Travel Blog

What’s New in Santa Cruz County for Summer

This season, Santa Cruz is brimming with new things to see and do. Long known as California’s quintessential beach town, with a classic west coast vibe that comes from its legacy as the birthplace of mainland surfing in the United States, this seaside gem welcomes visitors in 2022. Close in proximity to San Francisco and a scenic drive from southern California on the west coast’s iconic Highway 1, Santa Cruz offers a wealth of new options this season.  

NEW YACHT OFFERS EXCURSIONS ON THE MONTEREY BAY

There is a new sailboat on the horizon for visitors to enjoy Monterey Bay sunsets and special events. O’Neill Yacht Charters is launching a new 65-foot Team O’Neill catamaran, a custom-built boat perfect for afternoon excursions, local wine, and beer tasting sails, and the ever-popular Wednesday night sailboat regatta –  a seasonal event from April through October. The luxury catamaran is perfect for private charters to celebrate weddings, corporate team-building events, birthdays, family reunions, and memorials at sea. The new boat offers a smooth, comfortable sailing experience with epic views of the Santa Cruz County coastline.

REGAN VINEYARDS OPENS IN CORRALITOS FOR TASTINGS, TOURS

Regan Estate Vineyards and Winery is located on a hilly knoll in Corralitos – and in one of the coolest climates in California. The mountainous topography of the region is suited for the planting of small vineyards, each with a unique microclimate. With nearly 40 acres planted to twelve different varietals and clones, Regan Estate Vineyards is one of the largest and most diverse vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The soil at Regan varies but is generally a loamy-clay. Some sections at Regan have heavy clay; other sections are quite sandy, while other areas are rockier. The 53-acre site boasts a very long growing season that begins in March with bud break and generally finishes in late October when the last grapes are harvested. Tastings are hosted in a gazebo in the middle of the vineyard, offerings guests the opportunity to sample wines amidst the vines and learn about viticulture while soaking in majestic views.  Regan Vineyards specializes in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir Estate Reserve Merlot, a unique Estate Nebbiolo as well as an estate-grown sparkling wine. 

NEW SHOPS OPEN AT THE SANTA CRUZ BEACH BOARDWALK

To enhance the visitor experience to the legendary seaside amusement park, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is offering three new places for guests to purchase local mementos along the colonnade, big pink-and-yellow arches framing a postcard view of sand and sea. In February, The Nest opened its artisan-based shop, featuring work by local artists and small businesses featuring a variety of pottery, plants, honey, candles, soaps, and hand-crafted jewelry. Later this spring, The Walk is slated to open, featuring original Boardwalk apparel with fresh exciting new designs. Local artists from NHS, home of Santa Cruz Skateboards and Merge 4, a sustainable clothing accessory company will join other vendors to feature some signature skate-centric merch. New MyBoardwalk Photos will be available just outside three rides and one “selfie zone.” Single-day and all-season digital photo passes are also available.

CAPITOLA HISTORICAL MUSEUM TO DEBUT “PERSPECTIVES”

This spring, the Capitola Historical Museum will premiere its new annual exhibition entitled “Perspectives: Capitola in the Eye of the Beholder.” Featuring a variety of perspectives: The Pioneers, The Promoters, The Sportsmen, The Pleasure Seekers, The Conventioneers, The Developers, The Artists, The Hippies, and The Residents – this new exhibit sheds light on the idea that the way we perceive a place depends on why we came there and how we interact with it. Accompanying this exhibit, a new painting by local artist Ann Thiermann and commissioned by the City of Capitola depicts Indigenous people conducting traditional fishing and foraging of sea life at what is known today as Capitola Beach. The Capitola-Soquel area in mid-county is the traditional homeland of the Aptos, Cajastaca, and Uypi peoples. The museum will continue to include Native American history and stories, past and present in all its future annual exhibitions. The admission-free museum is open Friday through Sunday from Noon to 4PM and sits in a historic bungalow in the heart of Capitola Village.

LA QUINTA SANTA CRUZ OPENS, STEPS TO THE BOARDWALK

The La Quinta Santa Cruz, a newly built, 60-room hotel, sits minutes away from the legendary Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Spacious and comfortable guestrooms with generous workstations and complimentary Wi-Fi make the La Quinta a perfect option for business travelers. In-room amenities such as microwave ovens and mini-fridges enhance your stay. Views of the Monterey Bay can be seen from the Deluxe, Premier, and Supreme rooms and suites.

LOCH LOMOND RECREATIONAL AREA NOW OFFERING TOURS

This spring, the Capitola Historical Museum will premiere its new annual exhibition entitled “Perspectives: Capitola in the Eye of the Beholder.” Featuring a variety of New this spring, tours will be offered on the second weekend of the month on both Saturday and Sunday of the Loch Lomond Recreational Area aboard the Newell Jewel pontoon boat. Visitors can enjoy a one-hour interpretive tour of the lake with a park ranger from Noon to 1PM. These free tours can accommodate up to 25 people, on a first-come, first-served basis. The Loch Lomond Recreation Area provides a range of activities including boat rentals, picnicking, fishing, hiking, natural resources interpretive programming. Staff also provide surveillance and security on surrounding City watershed lands and riparian conservation areas.

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