Day On the Beach

Saturday July 13th 2019, 10:00am – 4:00pm, Cowell’s Beach

Boy with Cerebral Palsy wearing a wetsuit and smiling

Join Us For Our Annual Fun, Free, & Accessible Adventure

Day on the Beach is the highlight of each year, when more than 300 people with special needs, 400+ family members and friends, and over 250 enthusiastic volunteers team up to share a full day of adaptive sports—kayaking, outrigger canoeing, SCUBA diving, beach wheelchair rides—and life-changing memories. Day on the Beach has given participants and volunteers an unforgettable experience of breaking through barriers to see dreams become reality. Our generous volunteers lay down over 170 pieces of plywood on frames, creating a unique 5,700 square foot platform on the sand that enables those with mobility issues to travel over it with ease to participate in all of our activities. We also offer beach wheelchair rides—an opportunity to explore the beach in a whole new way. Every year, we offer free live music and entertainment, free food, sandcastle building, and so much more. Participants of all ages—from four to 83 so far—have traveled from all around the country to attend. We hope you’ll take advantage of this special event, and to see you at the beach!

Day on the Beach 2019 will take place Saturday July 13th.

Your Adventure Options:

Beach Party

Enjoy FREE live
entertainment, lunch, and beach activities such as Frisbee Golf, Sand Castles, Bean Bag Toss, and much more!


Get into a large outrigger canoe, and be paddled into the Bay by experienced outrigger canoe paddlers! Routes are to be determined, but will probably go thru Steamer’s Lane and along the wharf.


The front seat view of a 2-person kayak is a great way to see the Bay! You’ll be paddled into the Bay by an experienced kayaker. Depending on conditions, the kayak trips will either travel along the wharf and watch otters and sea lions, or you’ll paddle into Steamer’s Lane, the world famous surf spot and take a chance at seeing dolphins.

SCUBA Diving

For the extreme adventure lover only, Day On The Beach is offering SCUBA diving! Get into a wetsuit and explore the ocean with certified dive instructors. You will dive a few
feet, just to get an introduction to the sport.

Beach Wheelchair Rides

Trek along the Pacific shoreline with one of our fat-tire beach wheelchairs.

Beach Chair Ocean Rides/ Flotation

Get into a wetsuit, grab a beach wheelchair or boogie board, and float off of Cowell’s Beach. Volunteers will be with you as you hang out with the otters and other swimmers, and gently watch the day go by.

24th Day on the Beach

6th Day on the Beach

Directions to Day On the Beach:

From Monterey, Northbound Highway 1:
  • Merge into left lane before second light (Mission St). You can stay in either of the two left lanes when you get to Mission; however do not turn left, go straight.
  • Continue straight through Mission St, your street will become Chestnut Ave.
  • Travel on Chestnut Ave approximately 1 mile.
  • Turn Left onto Laurel St. Travel 2 blocks.
  • Turn Right onto Center St.
  • Look for Day on the Beach Parking signs at businesses all along Center St., or refer to parking map for alternative parking and participant
    drop-off area.
From Half Moon Bay, Southbound Highway 1:
  • Take HWY 1 South into Santa Cruz. Once in town the highway will become Mission St.
  • Continue along Mission St. for approximately 3 miles. (Do not turn down Bay Ave to get to Cowell’s Beach.)
  • At the HWY 1/Mission St. interchange, turn Right onto Chestnut St.
  • Follow above directions from Chestnut St.
From Bay Area, Southbound Highway 17:
  • Take Highways 680/280 or 880 to HWY 17 South.
  • Travel 17 South to Santa Cruz.
  • Once in Santa Cruz, Exit HWY 1 North and follow above HWY 1 North directions

Free but limited parking for Day on the Beach will be available at the Shrine of St. Joseph Guardian Church: 544 W Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz 95060

Day on the Beach is FREE for all participants.
Let’s keep it that way.

Support the Fun!

Still have questions?

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We’ve got answers.

Check out our FAQ page >

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Day On the Beach Volunteers

We appreciate your contribution! Support activities include but are not limited to:

  • Event set up
  • Parking officials
  • Meeting/greeting and escorting participants
  • Registration of participants and volunteers
  • Wetsuit Coordinator
  • Receiving and distributing food and drinks
  • Shared Adventures booth
  • Event break down (very important)
  • Pick up and deliver food (pre-event)
  • Pick up and deliver equipment (tents, chairs, tables, etc) (pre-event).

There are a variety of support activities and time shifts available. When filling out the form, please select what work best for you, and we will do our best to accommodate (activities & times may be adjusted depending on the availability of volunteers – we appreciate your flexibility!).

The kayaking, SCUBA diving and outrigger canoeing are organized by professionals. If you are competent and experienced in any one of these areas please call our office and we can put you in touch with the appropriate coordinator.

Sign up to Volunteer!
It was a very important day for me because of so many “firsts” occurring. It was the first time I had ever been in the ocean, the first time SCUBA diving, the first time surfing. From the faces around me, I guessed many others were having as remarkable a day. Thank you again, to you and to the outstanding volunteers for such an instructive, self-assuring and most importantly, joyful event.”
Day On the Beach Participant
  • girl with Down Syndrome high fiving volunteer in canoe
  • beach wheelchair ramp set up
  • outrigger canoeing at day on the beach
  • beach party
  • Big smile in a kayak at Day on the Beach
  • ocean triumph and joy
  • Kayak adventure

2018 Highlights

200 volunteers

130 Outrigger Canoe Rides

50 Kayak Rides

35 SCUBA and Floatation Rides

Dozens of Beach Wheelchair Rides

An AWESOME beach party for more than 600 guests

Performances by:
Aerial Arts Santa Cruz
Levi Jack
Dead Ahead