This season, Santa Cruz is brimming with new things to see and do. Long known as California’s quintessential beach town, with a classic west coast vibe that comes from its legacy as the birthplace of mainland surfing in the United States, this seaside gem welcomes visitors in 2022.
New Yacht Offers Excursions on the Monterey Bay
There is a new sailboat on the horizon for visitors to enjoy Monterey Bay sunsets and special events. O’Neill Yacht Charters is launching a new 65-foot Team O’Neill catamaran, a custom-built boat perfect for afternoon excursions, local wine and beer tasting sails, and the ever-popular Wednesday night sailboat regatta – a seasonal event from April through October. The luxury catamaran is perfect for private charters to celebrate weddings, corporate team-building events, birthdays, family reunions, and memorials at sea. The new boat offers a smooth, comfortable sailing experience with epic views of the Santa Cruz County coastline.
“Cloud 9” Outdoor Lounge Debuts in Scotts Valley
A new outdoor lounge featuring cocktails, appetizers, and mountain views has opened in Scotts Valley, a mere six miles from Santa Cruz. With over 2,000 square feet of patio space, Cloud 9 is decked out with two cabanas, four trendy egg chairs, two bar-height fire tables, and two lounging areas complete with bright blue couches for a splash of color. Each cozy “cloud pod” area has its own fire table and can accommodate groups ranging from four to twelve guests. An accent wall with color-changing LED lights, a spectacular ginkgo tree adorned with 1200 twinkle lights, and a seven-foot rain fountain are other features of this urban oasis which caters to couples and groups of friends ready to imbibe in cocktails, local wine and craft beer, meat and cheese boards to share, and other appetizers.
East Glenwood Preserve Trails Now Open in Scotts Valley
A new set of trails at the Glenwood Preserve Open Space in Scotts Valley are part of a larger, 166-acre preserve consisting of grasslands, riparian forests, and wetlands. Boasting just over four miles of walking, hiking, and equestrian trails, the East Glenwood Preserve is also home to a red-tailed hawk and is a habitat for the endangered Ohlone Tiger Beetle. Both the West Glenwood Preserve trails and the East Glenwood Preserve Trails are home to several rare species of flora. March through May, beautiful displays of California poppies, lupine, and other wildflowers can be seen. With several bridges, gentle gradients – and the northern and summit loops winding through old-growth redwood trees – visitors can enjoy a stunning view of Scotts Valley at the summit.
Lighthouse Lift-Off Lights the Way at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
A new interactive attraction for younger guests at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has debuted. Lighthouse Lift-Off enables guests to shake the sand off their shoes two-by-two as riders pull the rope of the Tower, moving the double seats upwards with motorized assistance. Each passenger can decide how high they ascend, and when the rope is released, the double seat gently descends again. During the ride, the lighthouse-themed attraction rotates around its own axis, rewarding passengers with a magnificent panoramic view of the boardwalk, beach, and the Monterey Bay. Founded in 1907 as the “Coney Island of the West Coast,” the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has maintained both classic and modern rides and attractions for guests throughout its 114-year history, including two national historic landmarks: the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster and the Looff Carousel.
Loch Lomond Recreational Area Now Offering Tours
New this spring, tours will be offered on the second weekend of the month on both Saturday and Sunday of the Loch Lomond Recreational Area aboard the Newell Jewel pontoon boat. Visitors can enjoy a one-hour interpretive tour of the lake with a park ranger from Noon to 1PM. These free tours can accommodate up to 25 people, on a first-come, first-served basis. The Loch Lomond Recreation Area provides a range of activities including boat rentals, picnicking, fishing, hiking, natural resources interpretive programming. Staff also provide surveillance and security on surrounding City watershed lands and riparian conservation areas.
State Beaches Provide More Access with New All-Terrain Wheelchairs
Five new beach wheelchairs are now available for use to visitors and locals – for a total of ten – to use at any of eight state beaches in Santa Cruz County: Natural Bridges, Seabright, Twin Lakes, New Brighton, Seacliff, Manresa, Sunset, and Palm. Supplied by Deming Designs Inc., the new wheelchairs are a standard fixed-frame, all-terrain, stainless steel model with removable swing-away armrests. The wheelchairs can get wet but do not float. These wheelchairs improve safe park access, fulfilling a mandate by California State Parks and Friends of State Parks to provide equity and inclusion for all. The wheelchairs were funded by a $13,762 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy.
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Celebrates 30 Years!
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is celebrating 30 years on September 18th, 2022. Designated by the NOAA under the authority of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act – which was enacted exactly one hundred years after the birth of the National Park System – the Monterey Bay became the eleventh national marine sanctuary in a system of fifteen around the country. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is the second largest in the United States – second only to Hawaii. At 6,094 square statute miles, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary covers an area larger than that of Yellowstone National Park. It stretches from Marin at the north into Ragged Point, San Simeon, and Cambria at its southern end, covering 276 miles of coastline. It is a tremendous source of pride for local Santa Cruzans, who take to the bay for sailing, surfing, kayaking, whale watching, swimming, and stand-up paddleboarding. Its nutrient-rich waters are home to diverse marine life where humpback whales breed, calve, and migrate, coral colonies flourish, sea kelp forms underwater forests, and shipwrecks tell the stories of maritime history. The admission-free Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center sits at the heart of Santa Cruz’s beach area, and technology-enhanced exhibits showcase the depth, diversity, and beauty of the bay. In 2022, the National Marine Sanctuary System is celebrating its 50th anniversary. This nationwide network of 15 national marine sanctuaries and two marine national monuments conserve more than 620,000 square miles of spectacular ocean and Great Lakes waters, from Washington to Florida and Lake Huron to American Samoa – an area nearly the size of Alaska.
>> Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley
Nestled among the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the newly renovated Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley includes 178 guest rooms featuring balconies, patios, suites, and the Hilton’s exclusive “Pure Hypoallergenic” rooms utilizing purified air, a hypoallergenic environment, and allergy-friendly bedding. This seven-step patented process creates a guest room experience that promotes well-being and health for leisure guests. Additionally, the newly renovated Stonehouse Bar & Grill features creative California cuisine, brews, and unique cocktails.
Sea Walls Murals Debut in Santa Cruz
New ocean and environmental-themed public art is now on display in Santa Cruz. Fifteen ocean advocacy murals entitled Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans are the first of its kind in Santa Cruz and are made possible by the PangeaSeed Foundation, which works to create meaningful environmental change for oceans through science, education, and ARTivism (SEA). Walking maps showing where the murals are located and also display information on the artists – three of which are local to Santa Cruz County – who joined 12 other artists from Oakland, Emeryville, Los Angeles, Portland, Reno, Hilo, Hawaii, and Greensboro, South Carolina for this project. Environmentally friendly, non-toxic paint that absorbs carbon was used for the murals, in alignment with the sustainable mission of the project.
Located along the Central Coast, Santa Cruz County, California, is approximately 70 miles/113 km south of San Francisco and 349 miles/562 km from Los Angeles. Many visitors choose to take scenic Highway 1 along the California coastline to Santa Cruz or Highway 17 through the Santa Cruz Mountains. Visitors can also fly into San Francisco International Airport or Mineta/San Jose International Airport.
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