorporated in 1866 and chartered in April 1876. Local industries included lumber, gunpowder, lime and agriculture.
  • July 4th, 1874 “Camp Capitola” was officially opened as “Capitola by the Sea” a popular vacation destination;  a charming coastal town also known as”Capitola Village by the Sea.”
  • In the late 19th century Santa Cruz became one of the original beach resort cities in California.
  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk an oceanfront amusement park operating continuously since 1907.
  • Santa Cruz Wharf a landmark destination constructed in 1914.
  • Miss California pageant 1924-1925 
  • Marion Hollins 1929  the original owner of Pasatiempo Golf Course a celebrity haven and get away for Hollywood’s elite. Miss Hollins entertained her close friends; Walt Disney, Groucho Marx, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford to name a few.
  • Alfred Hitchcock purchased a 200 acre estate in Scotts Valley in 1940 known as “Heart o’ the Mountains.” In 1963 his film “The Birds,” Santa Cruz is mentioned as the place this phenomenon first occurred. Local news reported incidents where birds got lost in fog, headed toward city lights and invaded the towns of Capitola and Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz was Hitchcock’s escape from the film industry, yet while he rarely shot scenes in the county, he took inspiration from these surroundings. Local legend indicates the mansion in 1960’s “Psycho” was based on the setting of the dilapidated Hotel McCray (now Sunshine Villa) on Beach Hill
  • Jack O’Neill founded a brand, originator of the wetsuit and opened one of California’s first surf shops in 1952.
  • University of California, Santa Cruz founded in 1965 as premier research institution & educational hub.
  • Lost Boys filmed 1987 about two brothers who move to Santa Cruz and end up fighting a gang of young vampires. You can still find the actual house that was featured in the film.
  • Chasing Mavericks filmed in 2012 honoring the life of young local surfer Jay Moriarity an accomplished surfer, waterman, and adventurer. As a surfer, he made his reputation surfing Mavericks in Half Moon Bay, California. At age 16, he was made internationally famous when his wipeout at Mavericks was caught on film and made the cover of Surfer magazine. Although a successful competitor, Jay is remembered as a soul surfer.