Nine miles north of Santa Cruz, Davenport’s coastline is carpeted with strawberry and artichoke fields and includes sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Migrating gray and humpback whales pass by every year, while sea otters, dolphins, blue whales, porpoises, sea lions, and a variety of ocean birds can also be spotted. The North Coast provides easy access to miles of trails and exposed beaches.
Waddell Beach is known internationally as one of the best spots for windsurfing because of the ever-present winds out of the North West. At low tide, scour the more secluded beaches of Davenport for rare sea glass shards, softened by waves and wind. At Rancho del Oso State Park, watch kiteboarders catch air off the waves at Waddell Beach, walk along a rare coastal freshwater marsh, or hike or ride inland along forested canyons. At Wilder Ranch State Park, wetland and riparian habitats thrive, among thirty-four miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking along the ocean bluffs or up grassy terraces. As a result of a restoration project, wetland and riparian habitats thrive, attracting birds to what was once agricultural land. Thirty-four miles of trails offer hiking along the ocean bluffs or up grassy terraces, challenging mountain biking routes, and vast expanses of beaches. The park’s historic Meder farmhouse has been restored to its early 1900s grandeur with appropriate replica furnishings and interpretive supplies.
Between Wilder Ranch and Rancho del Oso, hidden sea arches and rock formations are nestled along the coast. Smaller, lesser-known sun spots like Hole in the Wall and Panther Beach – which rise out of nowhere when the fog lifts – are havens where surfers, whale watchers, swimmers, and sunbathers all share the sun and sand. The Davenport Jail, a one-room, two-cell built in 1914 is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is now a museum which houses natural and historic artifacts from the north coast. Hungry for more? The Whale City Bakery is a North Coast institution, featuring a boutique bakery with vegan and gluten-free options (try the Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookie!). Or visit a coastal u-pick farm, where you can harvest your own strawberries, ollalieberries and kiwi fruit.