Watsonville’s unique landscape is rich with options for fun and exploration. The area’s fertile soil and Mediterranean climate yield some of the nation's finest produce, and strawberry fields and apple orchards provide a gorgeous backdrop for this scenic destination.
GETTING HERE: Arrive at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and drive approximately 70 miles/113 km south to Santa Cruz County (recommended: drive via Scenic Highway 1 – Pacific Coast Highway).
Grab your binoculars and head over to Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, a habitat for nearly 300 species of birds. Bird enthusiasts also shouldn’t miss a stroll around the Wetlands of Watsonville, or a visit to the Wetlands Nature Center.
Building up an appetite after all that exploring? Head to a U-pick farm for samplings of the county’s freshest berries, apples and more! Or, pack up your lunch and head to Pinto Lake Park for a picnic, followed by a round of disc golf. Stop by Annieglass Studios for elegant, locally-crafted glassware or partake in an art class at the onsite Craftbar. Afterward, head over to Martinelli’s Company Store’s family-friendly tasting room and sample sparkling apple cider in a variety of flavors.
The Watsonville Farmer’s Market at the Historic Downtown Watsonville Plaza is the place to be on Friday afternoons – showcasing the best fresh fruits and veggies from local agriculture fields. Discover the farming methods of a bygone era at the Agriculture History Museum. Plant seeds, milk cows or even churn butter! Nearby, Live Earth Farm hosts tours – and you can always find something unique at the farm stand. You can also see the latest local art exhibits at the Pajaro Valley Arts Gallery. Don’t miss one of Santa Cruz County’s best kept secrets – Castro Adobe State Park.
Cuddle up and enjoy a “not to miss” sunset on the dunes at Manresa or Sunset State Beaches. At the end of an adventurous day, head to Downtown Watsonville to find an abundance of restaurants offering authentic Mexican cuisine or the farm-fresh fare of the California Grill of the Pajaro Valley. Enjoy a live show at the Henry J. Mello Center for the Performing Arts.