Must-see attractions in Central Coast

  • T
    Talley Vineyards

    Unpretentious, value-priced wines set among rolling hillsides, with vineyard tours ($10, including wine-tasting flight $20 to $40) by appointment.

  • N
    New 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.

  • U
    UCSC Arboretum

    Amble around this peaceful arboretum and picturesquely decaying 19th-century structures from Cowell Ranch, upon which the UCSC campus was built.

  • T
    Tobin James Cellars

    Anti-serious Old West saloon pours bold reds, including an outlaw ‘Ballistic’ Zinfandel and ‘Liquid Love’ dessert wine. No tasting fee.

  • T
    Tolosa Winery

    No-oak Chardonnay, barrel-selected Pinot Noir and bold estate Syrah, with artisanal cheese, charcuterie and chocolate pairings on weekends.

  • C
    California'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.

  • S
    Sunset 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.

  • S
    Steinbeck 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.

  • N
    Niven Family Wine Estates

    Samples from six different labels inside an early-20th-century wooden schoolhouse, with two bocce ball courts outside.

  • M
    Moran 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.

  • C
    Carmel River State Beach

    Migratory birds are attracted to this mile-long stretch of sand bordered by a lagoon formed by the Carmel River.

  • S
    Sextant Wines

    Boisterous tasting room pours different varietals from Edna Valley and Paso Robles, with a tiny gourmet deli.

  • O
    Old Whaling Station

    Open to the public, this fine adobe structure was originally built in 1847 by Scottish settler, David Wight.

  • T
    Twin Lakes State Beach

    Big beach with bonfire pits and a lagoon, good for kids and often fairly empty. It’s off E Cliff Dr.

  • C
    Chamisal Vineyards

    In a rust-colored barn tasting room, tipple hand-crafted, small-lot wines grown mostly organically.

  • E
    Earthbound Farm Stand

    This roadside farmstand offers smoothies, soups and lets you harvest your own herbs in the garden.

  • K
    Kynsi Winery

    Small, family-run vineyard pours cult-worthy Pinot Noir inside a cozy brick tasting room.

  • E
    Edna Valley Vineyard

    Sip Paragon Vineyard estate Chardonnay by panoramic windows overlooking fields of grapes.