Things To Do

The Del Mar Oaks Vacation Rental sits in the middle of a coastal area that offers an abundance of outdoor activities, a wide variety of terrain, and the unsurpassed beauty of coastal scenery. This relaxing home is 1 ½ hours south of San Francisco; 45 minutes north of Monterey, Pebble Beach, and Carmel; 12 minutes south of Santa Cruz, 40 minutes southwest of Silicon Valley; and just 7 minutes to the charming Capitola Village. A short 5 minute walk takes you down to the Rio Del Mar beach. Dine at the great seafood restaurant at the Rio Sands, or enjoy a gourmet meal at the Café Rio. Grab your morning coffee and Danish at the coffee shop or enjoy an outdoor lunch at The Pixie Deli. All these fun places are clustered together on the Rio Del Mar Esplanade right there at the beach. The Rio Del Mar beach and the Seacliff State Beach are great for long walks (7 miles) or for jogging. Enjoy the long warf where the famous U.S.S. Palo Alto, “the cement ship,” an experimental concrete vessel, is docked at the end.

The quaint town of Aptos combines the redwoods and the sea in one idyllic setting, from Nisene Marks State Park to Seacliff State Beach. Historic Aptos Village boasts boutiques, restaurants, antique shops and an 1878 hotel. Enjoy 5-star dining at the Café Sparrow in old-town Aptos.

Take in the charm of Capitola Village with it’s beach front dining and shopping. There are free concerts on Wednesday nights during the summer.

Santa Cruz County beaches offer the perfect setting for seaside fun. Whether you enjoy surfing, playing beach volleyball, or hiking along the coastal bluffs, our beaches offer something for everyone. Looking for a romantic beach or a kid-friendly beach? From dramatic windswept cliffs to the ambiance of a picturesque seaside town, you’re sure to find a beach in Santa Cruz County that is unforgettable.

Santa Cruz was the inspiration for the Beach Boys song “Surf City” and boasts some of the best surf in the world. But those wanting to embrace the local healthy lifestyle can also try kayaking, golfing, camping, whale watching, hiking in the redwoods, sailing, mountain biking, fishing, kiteboarding and skateboarding. From hiking in Big Basin State Park or birding in Santa Cruz, there are a wide range of activities you can enjoy in the great outdoors. Henry Cowell State Park just north of Santa Cruz offers wonderful walking trails among the giant redwood trees.

With its family-friendly attractions, miles of open space and fun events for kids, Santa Cruz County is a kid friendly destination. Kids can visit the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Roaring Camp Railroads, a skate park, a museum, take surfing lessons or go bowling. Learn about the ocean at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center and then enjoy lunch at a kid-friendly restaurant. Santa Cruz County’s family events and kid-friendly beaches means there’s something for everyone.

One of the most exciting reasons to visit Santa Cruz County is to see wildlife. Wildlife watching in Santa Cruz County is rich with opportunities to view elephant seals, wintering monarch butterflies, and go whale watching or bird watching. Nearby Elkhorn Slough supports hundreds of birds that pass through or find permanent refuge there. The annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival is a great way to view a variety of birds and other animals which call this area home. Spotting dolphins, sea otters and other marine life can also be enjoyed year-round.

Take a day and visit Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel-By-The-Sea, just a short 45 minute drive down the coast to the south. Stop at Moss Landing for lunch at The Sea Harvest, The Whole Enchilada, or Phil’s Fish Market. If you prefer to have lunch in Monterey, visit Bubba Gumps on Cannery Row or one of many other fun restaurants in town. Cannery Row is also the home of the famous Monterey Aquarium. From the aquarium, drive west along the scenic coastline of Pacific Grove and it’s world famous 17-Mile Drive. Finish the day in Carmel by dinning in one of many high-end restaurants, like The Grill on Ocean Ave. Take in the sunset at Carmel beach while you marvel at the view of it’s all white beach and Pebble Beach right next door.

Even the most seasoned shopper will find shopping in Santa Cruz County a truly one-of-a-kind experience. From quaint shops in Downtown Santa Cruz to specialty shops in Capitola Village and the Capitola Mall beyond town, to antique shopping in Soquel Village and Aptos, distinctive contemporary items are waiting to be discovered. Surf shops feature the products of local wetsuit entrepreneur Jack O’Neill, and colorful boutiques offer handcrafted jewelry, ceramics and glassware from local artisans. The county’s many museum and state park gift shops and art galleries offer fascinating mementos in every price range. Santa Cruz County provides an extraordinary shopping experience for every tatse and budget.