To Lighthouse Field State Beach (1.2 miles along West Cliff Drive) — (Yelp reviews — Description) — From Santa Cruz Wharf, walk towards Beach St, then turn left and hop onto West Cliff Drive. Adjacent to West Cliff Drive lies Cowell Beach (Yelp reviews), a small beach. Public restrooms are available outside the beach entrance. Instead of visiting the beach, walk about a mile along West Cliff Drive to reach the eastern end of Lighthouse Field State Beach. At this point, there is a promontory that overlooks Seal Rock (Website).
To Natural Bridges State Park (2.1 miles along West Cliff Drive) — (Yelp reviews — Description) — From the promontory in the eastern end of Lighthouse Field State Park (Website — Yelp reviews), walk down to the beach. To exit the beach, you may either walk up a staircase leading to West Cliff Drive, or you may walk up to an arch about 0.3 miles west. At sufficiently low tide, you may go through the arch safely and explore the nearby area. To return to West Cliff Drive, either retrace your steps back to the staircase, or continue hopping on large boulders followed by a short but steep scramble. Then continue along West Cliff Drive until you reach Natural Bridges State Park parking lot.
Return Trip: Retrace your steps along West Cliff Drive to return to Santa Cruz Wharf.
Notes: You may extend the hike with 1.2 miles round-trip along Santa Cruz Wharf (Yelp reviews) — Walk to the end of the wharf and return. There are plenty of restaurants along the wharf.