It’s a gorgeous Saturday morning and you’re craving a vigorous mountaintop trek, but the kiddos only want to stroll a virtual landscape of pixelated zombies. Sound familiar? We’ve got the solution: easy, scenic hikes with fun surprises and engaging activities that your kids will love. With quality time outdoors and away from the screens, these five outings are your new weekend ace in the hole.
2017 is wrapping up and we’re taking a look back to see what our fans loved most on our Facebook and Instagram feeds. Sure, beach photos are always a hit, 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 2017 based on fan likes, comments, and shares. Enjoy the gallery and rest assured that we will keep providing more of this wildly beautiful, adventurous, and inspiring Santa Cruz content in 2018! And don’t forget to keep tagging #VisitSantaCruz in your posts!
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.
Santa Cruz is known for its phenomenal wildlife viewing opportunities. Year round whale watching, birding, otters and elephant seals, and seasonal monarch butterflies have put Santa Cruz County on the map for many nature enthusiasts! But in December and January there seems to be a crescendo of wildlife that make Santa Cruz a wintertime must-see!
This monarch season is proving to be yet another beauty! Be sure to plan a visit to the Monarch Grove at Natural Bridges State Beach anytime from now, until the end of the year (and possibly as late as mid-February.) Explore on your own or take a weekend tour with docents who will share loads of information about these amazing migrating creatures.