Travel Blog

Santa Cruz County’s Best of 2020

Photo by @edinm

Now those are two things you don’t hear together too often – “best” and “2020” – but we refuse to let this year’s lows keep us from seeing the beauty! Take a look at some of our fans’ favorite moments from 2020 in Santa Cruz County. Whether it’s inspiring images of the coast’s unyielding beauty, the stunning looks at mother nature, the resilience of the redwoods and this community, or quite simply, a bright spot in the social feed, these posts rose to the top on the Visit Santa Cruz County Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy a look BACK at 2020 from our view:  


Pleasure Point – Photo by @dgsc

It’s no secret 2020 caused some stress, worry, sadness, and true hardship for many. At times, a serene and peaceful scene by the sea was a welcomed pause for many of our fans – like this Pleasure Point perfection shown above.

The colorful scene of Capitola Village is always a favorite, and this one really seemed to spark some nostalgic memories and dreams of future travel.

Capitola Village Venetians – Photo by @capitolalove


August brought some incredible beauty and some unforgiving furry. First, there was the jaw dropping bioluminescent waves – a natural phenomenon that causes the waves to glow neon blue due to an algae blooms called the “Red Tide.” Photographers and locals ventured to the shoreline in the wee hours of the morning to catch a glimpse of the electric blue waves that illuminated the ocean. Then, in mid-August, the unforgettable lightning storms added to nature’s light show and lit up the sky. The image of the “roll cloud” below is another peek at the powerful weather that descended upon us. Of course, this was the very same lightning storm that caused the CZU August Lightning Complex Fires that proved to leave deep scars on the Santa Cruz Mountains and many residents in the area.

“Roll Cloud” and Lightning – Photo by @santacruzfilms


CZU Fire at Waddell Beach – Photo by @chpsantacruz

Not long after the stunning photos of August’s lightning storm were shared, the fires begin to take their destructive course on the Santa Cruz Mountains. Evacuations, families displaced, homes being lost, forests in flames – and all the while, a community coming together. During the fires Visit Santa Cruz County took on a role to keep folks informed on how to help, where to go for assistance, the fires’ status and containment, as well as shared many, many shout outs to the #CommunityHeroes that were popping up throughout the county and surrounding areas. Restauranteurs were feeding evacuees and first responders, hotels in county and in surrounding counties were offering specials for those displaced, donations were pouring in, and friends, families, and strangers were lending helping hands wherever they could. It was a beautiful thing for the community to be a part of.

Few of our posts drew more attention in 2020 than our announcement that the “Father of the Forest” and “Mother of the Forest” at Big Basin Redwoods State Park were still standing. Read more about the status of Big Basin and the resilience of these magnificent redwoods.

“Father of the Forest” – Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez


Photo and Mural by of @mckellajo

Some of our most popular posts in 2020 were simply a bright spot in the social feed. At a time when safety must be our top priority, closures and openings are fluid, and there is an overall unease surrounding everyday life, let alone travel, simply posting positive and beautiful scenes of Santa Cruz County proved to be a welcome pause for our fans. The photo above shares a recent mural that couples a great quote (from county queen, Dolly Parton) and a bright pop of color and whimsy from artist, Mckella Jo. Here are a few more Fan Favorites:

Aptos Sunset – Photo by @summerstar_
Roaring Camp Train – Photo by @summerstar_
Capitola Village from the Sea – Photo by @edinm

So, although 2020 brought some blows, we will choose to stay positive, continue to inspire future travel, and forever be grateful for the beauty of Santa Cruz County. Happy New Year, fans, and thank you for following along with us! Here’s to a happy and HEALTHY 2021!

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