10 Best team building activities in Santa Cruz

Live the good life in this iconic Californian “Surf City.”

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Santa Cruz is the quintessential surfer’s paradise. Whether you believe in the Big Bang or the great Creator, spending time in Santa Cruz can make you question what the city ever did to deserve such favouritism in its conception. The place is paradise on earth, with persistent sunshine, pacific temperatures, tropical wildlife and beautiful people with tanned skin and sun-bleached hair.

A team-building retreat in Santa Cruz exposes your team to a variety of activities, from the relaxing and restorative to the active and extreme. Groups can take to the water on a stand-up paddleboarding tour, or venture inland to discover the prolific vineyards and wineries that encircle the city.

The weather, landscape and wildlife in Santa Cruz are simply unmatched, making it the perfect location for your next team-building retreat. In the following resource, we’ve compiled our favourite team-building ideas to help you plan your next company retreat in Santa Cruz.

Would you like to book any of these activities?

These team-building activities are available as part of our retreat package.

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Chase the waves with a surfing lesson

  • Whether you’re a surfing veteran or just getting started, Santa Cruz is one of the best places to surf.
  • With consistent waves year-round, you’ll find perfect waves to surf whenever you visit.
  • The Santa Cruz coastline offers the widest variety of surf breaks in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • The team certified surfing instructors teach you essential techniques to get “up and riding” as quickly as possible.
  • A two-hour group lesson is perfect for beginners in a teambuilding setup to understand surfing fundamentals and techniques.
  • A private session is available for groups of 6 or more with an expert surfing instructor.

Taste local beers with a brewery tour

  • Enjoy a freshly brewed beer at this state-of-art brewery in the Pleasure Point neighbourhood.
  • Enjoy a variety of Czech-inspired beers alongside mouth-watering BBQ food options.
  • The event takes place inside the stunning LEED Gold brewery and taproom. 
  • A beer garden is available for outdoor seating with proximity to the beach.
  • A tour of the brewery is available on request to see and learn the history of traditional European-style brewing of craft lagers.

Set sail upon the waters of the Pacific Ocean

  • Treat your team to an unforgettable 3-hour sailing regatta.
  • Multiple boats are available, each sailing yacht will carry a team of six sailors. 
  • Every yacht crew has a sailing coach in the form of a US Coast Guard Licensed Skipper. 
  • At the end of the coaching, the teams take part in a fun mock sailboat race.
  • Ten sailing yachts are available for rent, ranging from 27 to 46 feet. 
  • Monterey Bay is the perfect location to sail regattas because of its wonderful views and ocean wildlife.

Take on a dizzying treetop high-rope course 

  • The Ropes Course is located at the Chaminade Conference Center in Santa Cruz. You will work together under the redwoods in the beautiful natural environment.
  • Think strategically, set goals, and execute them under pressure. The team-building experience contains both low and high elements.
  • The guides work with you to modulate the event based on your team goals and comfort with heights.
  • The adventures feature 2 to 6 zip lines, two suspended bridges 150 feet above the ground, and 40 tree-top courses.
  • The 300-acre woodland course takes approximately two hours to complete.

Spot nature’s giants on a whale-watching expedition

  • If you want to experience a fun team building activity for the whole team, whale watching is a great choice. 
  • Your team boards large fully equipped boats that take 49-117 passengers. 
  • Our activity partner provides marine biologists on all trips. 
  • Private charters can last up to 4 hours for a half-day trip and 8 hours for a whole-day trip.
  • You will have ample time to see marine animals: whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea otters, seals, sea birds, and sea lions. Get your team and cameras ready!

Learn stand-up paddleboarding in the calm waters of Santa Cruz

  • Stand-up paddleboarding gives your team a unique view of Santa Cruz from the water’s surface.
  • Explore the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the Santa Cruz Wharf and experience the surf stoke at Steamer Lane.
  • You can choose the calm protected waters of Santa Cruz Harbour, or the Monterey Bay for open ocean exploration if you want more adventure.
  • Equipment can be rented for anywhere between one and four hours to enjoy exploring Monterey Bay.
  • The guides specialize in marine life and are passionate about the protected waters of Monterey Bay.

Push your limits at the indoor climbing gym

  • Climbing is an effective activity for boosting problem-solving and communication skills and building trust between coworkers.
  • The facility features 11,000 square feet of lead climbing area and over 3,000 square feet of bouldering.
  • Explore 50 lead and top-rope routes across 50-foot high walls with varying difficulties.
  • The bouldering area has 15-foot walls with challenging routes and angled terrain.
  • The activity lasts about two hours and includes shoes, harnesses, and instructors. Showers and lockers are available inside the facility.

Embark on a guided kayaking tour

  • Sea kayaking is an activity for teams that want to discover the wonders of the enchanting Monterey Bay. 
  • There are two tour options: Monterey Bay Wildlife Tour or the two-hour Sunset Tour. 
  • Enjoy the Santa Cruz coastline as you paddle through kelp beds with otters, sea lions, seals, dolphins and possibly whales.
  • All participants are provided with the essential kayaking equipment and wetsuits.
  • The activity includes an introductory lesson on kayaking and an expert guide to accompany the group throughout the exploration.

Learn the colourful process of tie-dying

  • Roll up your sleeves and visit the Santa Cruz original Tie-Dye learning centre. 
  • Tie-dyeing is a way of colouring fabric by soaking it in a solution, which adheres the dye to the fabric.
  • Tie-Dye workshop is a creative group activity where you can choose between a vast collection of vibrant colours. 
  • Learn the process and bring your artistic piece home after the retreat.
  • All the necessary supplies are provided such as garments, dyes, and rubber bands.

Harmonise your team with a drum workshop

  • Take part in the drumming workshop for an unconventional team experience. 
  • Depending on the goal, the workshop can take from 30 minutes to three hours.
  • The experience is designed for 5 to 500 participants. 
  • The leader makes it easy and fun for everyone to join in, there is no need to have any prior musical experience. 
  • The workshop integrates your group’s themes with the principles of communicating and collaborating.

Would you like to book any of these activities?

These team-building activities are available as part of our retreat package.

Get a quote

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