A Travel Price Comparison for California Santa Cruz vs. Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park for Hiking, Families, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is a coastal, scenic, and laid back town. It's also known for nightlife, food, and beaches.

Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is a overlooked, underrated, and vast park. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for hiking.

Santa Cruz and Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Santa Cruz. Although Santa Cruz and Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park are both popular with visitors, Santa Cruz has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Santa Cruz is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, beaches, and shopping, while Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is known for its hiking and impressive beauty. Santa Cruz is more touristy than Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park and is known for its dramatic coastline, fun-filled boardwalk, and beautiful beaches. It is also home to Santa Cruz Wharf. Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is popular for its alpine lakes, hydrothermal activity, and unique volcanoes.

How is Santa Cruz different from Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park and Santa Cruz. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Santa Cruz
Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Santa Cruz is a town with good options for its sights and museums. However, Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is not a good park for its museums and history.

Santa Cruz is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. Local museums in town include the Surfing Museum, Seymour Marine Discovery Center, and Santa Cruz Mission.

While most people don't head to Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. Visit the Loomis Museum to learn about the park history and see historic photos of the park. The building was constructed in 1972 and is worth a stopover.


Is the Food Better in Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Santa Cruz
Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Santa Cruz is a town with good options for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is not a good park for its restaurants.

Santa Cruz offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. Sampling local seafood is a top priority for many visitors. Most restaurants have a casual vibe and serve up high quality dishes in a relaxed setting. You'll find cafes, Mexican food, and Italian eateries among other options.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. You'll find restaurants and shops at three locations within the park. Options are much more limited during the winter months, but you will find places to eat on the south side of the park in Mineral, Mill Creek, and Chester. On the north side, the closest towns are Shingletown and Old Station.

Is Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park Better for Nightlife?

Santa Cruz
Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Santa Cruz is a well-known place for nightlife. However, Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is not a good park for nightlife and partying.

Santa Cruz offers plenty to do in the evening. You'll find a range of nighttime options around town that include live entertainment, bars, clubs, and even a casino.

Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park doesn't offer many options. Stargazing and campfire chats are the best ways to enjoy evening in the park.

Is Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park Better for Beaches?

Santa Cruz
Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Santa Cruz is a well-known place for its beaches. However, Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is not a beach destination.

The beaches at Santa Cruz attract visitors from all over. The beaches are beautiful and fun. Head to Main Beach for the most activity. This is where you'll find the town's boardwalk, which has a historic carousel and several classic amusement rides. For a more peaceful and scenic spot, check out Natural Bridges State Beach or Seacliff State Beach.

Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is not a beach destination.


Is Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park Better for Hiking?

Santa Cruz
Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is notable for the nearby hiking options. Also, Santa Cruz is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its hiking trails.

Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is a popular spot for hiking. There are more than 150 miles of hiking trails in the park. Many pass by the park's hydrothermal areas, but there are also trails that follow the edge of the alpine lakes or go through flower-filled meadows. Bumpass Hell Trail is one of the most notable hikes, but visitors also enjoy Lassen Peak Trail, Cinder Cone Trail, and Manzanita Lake Loop.

Many people include a hike when visiting Santa Cruz. There are several great parks in the area and trails that follow along the rugged coastline or go through the impressive redwood forests.

Is the Shopping Better in Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Santa Cruz
Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Santa Cruz is a town with good options for shopping. However, Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is not a good park for its shopping opportunities.

Santa Cruz is a great destination for shopping. Downtown Santa Cruz is where you'll find some of the best shopping.

If you're looking to go shopping, Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park has some nice offerings. There are stores and gift shops near the visitor centers.

Is Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park Better for Families?

Santa Cruz
Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Santa Cruz is a well-known place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is not as famous, but is still a good park to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Santa Cruz is a very family-friendly place to visit. It's filled with beaches, parks, playgrounds, and museums that kids and adults will enjoy. Highlights for many families include visiting the boardwalk, playing around at Seacliff State Beach, entertaining the kids at Seymour Center at Long Marine Lab, and taking in the beauty at Natural Bridges State Beach.

Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is a family-friendly town. While many of the hikes in the park are challenging for kids, there are still some great options for those with little legs. Manzanita Lake Trail is less than two miles and makes a great introductory hike. Bumpass Hell Trail is three miles, and it's a highlight of any trip to the park.


Is Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park Better for Couples?

Santa Cruz
Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park

With fun activities for couples, both Santa Cruz and Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park make for a excellent place to visit.

Santa Cruz is a very popular place to visit for couples. Dining in downtown Santa Cruz, hiking through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, and relaxing on the beach at Natural Bridges State Beach all make for a romantic getaway.

Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The setting makes a romantic backdrop for those who enjoy hiking and outdoor adventures. You can go kayaking or river rafting during the day and then enjoy stargazing at night.

Is Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Santa Cruz
Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is notable for backpackers. Also, Santa Cruz is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. There is a large backcountry area which offers a unique hiking and camping experience. You'll need to purchase permits before your trip.

Santa Cruz is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There's a laid back vibe that is fun to experience and there's even a hostel in town.

Is Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Santa Cruz
Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Santa Cruz is a moderate town for its public transit. However, Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is not a good park for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit is generally limited in Santa Cruz. There are buses that travel around town.

Public transit is quite limited in Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. There is no public transportation in the park.


Is Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park a more walkable city?

Santa Cruz
Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Santa Cruz is an amazing town to visit for its walkability. However, Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is not a good park for its high level of walkability.

It is easy to get around Santa Cruz on foot. It's considered to be one of the most walkable cities in California.

Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is not a very walkable town. The park is large, so to efficiently access the different hiking trails you'll need to have a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Santa Cruz Worth Visiting? and Is Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park or Santa Cruz?

How long in Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Santa Cruz and Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park than in Santa Cruz. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Santa Cruz, and 2-3 days is enough time in Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Families should spend more time in Santa Cruz than Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Santa Cruz, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Santa Cruz than Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Santa Cruz that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Santa Cruz than Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Santa Cruz.


  • How many days in Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park? Ideal Length of Stay
    Santa Cruz 1-2 
    Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park 2-3

One day in Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park?

In Santa Cruz, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this destination offers. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. One day should give you a good understanding of everything this town has to offer. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

With around the underrated park of Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Santa Cruz, a popular town, is full of activities for travelers. In Santa Cruz, many people enjoy the museums and nightlife that this laid back destination offers. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

With around the destination of Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park, there's plenty to do. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this park.


Five days in Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the town of Santa Cruz. It's also a great beach destination, too. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park, a popular park, is full of activities for travelers. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A week in Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Santa Cruz is a popular choice for travelers. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Los Angeles, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from New York City, The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City, and The Best 2-Week Tours from Anchorage.


Which place is cheaper, Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park or Santa Cruz?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Santa Cruz is $126, while the average daily cost in Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park is $126. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Santa Cruz and Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santa Cruz $61
    Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park $62
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santa Cruz $122
    Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park $124
Compare Hotels in Santa Cruz and Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Looking for a hotel in Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Santa Cruz


Hotels in Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Santa Cruz Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santa Cruz $40
    Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park $56

Is it cheaper to fly into Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Prices for flights to both Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park and Santa Cruz change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Santa Cruz $41
    Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park $30

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santa Cruz $18
    Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park $21

Tours and Activities in Santa Cruz

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Santa Cruz are as follows:

  • Self Guided UC Santa Cruz Walking Tour: Unlock Secret Stories : $20
  • Santa Cruz Ghosts Walking Tour: $24
  • Capitola Private 2-Hour Walking Tour: $30
  • Half Day Private Beach Tour in Santa Cruz: $35
  • Santa Cruz Guided eBike Ride & Most Fun Bike e-Bike Tour : $110
  • Santa Cruz 2Hour Guided eBike Tour for Small E-Bike Groups: $110
  • Santa Cruz Family Friendly Guided Electric Bike Tour (eBike): $110
  • Mermaid Experience & Photoshoot: $190
  • Capitola Watercolor Journaling Experience: $297

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santa Cruz $8.57
    Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park $19


When comparing the travel costs between Santa Cruz and Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park, we can see that Santa Cruz is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Santa Cruz Expensive? and Is Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park in the Summer?

Both Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park and Santa Cruz are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Santa Cruz in the summer for the beaches, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

Santa Cruz is cooler than Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park in the summer. The daily temperature in Santa Cruz averages around 67°F (19°C) in July, and Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park fluctuates around 83°F (29°C).

In July, Santa Cruz usually receives less rain than Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. Santa Cruz gets 0.1 inches (1 mm) of rain, while Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park receives 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Santa Cruz 67°F (19°C) 
    Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park 83°F (29°C)

Should I visit Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park in the Autumn?

Both Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park and Santa Cruz during the autumn are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Santa Cruz for the hiking trails and the shopping scene during these months. Furthermore, the autumn months attract visitors to Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park because of the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Santa Cruz is around the same temperature as Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Santa Cruz in October average around 63°F (17°C), and Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park averages at about 66°F (19°C).

Santa Cruz usually gets less rain in October than Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. Santa Cruz gets 0.8 inches (21 mm) of rain, while Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park receives 1.5 inches (37 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Santa Cruz 63°F (17°C) 
    Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park 66°F (19°C)

Should I visit Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Santa Cruz and Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. The winter months attract visitors to Santa Cruz because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park this time of year.

In January, Santa Cruz is generally a little warmer than Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. Daily temperatures in Santa Cruz average around 51°F (10°C), and Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park fluctuates around 47°F (9°C).

Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park receives a lot of rain in the winter. In January, Santa Cruz usually receives less rain than Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. Santa Cruz gets 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain, while Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park receives 4.1 inches (104 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Santa Cruz 51°F (10°C) 
    Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park 47°F (9°C)

Should I visit Santa Cruz or Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Santa Cruz as well as Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. The beaches are the main draw to Santa Cruz this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park for the natural beauty.

Santa Cruz is around the same temperature as Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park in the spring. The daily temperature in Santa Cruz averages around 58°F (14°C) in April, and Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park fluctuates around 60°F (16°C).

Santa Cruz usually gets less rain in April than Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. Santa Cruz gets 1 inches (26 mm) of rain, while Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park receives 1.4 inches (35 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Santa Cruz 58°F (14°C) 
    Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park 60°F (16°C)

Typical Weather for Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park and Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 51°F (10°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 47°F (9°C) 4.1 inches (104 mm)
Feb 54°F (12°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm)
Mar 55°F (13°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 55°F (13°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Apr 58°F (14°C) 1 inches (26 mm) 60°F (16°C) 1.4 inches (35 mm)
May 62°F (16°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm) 69°F (21°C) 0.8 inches (20 mm)
Jun 65°F (19°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 78°F (25°C) 0.4 inches (11 mm)
Jul 67°F (19°C) 0.1 inches (1 mm) 83°F (29°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Aug 67°F (20°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 81°F (27°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm)
Sep 67°F (19°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm) 76°F (25°C) 0.6 inches (16 mm)
Oct 63°F (17°C) 0.8 inches (21 mm) 66°F (19°C) 1.5 inches (37 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 54°F (12°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Dec 51°F (10°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 47°F (9°C) 3.4 inches (88 mm)