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Little known places to check out in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is a tourist destination – and a great place for a staycation! Some of our best known attractions are legendary – the Boardwalk, the redwoods, the Mystery Spot, the surf breaks, the mountain biking. But what do the locals love most?

Here’s a list of the lesser-known but favorite tourist attractions that you need to check out:

  • Take a hike through old redwood trees or visit the river at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, and then walk through to Roaring Camp (make reservations in advance) for a steam train ride through the redwoods. This is great outing with kids!
  • Visit the Byrne-Milliron Forest in beautiful Corrilitos (be sure to register your hike with Land Trust Santa Cruz in advance) and then stop by the Corrilitos Market for lunch or to take home the best sausages in the county.
  • The beautiful image above was shot in Capitola Village – great surf spot, nice beach to play on, and great little shops!
  • One of the great things about Santa Cruz is the weather – temperate all year long. That leads to year-round farming, which leads to the best farmer’s markets! Find weekly markets around Santa Cruz County, at Cabrillo Community College, and in Watsonville. At the time of this writing, the Felton Market is closed for the season, but it is known as the best market for little ones, with craft tables and regular events. Check it out when they reopen in the spring!
  • Nisene Marks State Park is known for both hiking and mountain biking trails, but locals know the side and back entrances are quieter and sometimes more accessible if you are walking with the kiddos. Study a park map and hunt around for a bit – but I’m partial to the entrance through the residential neighborhood near Safeway in Aptos, which is a short hike down to a quiet spot on Aptos Creek.

What is your favorite spot in Santa Cruz?

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