About Panther Beach in Santa Cruz, California
Panther Beach is a popular sandy beach north of Santa Cruz near the hamlet of Davenport. It’s part of the state’s Coast Dairies State Park land acquisition and will eventually be a California state park or state beach.
At low tide another beach called Hole-In-The-Wall becomes accessible through an opening in a rock wall on the south end of Panther Beach. This route through the arch is safe, except at highest tides or during extreme surf. Both beaches are considered clothing-optional, but Hole In The Wall more so because of its seclusion.
The official US government name of Panther Beach according to USGS is Yellow Bank (or Yellowbank) Beach and is named for Yellow Bank Creek that curves through the sand here. A man-made tunnel through the bluff wall can be found at the back of the beach. The creek enters the cove through this tunnel.
Swimming at Panther Beach can be dangerous because of rip currents and getting onto the rocks at the north end of the beach can be dangerous due to sneaker waves and strong surf. Rock climbing is popular on some of the rocks around Panther and HITW beaches.
For access to Panther beach look for the unsigned parking lot entrance off Highway 1 about one mile south of Bonny Doon Road and Bonny Doon Beach. The trail to the beach can be found at the far north end of this lot. This steep trail to Panther Beach can get eroded and make for a difficult hike to the beach especially when it’s wet.
- Cabrillo Hwy
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
- Park Name
- Coast Dairies State Park
- Other Names
- Yellow Bank Beach, Yellowbank, Yellow Bank Creek
- State Parks
- Pet Details
- No dogs allowed on the beach
- Free parking
- Sunbathing, Beach Exploration, Rock Climbing
- Rock Arch, Caves, Creek, No Facilities
This is a very special beach. The hole in the wall entrance gives it a dramatic ta-da introduction.
The geological formations are neat, the tidepools enchanting, and the curvature north and south lend it a cozy-hominess.
There’s also occasionally dolphins playing in the surf.