Unpretentious, value-priced wines set among rolling hillsides, with vineyard tours ($10, including wine-tasting flight $20 to $40) by appointment.
- TTalley Vineyards
- NNew Brighton State Beach
Heading east of Santa Cruz to Capitola, New Brighton State Beach is a quieter place for a swim, paddle boarding or camping on a forested bluff.
- UUCSC Arboretum
Amble around this peaceful arboretum and picturesquely decaying 19th-century structures from Cowell Ranch, upon which the UCSC campus was built.
- TTobin James Cellars
Anti-serious Old West saloon pours bold reds, including an outlaw ‘Ballistic’ Zinfandel and ‘Liquid Love’ dessert wine. No tasting fee.
- TTolosa Winery
No-oak Chardonnay, barrel-selected Pinot Noir and bold estate Syrah, with artisanal cheese, charcuterie and chocolate pairings on weekends.
- CCalifornia's First Theater
Originally built as a lodging house and tavern in 1847, and used as a theater from 1850, this building is currently closed for renovation.
- SSunset State Beach
The La Selva Beach exit off Hwy 1, near Watsonville, brings you here, where you can have miles of sand and surf almost all to yourself.
- SSteinbeck Plaza
Along Cannery Row, stop at Steinbeck Plaza to soak up bay views and snap a photo of yourself with a bronze bust of the famous writer.
- NNiven Family Wine Estates
Samples from six different labels inside an early-20th-century wooden schoolhouse, with two bocce ball courts outside.
- MMoran Lake County Park
With a good surf break and bathrooms, this pretty all-around sandy spot is further east of 26th Ave off E Cliff Dr.
- CCarmel River State Beach
Migratory birds are attracted to this mile-long stretch of sand bordered by a lagoon formed by the Carmel River.
- SSextant Wines
Boisterous tasting room pours different varietals from Edna Valley and Paso Robles, with a tiny gourmet deli.
- OOld Whaling Station
Open to the public, this fine adobe structure was originally built in 1847 by Scottish settler, David Wight.
- TTwin Lakes State Beach
Big beach with bonfire pits and a lagoon, good for kids and often fairly empty. It’s off E Cliff Dr.
- CChamisal Vineyards
In a rust-colored barn tasting room, tipple hand-crafted, small-lot wines grown mostly organically.
- EEarthbound Farm Stand
This roadside farmstand offers smoothies, soups and lets you harvest your own herbs in the garden.
- KKynsi Winery
Small, family-run vineyard pours cult-worthy Pinot Noir inside a cozy brick tasting room.
- EEdna Valley Vineyard
Sip Paragon Vineyard estate Chardonnay by panoramic windows overlooking fields of grapes.
- PPinnacles National Park – East Entrance
The park's east entrance sits at the crossroads of Hwys 146 and 25.
- PPinnacles National Park – West Entrance
The park's west entrance is reached via Hwy 146 from Soledad.