When you think of backpacking in California, the Santa Cruz Mountains isn’t usually the first place that comes to mind. There’s a healing serenity, however, found beneath the towering coastal redwoods that protectively enfold our sunny stretch of well-loved coastline. A quick day trip from the metropolitan hustle of the Bay Area, the Santa Cruz
Zipping past the verdant agricultural fields along Highway 1 in southern Santa Cruz County, you might not guess that a stunning waterfront gem sits moments away. Just six minutes from the highway-and worlds away from modern-day bustle-you’ll discover Pajaro Dunes Resort, a hidden, coastal nirvana with a pristine white sand beach, seagrass-shrouded dunes, and more animated wildlife than a Disney cartoon. The secluded vacation home community offers guests a taste of exceptional coastal living, even if just for a weekend. Check out what makes it a special destination along the Monterey Bay, and enter our Let’s Cruz Vacation Giveaway to win your own coastal getaway!
It happens every spring, but the transformation of a green hillside to a bright carpet of orange, purple, or golden blooms never gets old. The fields bordering Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz turn bright yellow with sour grass and mustard. Cheery orange California poppies pop up along the San Lorenzo River and striking spires
You haven’t fully experienced Santa Cruz County until you’ve hiked through a redwood forest still dripping from a hard rain. The canyons are filled with the sound of rushing water. Wrens flit between the lichen-draped brush of the understory, and the silvery warble of a Swainson’s thrush filters down from the latticework of branches spiraling
The secret’s out! Winter is the BEST time to visit Santa Cruz for some great wildlife watching! And one of our winter must-sees – the elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Park! Año Nuevo State Park is the site for one of the largest mainland breeding colonies in the world for the northern elephant seal, and lucky for us,