picture of rio del mar aptos

Named after the Ohlone word for “the people,” Aptos is a small city located in the southern part of Santa Cruz County. While it may feel like a small town, there are many things to do in the area. For example, Aptos is home to what is lovingly referred to as the world’s shortest parade, which takes place on the 4th of July and is roughly half a mile long. In addition, the local community college, Cabrillo, hosts many events, including plays, a weekly farmers market, and is home to Pino Alto. In this restaurant, the burgeoning chefs from the culinary department can display their skills. Read on for some of our other favorite things to do in Aptos.

Dining in Aptos

From L-R: Manuel’s Dahlia garden, Marianne’s Ice Cream Shop, Mentone Restaurant.

There is no shortage of good food for food lovers that live in or are visiting the area. Manuels is a local favorite that has been owned and operated by the same family since 1965! Some fan favorites include the enchiladas and the top-shelf margarita. If you go during the spring to fall months, we recommend sitting outside in their beautiful Dahlia garden, which is located behind the restaurant. In the newly constructed Aptos Village, you can find Mentone, a pizzeria, and pasta restaurant from three-star Michelin-rated chef David Kinch. The menu here changes weekly and has a strong emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients. They also have an extensive beverage portfolio, including wine and cocktails. Our favorite thing to sip on at Mentone is the frozen bubbly spritz, a slushie-type drink made of Aperol, orange juice, Trebbiano, and Ketel one peach & orange blossom. Finally, for those with a sweet tooth, we would recommend heading to Marianne’s Ice Cream Shop in the Seacliff neighborhood of Aptos. This locally-owned shop is beloved by many. They have many flavors, everything from the classics to more exotic flavors such as Macupuno, a coconut ice cream with baby coconut shavings.

The great outdoors in Aptos

Picture of the stairs at seacliff beach. picture of the ss Palo Alto.
The Seacliff stairs.

Aptos is home to the longest stretch of beach in Santa Cruz County, coming in at approx. 5 miles. However, if you include New Brighton beach (technically in Capitola) as well as La Selva and Watsonville beaches, it comes in at 12 miles of continuous beach. This stretch of beach offers some of the best marine life viewing in all of Santa Cruz County. There are often sightings of whales, great white sharks, dolphins, jellyfish, and more! The stairs at Seacliff State Beach are a great place to get your heart rate up while breathing in the soothing ocean air. Aptos is also home to Nisene Marks, a state park with more than 30 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. In addition, the park is home to beautiful, jaw-dropping coastal redwood trees. The Aptos Polo fields are another favorite spot for locals. While no longer in use for the sport of Polo, the fields include 62 acres of open fields, multiple baseball diamonds, soccer fields, and a dog park.

Aptos is an incredible community and we hope that you enjoy it as much as we do! If you are interested in moving to this area or have any questions about the properties available, please don’t hesitate to reach out for more information!

The Madani team and ROOM Real Estate have been helping home buyers and sellers in Santa Cruz County for almost two decades. Equipped with a large team of dedicated agents and staff, ROOM Real Estate works tirelessly to help its clients accomplish their real estate goals. We are here for you; and all of your real estate-related needs.

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