The bustling Westside neighborhood has come a long way since its Brussels sprouts packing days. While you may have heard about the hip coffee shops, stylish boutiques, and small-batch wine, beer, and spirits producers that have made it a local hot spot, the area is also home to some of the most striking natural wonders in Santa Cruz County. Here’s your guide on where to hit the Westside’s trails, sales, and pale ales.
Thanks to an enviable setting between redwood-filled mountains and the wondrous Monterey Bay, one of the most rewarding activities in Santa Cruz County is simply strolling its scenic landscape. Whether you’re seeking a post-brunch dawdle or pre-sunset stride, you’ll discover many pleasing pathways throughout the region—nearly all stroller and wheelchair accessible. So ditch the car, lace up the tennies, and walk, don’t run to the following picturesque spots!
Kick-start the new year with an energizing First Day Hike through ancient towering redwoods, sandy coastal stretches, and along soothing mountain streams. On January 1st, state parks across the country are offering free-guided hikes for the sixth year in a row. Get outside, connect with nature, and expand your knowledge of the wildlife, plant life, and people who were here long before us. In order of easiest to most strenuous, we’ve narrowed the list down to a few of our favorites. Whichever one you choose, you’ll start the new year feeling healthy, recharged, and inspired to explore more state parks in Santa Cruz and beyond.
Not all of Santa Cruz’s colorful characters are found at the Boardwalk. Explore Santa Cruz County shores, and you’ll delight in rocky tide pools teeming with unique sea creatures that wouldn’t be out of place in a Dr. Suess book. Tide pooling is a great way to experience the wondrous marine life in Monterey Bay
, no scuba tanks required! With something new to discover every visit, the following seaside spots will keep you happy as a clam.