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Travel BLOG
December 30, 2016

Fan Choice: Best of the Best 2016

Photo by @philiplima

2016 is wrapping up and we’re taking a look back to see what our fans loved most on our Facebook and Instagram feeds. Sure, we figured beach photos were a hit (and they were), but we wanted to see what else our fans loved about Santa Cruz County. Take a look below for some of the Best of the Best of 2016 based on fan likes, comments, and shares. Enjoy this gorgeous gallery and rest assured that we will keep providing more of this wildly beautiful, adventurous, and inspiring Santa Cruz content for 2017! 

Facebook Faves:

#1 Facebook Post of 2016
With the largest reach (1.6 mil) and engagement, this Mount Hermon Adventures photo was definitely an inspiration to fans! All sorts of folks were adding redwood canopy tours and ziplining adventures to their Santa Cruz County bucket list!

Photo courtesy of Mount Hermon Adventures

Gorgeous Sun Ups and Downs
It’s only natural that some of the best of 2016 were sunrises and sunsets. Here’s just one of our fan faves - a Capitola sunrise from September.

Photo by @joedownie2016

Holiday Greetings
Sometimes we say it best with an outrageously beautiful photo and a simple holiday message. This Valentine's Day post was warmly welcomed, liked, and shared by many. Hallmark in the making right here...

Photo by @sunkissed_vegan

Attracting Some Attention
Fans really seemed to appreciate info on coming attractions. We like to give a heads up on seasonal events and activities that are coming to town so you can get planning. The Beach Boardwalk and Roaring Camp Railroads are two quintessential Santa Cruz attractions and this Santa Cruz Beach Train info was a big hit in the spring! 

Photo courtesy of Roaring Camp Railroads and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Insider's Scoop
Facebook fans value the secret spots, the must-sees, and the visual itineraries that spark travel inspiration. A great example of this was the popular South County video featuring 5 top things to do in the Watsonville and Pajaro Valley region.

Event Love
Classic Santa Cruz events were big winners this year. Event info is easily seen and shared on Facebook and local and visitor favorites like Woodies on the Wharf, the Scotts Valley and Capitola Art & Wine Festivals, and many more were gobbled up by fans. Expect us to keep sharing info on the best Santa Cruz County events! Oh and another spin on events this year - how about the viral December video featuring 5+ minutes of live feed from the Lighted Boat Parade! It’s like you were there, even if you weren’t!

Photo courtesy of the Crow's Nest Restaurant

Live with the Seals
Live video was new and hot in 2016. There were several live videos we shared that fans appreciated - whether it was from the redwoods, a foggy Capitola ocean view, sunny surf days, or the holiday favorite above, our fans loved getting a glimpse into the live action in SCC. August’s live stream with the seals - barks and all - definitely sparked some memories for past Santa Cruz Wharf visitors.

Photo by @gabi_traga

#OptOutside in Santa Cruz Co.
Clearly our fans love to be outdoors and enjoy the ocean and mountain air. The #OptOutside message was a popular one this year and when #BlackFriday turned into #GreenFriday, with State Parks waiving their park entrance fees, fans quickly made their plans with the great outdoors in Santa Cruz.

Photo by @steve.sleek

Winter Themes
King tides, rainbows, whales breaching, waterfalls, and holiday events have been loved by fans this winter. This rainbow photo is a nice reminder that Santa Cruz is beautiful in any weather!

Photo by @MattHofmanPhoto

Instagram Faves:

#1 Instagram Post of 2016
Santa Cruz astronomical beauty! Santa Cruz is definitely a sought after locale for Milky Way photography, moonrises, moonsets, sunsets, sunrises and one of our favorites this year, the supermoon!

Photo by @xbirdo

West Cliff Wonders
Hard not to love a coastal cliffs photo from the Westside...especially at sunset.

Photo by @doug.smith

North Coast Treasures
The less developed northern coast of Santa Cruz became a more widely known must-see in 2016. Places like the Old Davenport Pier and Shark Fin Cove are arguably two of the most Instagram-able locales in the county.

Photo by @martin_k07

Bird's Eye View
Beauty on another level, the drone photos shared surprised us all with how utterly gorgeous the California coast is. Take this one for example, most visitors have walked the famous West Cliff Drive - and they know it's stunning - but a look from above gives a new perspective on the impressive curves of the coastline. 

Photo by @dannyburg

Getting Lost in the Woods
Our Instagram followers appreciate the whole, wanderlust, #OptOutside vibe. Fans loved the road views that not only showed the beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains, but also embodied that, “let’s just drive and see where we end up” feeling. 

Photo by @christine_adventures

Boardwalk Classics
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is another top Instagram photo location. The beachfront rides, games, vibrant colors, delicious treats, and 'endless summer' atmosphere make it an iconic photo op that's always a must when visiting. Here’s a 2016 fave that had tons of people dreaming of a summer Boardwalk night in Santa Cruz.

Photo by @4theloveoftoys

Happy Little Beach Village
Capitola has a way of speaking to visitors through its cool, yet vibrant colors, oceanfront locale, quaint shops and restaurants and that vacation mode pace. This rooftop shot was a insta-hit and we totally get it.

Photo by Shane Endsley

Surf Culture
There's no way we, or fans, can forget the Santa Cruz surf culture roots. Spectator or wave rider, fans agree that this is a whole lot of good. 

Photo by @outsiteco

Thanks for taking a look at the Best of the Best of 2016 and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more of your favorites in 2017! Happy New Year!

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