Outdoor Things to do in Santa Cruz County

The many diverse outdoor attractions in Santa Cruz County offer visitors opportunities for relaxation, adventure, and socializing. Santa Cruz has the widest variety of parks and beaches that would appeal to families, couples, and groups of all ages. The beach campgrounds and parks in Watsonville are both beautiful and family-friendly for those with young children. Aptos has a nice mixture of beaches and parks that accommodate both the adventurer and those who prefer a tamer, more relaxed afternoon. Tiny Davenport is home to a unique state park and beach area that is perfect for those wishing to go off the beaten path a little bit. The big outdoor attractions in Capitola are two beautiful beaches – one that allows visitors to sunbath and lunch on the esplanade and another that provides a campground with some solitude. The inland San Lorenzo Valley is the place to go for state parks.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Santa Cruz CA

Phone: 831-423-5590

The Boardwalk’s roots go back to 1865 when John Leibrandt opened a public bathhouse near the mouth of the San Lorenzo River. Other bathhouses followed and scores of tourists began visiting Santa Cruz to enjoy the highly-touted natural medicine of bathing in saltwater. Soon more concessions sprang up including restaurants, curio shops, and photo stands. Toward the end of the century, Fred W. Swanton considered one of the greatest promoters and entrepreneurs of his time, laid plans for a casino and boardwalk, a Coney Island of the West.

Santa Cruz Wharf

Santa Cruz CA

Phone: 831-420-6025

Santa Cruz Wharf Brochure The two-page Santa Cruz Wharf Brochure features the locations of the Wharf’s restaurants, shops and restrooms, and lists special events, telephone numbers and other information you need to make your visit to the Santa Cruz Wharf one you’ll never forget! Shopping, Dining and Recreation The Santa Cruz Wharf offers the best in seaside shopping, dining and recreation. You’ll find everything from handmade arts & crafts to beach apparel, outdoor fresh fish markets to fine dining, whale watching, fishing trips and kayaking. There’s a wide variety of Critters and Creatures in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Check out the video links below and then visit the Santa Cruz Wharf to see these amazing marine mammals in person! Humpback Whale off of Santa Cruz by Michael Harris California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus).

Wetlands of Watsonville Nature Center

Watsonville CA

Phone: 831-768-1622

Offers exhibits on wetlands plants, animals, history & conservation. Family activities, group tours & more. Guided nature walks Sundays at 1:30. All programs Spanish bilingual.Come discover the cultural history and natural treasures of our neighborhood wildlands. Displays are for all ages, in both English and Spanish. There are hands-on activities for children. Admission is free and there is plenty of parking.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center

Santa Cruz CA

Phone: 831-459-3800

Seymour Center presents a lecture on marine mammals and conservation SANTA CRUZ, CA—What are two Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, three Southern sea otters, and one endangered Hawaiian monk seal telling us about conservation of wild marine mammal populations around the world? Come dive into the world of marine ecosystem conservation and preservation with the Beau Richter, Head Trainer for UCSC’s Marine Mammal Physiology Project in a public lecture at the Seymour Center at 1 p.m. this Sunday, November 21. Richter’s talk “Marine Mammals and the Physiology Project,” is part of the Science Sunday lecture series at the Seymour Center at Long Marine Laboratory. The event is free with paid admission or membership.

Venture Quest Kayaking

Santa Cruz CA

Phone: 831-425-8445

Venture Quest Kayaking of Santa Cruz offers a unique opportunity to explore the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary from a kayak! Rent a kayak or join us on a guided tour and enter the realm of sea otters, seals, sea lions, pelicans, dolphins, whales and a variety of other bird and marine wildlife. Kayaking is an exciting sport that can be both relaxing and invigorating. It is the perfect way to peacefully interact with the wildlife inhabitants of The Monterey Bay.

Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park

Santa Cruz CA

Phone: 831-425-5849

The Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park sits atop Mission Hill offering a patio, gardens, and excellent views of the city. The park features the only building left of the 12th California Mission, Misión la Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz, founded by the Franciscans in 1791. Restored to its original appearance, the austere single-story adobe was once housing for the California Indian residents of the Mission. Exhibits inside tell the story of the mission through the lens of the experience of the Ohlone and Yokut people.

Santa Cruz Harbor

Santa Cruz CA

Phone: 831-475-6161

WELCOME TO THE GATEWAY TO THE MONTEREY BAY NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY On behalf of the Board of Commissioners and harbor staff, I want to welcome you to the Santa Cruz Harbor. Whether you visit the harbor virtually via our website, come to enjoy a meal at one of our great restaurants, or are a long time slip renter, it is our goal to ensure your experience here is both exceptional and unforgettable. Since the harbor’s forefathers had the vision to create the harbor from what was once the other half of the “Twin Lakes,” generations of locals and visitors alike have experienced the amenities of this amazing place.

Santa Cruz Sportfishing

Santa Cruz CA

Phone: 831-426-4690

Santa Cruz Sportfishing Inc in Santa Cruz, CA is a private company categorized under Fishing Parties. Our records show it was established in 1991 and incorporated in California. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of less than $500,000 and employs a staff of approximately 1 to 4. Companies like Santa Cruz Sportfishing Inc usually offer: Recreational Saltwater Fishing, National Recreational Fishing, Marine Recreational Fishing, North Carolina Coastal Recreational Fishing and Recreational Shrimp Fishing.

Santa Cruz Skate Park at Mike Fox Park

Santa Cruz CA

Phone: 831-420-5270

The Ken Wormhoudt skate park is a 15,000 square foot park inside the Mike Fox Park. Features include full pipe, two bowls with pool coping and tile, practice bowl and street course with steps, Hubba ledges, wall-rides, and metal. The park is located at 225 San Lorenzo Blvd at Riverside Avenue. Limited on-site parking. The nearest public parking is at Laurel and Front Streets.

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