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Davenport Beaches Activities

Santa Cruz County

Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.

Surfing Davenport Beaches

Surfers like the Davenport area, partly because it's away from the Santa Cruz commotion and partly because the waves can be more reliable than at places like Steamer Lane.

Davenport Beach is best in the morning or evening when the winds aren't so strong. On weekends it can fill up, but most of the time there is plenty of room. Waves range from 3 to 5 feet, breaking both left and right. At times the surf can get really high and its best left to the experts.

Davenport Landing Beach has a great break by the exposed reef by the cliffs on the north end of the beach. Also a left reef on the south end of the beach. Watch out for rocks. Conditions are best when the swells are coming from the southwest. Surfers keep their eyes open for sharks here.

Scott Creek Beach is popular year-round with surfers. The reef break at the north end of the beach produces the best breaks. At times the surf can be pretty big. It is not a beginner's beach. Most surfers prefer the beach in the morning or evening when the wind isn't so strong. During the winter they know to look for a break along the middle of the beach when the action of the creek generates a sandbar.

wheelchair ramp at Davenport Landing Beach, CA

Davenport Landing Beach

Photographing the Davenport Coast

The scenic beaches and rugged Pacific shore around Davenport attract photographers from across the state. Wave carved sea stacks, tide pools, waterfalls, tunnels, caves, and the rock patterns of the cliffs combined with the ever-changing surf, sky and light make rewarding subjects for the camera lens. A number of photographers specialize in the local beaches, from Davenport Landing and Shark Fin Cove south to Panther Beach and Hole-in-the-Wall.

Many photographers work at night with the light of a full moon casting a soft glow across the seascape. Sunsets are a particular favorite subject, along with close-ups of fascinating rock formations, dripping water, and rippling streams.

Leading Photographers

Jim Patterson
Patterson is well known for his artistic touch and his ability to capture unique images of the coast. He works in both black and white and color. His workshops fill quickly. See his work at Jim Patterson Photography,

Jay Tankersley
Tankersley creates stunning photographs of the Davenport coast with his use of slow exposures. Vibrant colors characterize his breathtaking sunsets. View his work at
Jay Tankersley Photography.

Mark Gvazdinskas
Rich color and dramatic settings are evident in many of Gvazdinskas' photographs. He also photographs in monochrome. View his work at
Silent G Photography.

Ivan Makarov
Makarov uses monochrome photography to capture a different image of the Davenport coast. His photographs of the old Davenport pier are mesmerizing. His creative use of light creates drama and excitement in his work. Enjoy his photographs at
Ivan Makarov Photography.

The Photographers Guide to the
California Coast

Nearby Activities and Events

Wildflower Weekend

April 22, 2017
Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center, inland from Waddell Beach
(831) 427.2288
Free nature hikes to view the wildflowers at 12:00 - 4:00 PM.
Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

Davenport Gallery

450 Highway 1, Davenport, CA
(831) 426-1199
Quality local art on display, including fine crafts and jewelry.

Santa Cruz Goya Windsurfing Festival

June TBA, 2016
Waddell Beach has become a regular stop for the American Windsurfing Tour, which saw 75 competitors gather there for the 2011 competition. Competitors from about the world vied for a share of the $5000 prize money.

Photography and Art Workshops

California Coast Photography workshop, January 2017 - Explore and photograph the unique features of the California coast from Santa Cruz to San Gregorio.
Sea to Summit Workshops

Maryjo Koch Workshops at her studio in nearby Bonny Doon, 3 miles from Bonny Doon Beach.
Watercolor, gouache, journaling, and collage.
Maryjo Koch, Illustrator, Author & Naturalist

Ocean Safety

California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly." Learn more about ocean safety at
CA State Parks: Ocean Safety

California's Best Beaches

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