Santa Cruz County proudly serves as the gateway to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, one of Santa Cruz County’s most exquisite points of interest and an underwater world rich in biological resources. The sanctuary, designated by the Federal Government under the authority of the National Marine Sanctuary Act, is one of 14 federally protected marine sanctuaries in the country. It is the second largest in the United States, and covers 5,322-square miles of ocean: nearly a quarter of the California Coastline. The sanctuary was established to increase awareness, understanding & stewardship of the Monterey Bay.
This setting provides for primal opportunities to see marine life up close! Santa Cruz County offers a plethora of attractions geared toward wildlife adventures in the Monterey Bay. Join Stagnaro Whale Watching & Fishing Trips on a tour of the Monterey Bay. This year round excursion allows visitors to explore the deep sea from the comfort of state-of-the-art yachts. Tours include sightseeing, whale watching, deep sea fishing and more! After your excursion, have lunch at their neighboring eatery: Stagnaro Bros Restaurant.
Travel down to South County for an adventure at Elkhorn Slough in Watsonville. This reserve offers five miles of trails through oak woodlands and saltwater marshes. This setting is ideal for the bird lover, as many birds native to the region can be spotted at Elkhorn Slough. Santa Cruz County also offers lodging set right along the Monterey Bay. Visit Seascape Beach Resort, a property just steps away from the sand. Located in Aptos, visitors can see the Monterey Bay just beyond the coastal bloom and foliage. Further south, Pajaro Dunes Resort is a beautiful strip of beach homes offering quick access to the beach and serves as a nesting ground for Snowy Plovers; a bird native to the region.
Located in the beautiful Corralitos foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Nicholson Vineyards Winery offers a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy hand crafted wines in a perfect California landscape! Join us for wine tasting on our lawn overlooking our estate vineyards and olive groves. With a concentration on small lot production of estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as other noted varietals, we produce wines that represent the terroir of the California Central Coast. Photo credit: Jamie Hall Photography.VISIT WEBSITE ››
With an impressive variety of wildlife watching experiences for visitors to enjoy, Santa Cruz County has become a destination for nature lovers. Look for migrating birds, butterflies, whales, elephant seals and more.