Travelers generally rent cars and use a combination of driving and walking/bicycling to get around Santa Cruz.  (For more information on getting around the area via these methods, see .)  However, public transport is an option for Santa Cruz visitors who prefer to travel with knowledgeable local drivers.

The bus system operated by the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District ( ) is inexpensive; fares are only $1.50 per adult, and free for children under forty-six inches tall.   All-day ride passes are available for $4.50 and five-day ride passes for just $22, making this method of transportation convenient for travelers to use throughout their Santa Cruz vacation. Routes generally fan out from the Metro Center on lower Pacific Avenue to points around Santa Cruz itself and to nearby destinations such as Davenport, Boulder Creek, and Capitola.

For day trips "over the hill" to San Jose, the Highway 17 Express is a comfortable and affordable way to go. A special all-day pass [sold only on this bus, for $8.00] is valid on all buses and light-rail trains of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (website: ), making the 17 Express a practical way to visit attractions such as the Tech Museum and the Winchester Mystery House, or to go shopping at Valley Fair and Santana Row, and still be back in Santa Cruz to watch the sunset.