The purpose of this page is to identify, and name the relative merits of, local parks with play structures in Santa Cruz, CA. I made this page primarily because I constantly find myself at a park with my daughter saying to myself "oh...that's what I hate about this park", or "hey...why don't we come here more often". If anyone else finds this information useful, that is great. To that end, you are welcome and encouraged to leave comments about, and rate the parks that I have listed (click the "see details" link). if there is a park that you think should be included, feel free to email me the location at kidsparks@santacruzinfo.com

Latest Comment

on Jade Street Park
I come to this park often and for the most part like it,my son loves the sides, all the kids and the shaded grass. Sometimes there is just to many kids to have fun. A few(more then 3 times) times i went there was a man smoking a cigar right next to t...
My Rating: 4

Highest Rated Parks

Anna Jean Cummings Park
461 Old San Jose Rd Soquel, CA 95073

West Lake Park
Bradley Dr @ Spring Street, Santa Cruz

John D. Franks Park.
Marnell Stree, Santa Cruz

Lowest Rated Parks

Beach Flats Park
133 Leibrandt, Santa Cruz

Lighthouse Ave. Park
Lighthouse Avenue (near Pelton)

Jade Street Park
Corner of 45th. Avenue and Jade Street, Capitola

Random Park

Coffee Lane Park
End of Coffee Ln, Live Oak

From County Parks Website:

This is a 2.7 acre neighborhood park located at the end of Coffee Lane in Live Oak. Wheelchair accessible playground, a basketball court and picnic tables are available.

  1. University Terrace

    Meder Street, Santa Cruz This is a very nice park. Tons to do, and a lot of space to run around. Dogs run free here, so be warned.


    6 comments
    1 photos
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  2. West Lake Park

    Bradley Drive off Spring Street, Santa Cruz I've only been here once, but I think it is one of my favorites. There were lots of kids, and the parents were friendlier than I am used to. Not huge play structures, but a great lake filled with ducks makes up for it. Some kids were fishing...my daughter is still a little young for that.

    NOTE: Turns out fishing is for youth 16 and under and seniors 65 and older only :(


    17 comments
    6 photos
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  3. Garfield Park

    Visitor Submission by S.H.: "Garfield is large and has big and little kid playgrounds in sand separated by a path. We like to bring our 4yo's scooter to ride on the path around the playgrounds. Has shade, bathrooms and picnic tables. Occasionally at midday there are homeless folks cooking lunch by the tables, but they're far enough away from the kids that I'm not too uncomfortable with it. Cops will come right away if you call them."


    9 comments
    2 photos
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  4. Trescony Park

    Visitor Submission by S.H.: "a neighborhood park next to a community garden. It has big and little kid play structures, the big kid one has some fun unique features like a roller-slide, musical instrument, etc. No bathrooms, not a lot of shade, wood chips."


    4 comments
    5 photos
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  5. Harvey West Park

    300 Evergreen St., Santa Cruz The play structures here are pretty good. There are a lot of things to do here: a big train a public pool and it makes for a pretty walk I find this park kinda chilly...often in shade.


    6 comments
    4 photos
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  6. Lighthouse Ave. Park

    Visitor Submission by S.H.: "a tiny neighborhood park next to the community garden It has a small sandbox, small climbing structure with slide on that rubbery mat stuff, small grassy area. No bathrooms, very little shade."


    4 comments
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  7. San Lorenzo Park

    137 Dakota Street (Dakota @ Ocean Street) This is really sad! This is probably the prettiest park I have ever been to: It has nice play structures, a duck pond, and it is huge...but it is super sketchy! I just don't trust the place. I've seen significant drug activity. You get the feeling you might get mugged.


    12 comments
    4 photos
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  8. Grant Park

    Visitor Submission by S.H.: "Grant Park has really neat unusual playgrounds, with a couple of unique merry-go-round structures, big shallow disc-shaped swings, a climbing rock. Unfortunately, large crowds of homeless people also hang out here and sing bad 70's rock on an untuned guitar. It has bathrooms and nice shade. I think the little kids playground has wood chips, but I can't remember for sure."


    8 comments
    6 photos
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  9. Beach Flats Park

    Visitor Submission by B.: This small park hosts neighborhood special events, and offers picnic area with BBQs.


    7 comments
    7 photos
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  10. Ocean View Park

    Visitor Submission by K.P.: "nice but better for slightly older kids than toddlers cuz of lots of stairs and difficult climbing structures."


    13 comments
    4 photos
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  11. Frederick Street Park

    168 Frederick Street (Frederick @ Broadway) This is another great park! Gated tots area Together in the park here on Thursdays


    10 comments
    3 photos
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  12. John D. Franks Park.

    Visitor Submission by Jennifer: "It's a very small park with a playground and a sunny lawn and some 50 yr old redwoods. Locally I've seen groups doing croquet and Tai Chi. The playground is good for young children, though I'd like one of the swings to be suited for babies. I've seen older children/teens hanging out at the picnic tables sometimes. It's very near my house and pretty much a neighborhood park."


    3 comments
    1 photos
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  13. Twin Lakes Park

    Visitor Submission by B.M.:" Great Pirate Boat, some play equipment and great berry picking in the summer. Hard to find parking but a nice little park. Kinda spooky if you're the only one there. Bathrooms. Tennis courts are often in use."


    3 comments
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  14. Jose Ave. Park

    End of Jose Ave, Live Oak Together in the park here on Tuesdays. Nice Park with skate park for older kids.

    From County Parks Website:

    ...this park features the County Parks first ever 'skate park' along with a community garden, basketball court, play structure, art, an open field and restrooms.


    11 comments
    2 photos
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  15. Winklefarm Park

    This park is OK. Too many cigarette butts in the play area for my taste. whole place is a little dirty in my opinion


    3 comments
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  16. Brommer Park

    30th and Brommer Street, Santa Cruz I brought my daughter here so I could take some up-to-date pictures. Nice play structures...very new. Tots' play structure has little built-in table and benches. Big Kids' structure felt very safe, but still very fun. We stayed for about an hour, from 12-1, and no kids showed up, but my girl still had fun. Note: Despite signs to the contrary, Dogs run free here...lots of them.


    5 comments
    8 photos
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  17. Coffee Lane Park

    From County Parks Website:

    This is a 2.7 acre neighborhood park located at the end of Coffee Lane in Live Oak. Wheelchair accessible playground, a basketball court and picnic tables are available.


    8 comments
    1 photos
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  18. Jade Street Park

    45th. Avenue and Jade Street, Capitola I consider this a "low commitment" and "easy" park...I don't know why. It has bark instead of sand...so no bare feet.


    17 comments
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  19. Capitola Tot Lot

    Visitor Submission by D.G.: "[it] is a very nice and clean park for toddlers to small children. I take my 16 month old son there often."


    4 comments
    5 photos
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  20. Anna Jean Cummings Park

    461 Old San Jose Rd, Soquel I always thought this place was called "Blue Balls Park"... I probably go here the most. It is right near my house though. I think this park has the best play structures. Nice separation between a great tots structure and a great bigger kids structure. I know you Can have a Jump for Joy there, but I don't know the specifics. Rental Information: Please call (831) 454-7956 for info.


    16 comments
    2 photos
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  21. Lions Park

    Tiny Play Structure in a weird location. I don't even know why this thing is here. I guess if you had a child in school, and had to wait for them with your younger child??? Much better to just go over the little bridge into the school if it is not in session.


    3 comments
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  22. Vessey Park

    Visitor Submission by P.C.: "Portapotty, drinking fountain and lots of picnic tables. Smaller play structure but still nice. Sort of an enclosed space so for people with smaller children like me, there's a nice safety perimeter. The structure seems suited for toddlers, size wise that is." Thanks D.G. for the photo!


    3 comments
    1 photos
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  23. Willowbrook Park

    2950 Willowbrook Lane, Soquel I've never been here...is it worth it? Thanks D.G. for the photo!


    6 comments
    2 photos
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  24. Hidden Beach Park

    Visitor Submission by J.W.: tot play area, lawn, pinic table, and beach access can be found at this 1.5 acre neighborhood park. Restrooms are available.


    9 comments
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