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  • Hannah Mendoza

The Best Places to Snap a Picture in Santa Cruz, CA

Updated: Feb 16

Beach town. Nature. Locals all around. Over the course of my life in this sunny town, it has given me all the insight into the best places to take pictures at. Locations that not many know about. Hold on tight as I unfold my secret Locals guide to the surfer's town, Santa Cruz.

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This sunny beach town is more than the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. As someone who works in customer service, I encounter countless tourists who go on and on about going to the Boardwalk and the Mystery Spot. & although there is nothing wrong with that, trust me when I say there is more to this beautiful picturesque town to visit and take countless pictures at. Here are some of my personal favorite locations located in/near Santa Cruz County


1. Loch Lomond


I have absolutely no idea why it took me an eternity to discover this stunning place or how this Santa Cruz beauty has remained a secret for so long between not only tourists but to my surprise, locals too. Perfect for a warm sunny picnic type day, Loch Lomond is an absolute beauty to enjoy a beautiful day at. Furthermore highlighting how perfect it is for a minimalistic or nature vibes photo-op.

Address: 100 Loch Lomond Way, Felton, CA 95018



2. Garden of Eden


Known by many locals, The Garden Of Eden is absolutely stunning. Aside from the countless teenagers you'll find roaming around, visiting The Garden of Eden is an absolute must as it highlights the beauty surrounding the tall redwoods of Santa Cruz and stunning stream that is perfect to swim around in on a hot sunny day. If you're looking to take photos within the magical woods of Santa Cruz, The Garden of Eden is a must.


p.s. : (I would not recommend going or walking around alone for your own safety).


Address: CA-9, Felton, CA 95018


3. Swanton Berry Farm


Located right by the stunning Davenport beaches, Swanton Berry Farm remains one of my favorite spots to take photos at and eat the best piece of Strawberry Shortcake I have ever tasted. A blend of rustic and beachside vibes, this spot is a no brainer for anyone looking to take cute pictures by the beach with a hint of cute countryside appeal. Not only that, but you can also participate in picking your very own organic strawberries right by the side of the beach. & trust me when I say they are as delicious as they sound! I mean...how much better can it truly get?


Address: 25 Swanton Rd, Davenport, CA 95017


4. Succulent Gardens


Located 31 minutes away from the core of Santa Cruz, Succulent Gardens is by far the most beautiful, picture-esque location to visit. For all my Instagram gals, this one is for you. As noted through my photoshoot at the location featuring the promotion of my blog debut, this place has a variety of spots you can take pictures at. If you have a garden-y photoshoot in mind, Succulent Gardens is where it's at. The staff is extremely kind about taking pictures and their succulent filled buggy is a must-see. & after taking pictures at the location, don't forget to look around and consider purchasing from their beautiful variety of succulents. I most certainly did.


Address: 2133 Elkhorn Rd, Castroville, CA 95012



5. Gizdich Ranch


A well worth 30 minute trip from the core of Santa Cruz, this location is an absolute must for all my countryside lovers. If you are looking into taking photos with a farm vibe and countryside appeal, Gizdich Ranch is where it's at. Not only that but they sell the best apple pie you will ever taste. Not to mention there are quite a few things to do at this ranch besides photos. 10/10 recommend for anyone interested In all things countryside.


Address: 55 Peckham Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076


However...


To be completely honest, you can make any location look amazing with the right execution. Some of my favorite photos have been at locations that one wouldn't normally think of. For example, this photoshoot was in location for sports yet with this stunning dress from Lulus and the right execution no one would have ever known.



& let us not forget what makes this city what it is, the beautiful beach sides. My favorite being West Cliff, which is definitely a must go to and a picture-perfect location too.


All in all, this city is far more than the amusement park. I encourage you all to visit one of the places listed and don't forget to tag me on your Instagram post using #HMguidetoSC.


love,

Hannah