The south Santa Cruz County region of Watsonville and Pajaro Valley boasts pristine beaches and a Mediterranean climate. Nearby, the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Reserve is one of California’s last undisturbed wetlands and is ideal for bird watching. An annual Birding Festival, the Strawberry Festival, a weekly farmer’s market, Watsonville Plaza, and the Agricultural History Museum are sights not to be missed.
Corralitos in Santa Cruz County’s southern region, is an idyllic area known for apple orchards and horse farms. The Corralitos Wine Trail boasts a handful of boutique wineries, specializing in estate-bottled pinot noir and chardonnay, among other varietals. Corralitos offers a classic California vibe, where wine tasting is done in a relaxed setting, with vineyards adjacent to the tasting room. Other Corralitos offerings include locally made sausage and pastries using produce from area farms.
Not far from majestic redwood forests is the small community of La Selva Beach. North of Watsonville and south of Aptos, the pride of La Selva Beach is its gorgeous coastline. Manresa State Beach is an ideal spot for surfing, coastal camping, and watching the sunset around a fire ring. A haven for marine life and birders, the La Selva Beach area is semi-rural, where coastal farms stretch out to meet ocean bluffs. Nearby restaurants and antique shops round out the La Selva Beach experience.