Manresa is not the first "south of town" spot that you come to leaving Santa Cruz/Capitola, but is the first popular beach for surfers. It lies a few miles of highway 1 and the exit is clearly marked.
It has a small parking lot so if it's going to be a nice weekend beach day, get there early to avoid parking further away on the residential streets. There is a pay station here with a ranger so bring your California State Beach pass or a few bucks. There is a decent restroom facility here and a short path as well as steps down to the beach. The parking lot is great vantage point to check out the surf so it's all very convenient. There's one lifeguard station here and sometimes there is somebody on duty but don't count on it, this isn't SoCal.
The surf here is all beachbreak that works best at high tide. Since it is more exposed than the most in town Santa Cruz spots, it will have more size but also is more susceptible to being blown out. It can handle big swell if you can make the paddle out. For most of us without guns and arms of steel the 6ft days will work just fine. This is very popular spot so it can get crowded, but the Monterey Bay is 50 miles across so you can walk or paddle like crazy until your almost alone.
For lodging there's a small hotel,The Manresa Lodge, as well as a couple of nearby campgrounds. If you have small kids I would recommend the KOA Santa Cruz/Monterey. It's not the cheapest campground but if has great facilities as well as cabins range from the wood box to the full lodges. For the kids it has a large playground, mechanical bull, and a go-cart that pulls little cars around...they call it a "train". If you don't have kids and/or you just want something cheaper there is Manresa State Beach Campground just up the road from the parking lot. It has walk-in tent camping only.
Nearby Surf Shops
La Selva Beach Surf Shop, 308 Playa Blvd, Watsonville CA 95076 (831) 684-0774
More Surf Shop
Do you have a great story about Manresa? Question? Click the links below the form to see what other visitors have said.
What Other Visitors Have Said
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Manresa Magic Not rated yet
Manresa is the most best break on good days you can a great barrel but it usually is bad. i my self being a 11 year old shortboarder like barrels that's …
Click here to write your own.
Return from Manresa to Popular Surf Spots