Having sailed the far reaches of the globe, John Ribera chooses to hang his captain’s hat in Santa Cruz. As Head Captain for Chardonnay Sailing Charters, Ribera navigates the sea life-filled waters of Monterey Bay, offering guests a firsthand experience of our wondrous marine sanctuary. It’s little wonder the affable Ribera, a successful realtor by day, refers to the Chardonnay as his fun job. We asked him about his twenty years helming the company’s two, iconic 70′ racing yachts, and what makes the Monterey Bay such a special place to sail.
Post-rainy day hikes are kinda the best. Creatures are out, the forest is fresh, and the streams and falls are flowing! Check out a few of our favorite falls in the Santa Cruz Mountains:
Visitors flock to Santa Cruz for the redwoods and the coastline. They come to surf world-class waves, to catch sight of a blue whale in the Monterey Bay, and to experience the classic charm of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Santa Cruz has a well-kept secret, however, that’s hidden in plain sight. It’s admittedly still a diamond in the rough but a cavalry of local artists, environmentalists, and community builders have plans to change that.
So, what is this precious local gem that’s been sitting right under everyone’s noses? It’s our city’s primary water source, a vibrant wildlife habitat, and soon-to-be community gathering place: the San Lorenzo River.
Vacations often involve cramming as many activities as possible into a three-day weekend. We zip through the local’s favorites, pose for selfies with the tourist attractions, and snap artfully arranged shots of avocado toast and acai bowls consumed between mugs of artisanal coffee. It’s all about checking things off our bucket list, filling our Instagram feed, and, for those with kids in tow, finding creative ways to avoid a meltdown.
While we’re huge fans of both the bucket list and sharing experiences on social media, there is another way to experience both a new place and the familiar haunts you thought you knew like the back of your smartphone.
What’s better than a destination that can double as the perfect day-trip and extended getaway? A destination that has free activities and events to keep you entertained all day or all season long! Below are a few hand-picked tips for enjoying Santa Cruz County on a limited budget, or no budget at all! For more info, check out our Top 12 Free Things to Do in Santa Cruz County for Spring and Summer.