Summer is here and Santa Cruz County is ready for action! This year, along with coastal redwood forests and glorious, sunny beaches – all within a small region – Santa Cruz County is abuzz with new things to see and do. Pack your beach towel and some sunglasses too – it’s summertime in Santa Cruz!
New Pool Area Now Open at the Beach Street Inn & Suites!
The Beach Street Inn & Suites now offers a sweet spot for visitors across from Main Beach and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The completion of a new pool, hot tub, and fire pit is part of an overall, eight-year-long renovation of the entire property’s 48 rooms on the two-acre site, which sits in close proximity to the Santa Cruz Wharf, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center, and scenic West Cliff Drive. This project is powered by state-of-the-art energy efficient equipment, including the first commercial electric pool and spa cover in the State of California. Enjoy some downtime with beautiful ocean views!
The Cement Ship Turns 100 Years Old!
This year, the SS Palo Alto – a ship made entirely of concrete, celebrates its centennial birthday, and visitors are invited to reflect back on the history it brings to this area of California!
Located at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, the ship’s remains serve as an artificial reef, home to various marine life and sea birds. Harbor seals and sea lions are regular visitors to the ship, and flocks of seabirds such as pelicans and cormorants are nearly always perched on the deck. Fisherman, boats, divers, and surfers must stay 100 feet away from the ship at all times, yet the wreckage and its wildlife can readily be viewed from the pier, shore, and backing seaside bluffs, especially with a pair of binoculars. Plus, visitors can discover further cultural and natural history of the SS Palo Alto at the Seacliff State Beach visitor center staffed by knowledgeable interpreters.
New Trails at Glenwood Preserve Open Space!
A new set of trails at the Glenwood Preserve Open Space in Scotts Valley are open for use this summer! Located a mere six miles from the beaches of Santa Cruz, this 166-acre preserve consists of grasslands, riparian forests and wetlands. With three miles of walking trails, this western area of the preserve – accessible at certain points from close-by neighborhoods – is ideal for hiking, running and group fitness activities. These pet-friendly trails feature several bridges with the northern and summit loops winding through old growth redwood trees. Plus – a stunning view of Scotts Valley at the summit!
Get Your Paint on at The Painted Cork!
Have you ever wanted to unleash your inner Picasso or O’Keefe but didn’t know where to go? Need a place to bring the family or a large group? The Painted Cork Art Studio in midtown is a casual, comfortable local art space where guests can get their creative juices flowing as a professional art instructor guides them while they enjoy their favorite wine, beer or non-alcoholic beverage and snacks. Art supplies (brushes, paints, canvases, easels and aprons) are included with each class. No experience is necessary!
‘Twirlin Teacups’ Arrive at the Boardwalk!
Grab a friend and spin, spin, spin! The Twirlin’ Teacups are the newest addition to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk this summer. With colorful polka dots and bright rainbow patterns, you’ll find your cup of tea! The teacups are located next to the Tsunami, replacing the Bouncin’ Buggies, which were relocated near the Pirate Ship.
Hike Through Castle Rock State Park!
Offering breathtaking views of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Castle Rock State Park is home to over 5,200 acres of redwood forest, a 75-foot waterfall, miles of hiking along open ridges and through shady forests, and a playground of sandstone rock formations attracting both world-class and beginning rock climbers. The new Robert C. Kirkwood entrance, located a quarter mile north on Skyline Boulevard, includes a 90-car parking lot with permeable paving, six restrooms with flush toilets, a drinking water station, cell service, and WiFi. Pack a lunch to enjoy at the 60-seat amphitheater, interpretive exhibits, or shaded picnic areas!
Can You Dig It? Succulents Housed in Style at Dig Gardens
Find your new sanctuary in Santa Cruz! Dig Gardens is a retail nursery and gift shop featuring turnkey botanical décor, DIY kits, and raw materials for building your garden from scratch. Dig also offers hands-on workshops, which range from the obscure (Make Your Own Hypertufa Pot, Mount Your Own Staghorn Fern) to the commonly sought out (Orchids 101, Design Your Own Terrarium). Dig provides inspo through its macramé plant holders, reclaimed wood planters, bubble wall terrariums, hexagonal plant vases, vertical garden frames, and more – perfect the plant lover!
New Eco-Friendly Tasting Room at Storrs Winery!
Storrs Winery has debuted a new tasting room in mid-county, near Nicholson Vineyards, Alfaro Winery, and Lester Estate Wines. Located on the site of a former quarry on Pleasant Valley Road, a 6,800 square foot structure graces the organically-farmed site which is also a teaching opportunity for home gardeners and small scale farmers: complete with helpful signage explaining the habitat and wildlife that make this place their home. Relying on stellar fruit from Santa Cruz Mountains vineyards, Storrs’ Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah are all hand-crafted from this boutique winery!