Spring and summer bring road trips – adventures with the wind blowing through your hair, music blaring and new sights to discover on the open road. California’s Highway 1 is the perfect place to rev up the engines and cruise the coast, the Central Coast boasts some of the most famous views and pit stops in California, so grab your bags and go! Take your trip through Santa Cruz along HWY 1, “two miles” at a time.
Day one’s adventure along Hwy 1 stops at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Lab. This UC Santa Cruz-affiliated facility offers an up-close view of fascinating sea creatures. The Marine Lab overlooks the bay featuring seawater displays where visitors can hold live aquatic animals, aquariums and marine exhibits illustrating the work of resident scientists. Outside the lab, Ms. Blue, one of the world’s largest blue whale skeleton rests adjacent to the facility and from the sun deck lies the remains of the La Feliz shipwreck, which crashed ashore more than 85 years ago.
A stone’s throw away the next adventure awaits, Natural Bridges State Beach is an ideal place for tide pool exploration. Pack a picnic lunch and binoculars for seasonal visits to Natural Bridges, California’s only state park butterfly preserve. Each fall marks the return of thousands of monarch butterflies that spend their winters in a protected grove inside the park.
The perfect end to the day is on Swift Street, directly off Hwy 1, home to Surf City Vintners. This spirited courtyard on Santa Cruz’s west side is a local favorite, filled with wineries, restaurants and shops. Always brimming with something new to see or taste, this lively spot is also home to Bonny Doon Vineyards as well as more than a half dozen Santa Cruz County tasting rooms.
Stay tuned for the next stretch of our Highway 1 journey coming soon!