The closest airport is San Jose (SJC), located about 50 minutes away from Santa Cruz. San Francisco airport (SFO) is located about 1hr 45min. away from Santa Cruz.
We recommend that domestic travelers fly into SJC, unless there is a significant cost penalty for doing so.
For international travelers, if you can find a nonstop flight to SFO, this is preferred. If you must be routed through a US hub (e.g, Chicago, Denver) then if you can arrange to land in SJC, that is best. Nonstop flights to/from SJC typically don’t go more than halfway across the US. Thus, if you have to route through a US hub, pick Chicago, or one further west, and then see if you can get to SJC from there.
There are two choices for ground travel. Easiest, but more expensive and risky, is renting a car. Driving directions are below.
It’s also possible to get to Santa Cruz via airport shuttle.
Some options are:
Santa Cruz Airporter: (831) 423-1214
At San Jose, it’s usually possible to find several shuttle drivers looking for fares, without needing a reservation. Airport shuttles to/from SFO/Santa Cruz are infrequent and expensive.
If staying in on-campus housing, have the airport shuttle bring you to College 8 on the UCSC campus. You can show the driver the driving directions below.
From San Jose Airport (SJC):
Take Highway 880 South, which will change into Highway 17 South.
Continued at Highway 17 below…
From San Francisco Airport (SFO):
Take Highway 380 towards Highway 280 away from airport (380 terminates at SFO).
Take Highway 280 South
Continue south on Highway 280
(The lake you see on the right hand side is right in the middle of the San Andreas fault; it’s called San Andreas Lake. You also pass directly over the Stanford Linear Accelerator on this road.)
Take Highway 85 South
Take Highway 17 South.
Continued at Highway 17 below…
Note that while it is also possible to travel on Highway 101 South from SFO, this is almost always slower, due to traffic. 280 traffic is much lighter than 101 traffic.
Once on Highway 17:
Highway 17 becomes a mountain road. Drive up and over the Santa Cruz Mountains.
(Locals do get used to driving at high speed on this twisty, windy road.)
Take Highway 1 North, towards Half Moon Bay, and continue to follow the signs that say, “Highway 1”.
Highway 1 will no longer be a freeway, but will become a city street as you take a right turn onto Mission Street.
Continue on Mission until the intersection with Bay Street. Turn right onto Bay, and continue straight until you reach the entrance to UC Santa Cruz.
At the main entrance, turn left onto High Street (turns into Empire Grade).
Turn right and enter the West Entrance to UC Santa Cruz, onto Heller Drive.
Follow directions below for checking in to on-campus housing, or for day-parking at the conference
Checking in to On-Campus Housing
Continue up Heller Drive, and take your third right into the College 8 parking lot.
Park in any unmarked space. Do not park in a service vehicle, handicap spot, or otherwise reserved spot. UCSC Parking Enforcement is very aggressive, and it may not be possible to reverse a ticket you receive. UCSC tickets are real tickets, and will be reported back to rental car companies.
Go to the conference housing registration office (#1101), in Apartment Building 1, just off the parking lot.
If the lot is full, exit the lot, turn left, and take your first left onto Koshland Way. Turn left into the parking lot, and park in any unreserved spot in this lot, and walk up the hill through College 8 to Apartment Building 1.
Day Parking for the Conference
Continue up Heller Drive, and take your second right onto Koshland Way. Turn left into the parking lot.
Park in any unmarked space. Do not park in a service vehicle, handicap spot, or otherwise reserved spot. UCSC Parking Enforcement is very aggressive, and it may not be possible to reverse a ticket you receive. UCSC tickets are “real” tickets.