With so many different cities to explore and things to see, California is a popular road trip destination. Many people visiting the Golden State like to head up and down the Pacific Highway, stopping at various places along the way like Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and more. Another key stop on any exploration of the California coastline has to be Santa Cruz. Situated in Santa Cruz County, around 30 miles outside of San Jose and 75 miles away from San Francisco, this beautiful city really typifies and embodies everything that makes California great. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


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This city features Mediterranean-style architecture, gorgeous beaches, fun attractions, redwood forests, amazing scenery, and so much more. It's also well-known as the home of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk; founded all the way back in 1907, this oceanfront amusement park is one of the oldest continuously operating amusement parks anywhere in the world. Other key locations to enjoy and explore around Santa Cruz include the Mission Santa Cruz, Seaside Beach, the Mission Plaza, Natural Bridges State Beach, Wilder Ranch State Park, and the various shops and cafes of Pacific Avenue.

If you're heading down to Santa Cruz, perhaps on a road trip or simply a regular vacation, you'll be happy to learn that there are plenty of low cost accommodation options in this California city in the form of hostels. Santa Cruz hostels provide both shared and private rooms, as well as communal spaces and additional amenities, all at super low and attractive prices. Read on to learn all about a few of the best hostels in Santa Cruz for the next time you visit this beautiful coastal city.

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2.HI Santa Cruz Hostel

HI Santa Cruz Hostel
© HI Santa Cruz Hostel

If you're a frequent hostel guest, you should probably be familiar with the Hostelling International (HI) network. HI has hostel locations all around the world, with many great hostels in major cities around the United States. This hostel chain is known for offering super levels of service, great rooms, and useful additional facilities at each one of its locations, and the HI Santa Cruz Hostel is no exception to those rules.

There aren't actually too many hostels in the Santa Cruz area, so the HI Santa Cruz Hostel is one of your only options if you want to stay in a hostel in this California city. Fortunately, it's a really good hostel, so you won't need to worry about looking anywhere else. Past guests have even given this hostel a perfect 10/10 rating on leading hostel review sites, so you can be sure it's a great place to stay.

The HI Santa Cruz Hostel itself is located in a really excellent location near the coast of the city, only minutes away from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and other key locations like the Walton Lighthouse, Neary Lagoon Park, Santa Cruz Riverwalk Park, Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, and Twin Lakes State Beach. In short, this hostel is perfect for travelers to explore Santa Cruz and the local area, with most main landmarks, beaches, and attractions being within walking distance.

As for the hostel itself, you'll find good quality rooms, comfortable bed linen, and clean facilities throughout this location, which is spread out over several old, Victorian-era buildings. The hostel has a 'quiet hours' policy, meaning that all guests need to be respectful of each other and keep the noise down after 11pm, so you can be sure of getting a good night's sleep here. You'll also find laundry machines on-site so can keep all of your clothes and things clean and fresh, as well as free storage facilities for your luggage, bike, or beach equipment, which is another nice bonus.

As well as the rooms and dorms, you'll find tea and coffee making facilities, free internet access, free maps of the city and local area, free towels, board games, DVDs, and a book exchange program at this hostel, as well as an outdoor terrace area, secure storage lockers, and a communal kitchen with microwave, fridge/freezer, and more.

321 Main St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-423-8304

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3.Surf City Inn & Suites

Surf City Inn & Suites
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Another good option for hostel fans in the city of Santa Cruz is Surf City Inn & Suites. This isn't a pure and traditional hostel location, but it does offer a similar sort of vibe and the same sort of facilities you would expect from a hostel, as well as providing very affordable accommodation for travelers in the beautiful coastal city of Santa Cruz.

This hostel is situated over on Riverside Avenue, right by Santa Cruz Riverwalk Park, so it's a super spot for people who just want to wake up, step outside, and be surrounded by beautiful scenery and fun things to do. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is only a few minutes away by foot, with other key locations like the Mission Santa Cruz, Walton Lighthouse, Twin Lakes State Beach, and Santa Cruz Wharf also within walking distance. There are some great bars and restaurants right nearby this Santa Cruz hostel as well, so you can really use this place as a super base for exploring the local area.

Inside Surf City Inn & Suites, you'll find clean, comfortable rooms. Some of the rooms come with kitchenettes, and all guests have Wi-Fi access, as well as the opportunity to enjoy some free breakfast snacks in the mornings before heading out around the city. There are several different room types to choose from at this location, which really stands out for its cleanliness and friendly staff.

You'll be able to speak to the staff any time you need and they'll be happy to provide maps of the city and some helpful pointers about what to do and where to go to make the most of your trip. You'll also find a swimming pool and a hot tub at this location, as well as vending machines, a business center, a terrace space, and more.

619 Riverside Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-423-9515

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3 Best Santa Cruz Hostels

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