Perched atop one of the highest ridges in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Castle Rock State Park offers expansive views of the San Lorenzo Valley. Miles of forested peaks stretch out below, fading from chartreuse and emerald green to sage, the furthest peaks a hazy blue that meet the fog-shrouded Pacific. Although not as famous as its neighbor, Big Basin State Park, Castle Rock has its own grove of redwoods, 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 climbers and amateur scramblers.
Have you been to Elkhorn Slough? This peaceful reserve is full of beauty and wildlife, plus you can choose how to explore, via waterways or on-foot on the 5 miles of trails. Check out these inspiring photos taken at this natural wonder and plan your own visit to Elkhorn Slough!
Famed for its ancient redwoods, cascading waterfalls, and epic hikes, Big Basin Redwoods State Park hides a lesser-known coastal region with an identity and landscape all of its own. Named for the grizzly bears that once roamed its lush grounds, Rancho del Oso is a hidden gem with a dazzling spring wildflowers, enchanting marshlands laced with hiking and biking trails, and a magnificent nature center housed in a historic home once occupied by the family of President Herbert Hoover.
You don’t have to shimmy into a wetsuit to enjoy surfing in Santa Cruz County. Many local surf breaks offer viewing areas to relish the action without ever leaving the shore. As the birthplace of mainland surfing, Santa Cruz is home to amazing talent and legends, and you can watch them “shred the gnar” at the following spots.
Bring out Dad’s inner kid this Father’s Day! Shovel in a hearty pancake breakfast alongside your local firefighters, hike or steam-train into the redwoods, learn about art and science, grab some BBQ, or all of the above. We’ve got events around Santa Cruz County that will celebrate Pops all day long! Check out more info below. Cheers to you, Daddy-O!