Can you feel it? A refreshing sharpness to the breeze, a satisfying crunch underfoot when you’re walking through the park, a desire to snuggle up with a hot spiced beverage? It’s finally fall, which means that some of the year’s most highly-anticipated events are already underway, with no signs of slowing down! Autumn often delivers the best weather of the year to Santa Cruz County, but also marks the back-to-school season, so hotels are offering some sweet deals due to fewer crowds! Visit Santa Cruz is celebrating fall by giving away mini vacations and tickets to exciting events for all ages and interests. Follow us on Facebook to enter the Fall Festival Fridays’ weekly mini-Santa Cruz vacation contests with hotel stays and more, and our Instagram for event ticket giveaways throughout the season!
Whales are a year-round spectacle in the Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz County is fortunate to have a front row seat to the show. Although they can be spotted throughout the seasons, there are times when there’s a clear surge in their activity near the shore and throughout the Monterey Bay. Now is one of those times and their current muse – Aptos, Capitola, and Santa Cruz!
As summer comes to an end, most of us look forward to stunning displays of fall foliage, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and drinking our fill of pumpkin spice lattes. But there’s another reason to get excited for shorter, crisper days and less persistent fog banks. Fall is migration season along California’s Central Coast, and one of the top places for birds to get some much-needed R&R before they continue their long flight south is right here in Santa Cruz County.
Santa Cruz County delivers added value once summer ends, when mild temperatures, fewer crowds, and lower hotel rates help make travel more affordable. This season, there are plenty of free activities and events that won’t cost a penny. Below are a few of our favorite tips! For more info, check out our Top 12 Free Things to Do in Santa Cruz County for Fall and Winter.
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.