Santa Cruz Beaches
Enjoy the beaches in Santa Cruz County and the miles of sand, parks, and bike paths that extend the length of the county.
Located in Santa Cruz, 15 minutes north of Pinto Lake, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk offers carnival rides, including the 1924 “Giant Dipper” – one of the few wooden roller coasters still in existence, as well as games, shops, miniature golf and more. As the only remaining seaside amusement park in the country, the Boardwalk is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
Once the heart of Monterey’s canning industry, Cannery Row is now a bustling shopping area. There are more than 150 stores located along the six-block stretch of Cannery Row between Reeside and David Avenue. Fisherman’s Wharf is lined with seafood restaurants, fish markets, art galleries, specialty shops, candy stores, a theater and fishing, diving, sight-seeing and whale-watching charter and tour companies.
Be one of the nearly two million visitors to the Monterey Bay Aquarium this year. Home to more than 550 marine species from penguins to jellies to coral, the aquarium is a short 30 minute drive from Pinto Lake. Open 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily; 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. summer weekdays and holidays; 9:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. summer weekends. Admission is charged. Wheelchair accessible.
Eklhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of California’s largest wetlands, a meandering waterway located on the Monterey Bay near the town of Moss Landing. Most people visit the area to go birding, hiking, kayaking, shopping, or fishing.
Elkhorn Slough Safari is an exciting way to visit this natural, calm water habitat and will provide excellent opportunities to view and photograph wildlife close at hand. These two hour boat cruises include an in-depth look at various aspects of slough ecology, fascinating history, and birding in the company of a naturalist guide. The 27-foot pontoon boat, the Safari, departs from Moss Landing Harbor just a few minutes south of Pinto Lake on Highway One.
Gilroy Premium Outlets You will find just the right gift at one of the fantastic outlet stores. From premium designers such as Liz Claiborne, Coach, Brooks Brothers to home décor and Gourmet kitchen necessities, it’s all here at the Premium Outlet Mall.
17 Mile Drive Scenic Tour
Experience this magnificent 17-mile drive as it hugs the dramatic Pacific coastline and delves into the lush Del Monte Forest.
For some fun and exciting family entertainment, you can’t beat a trip to the speedway! This quarter-mile semi-banked clay oval track is home to a variety of races, including American Stock, Super Stock and Destruction Derby. Races are held March – October, call 831-476-9466 for schedules. Admission is charged. The Speedway is located at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, off State Route 152.
It’s always "kid season” at Gizdich Ranch. This fourth generation family ranch has “Pik-Yor-Sef” berries and apples, a Farm Park , antique and gift shop and picnic areas. Enjoy the fresh country air as you take a walking tour. Open daily, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Free Admission. The Ranch is located in Watsonville, just down the road from Pinto Lake.