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Old 03-10-2016, 05:38 PM
Location: Phoenix-Valley of the Sun
2,690 posts, read 1,477,416 times
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Hi guys,

My friend and I are traveling to Monterey/Santa Cruz for the April 2nd weekend. On April 2nd, we're thinking about staying in Monterey for the whole day, while on April 3rd, we're thinking about staying in Santa Cruz. Is there any special activities that are going on during that time? Is there any other special attraction or festivals we should visit on those days or is there a website that I can visit so I can do my research? Any information would be very helpful!
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Old 03-10-2016, 09:22 PM
Location: Monterey County, CA
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Here are a couple of websites with events:

Monterey Events Calendar | Music, Sports, Art, Food and Wine

The Met: Live in HD at Century Cinemas | Movies | montereycountyweekly.com

Honestly, there's so much to see and do it really depends more on what your interests are than any single thing happening. There are general things tourists like to do when they visit the area like visit the aquarium, wharf, art galleries in Carmel, etc... But when I used to visit, I always wanted to do the outdoor nature stuff like explore Big Sur. That to me is more exciting than any event. But everyone has their preferences. Some would rather shop, do wine tasting, watch a show, etc...

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Old 03-11-2016, 11:41 AM
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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I'm like MtnSurfer in that i prefer to explore nature and don't partake so much in events.
But here's a calendar of events for April

Santa Cruz County CA - Events Calendar

And this is a google page for events in Santa Cruz county.


And just to let you know (though i haven't checked a long term forecast recently) it may be raining. El Nino rains are supposed to continue on through April. I heard that somewhere on the forum.
It's not the best time of year for events but it will still be beautiful.
What are your interests? What do you like to do generally?
Taste wine / visit wineries?
Santa Cruz County CA - Wine Tasting

And if you haven't booked a hotel room yet, i highly recommend airbnb. https://www.airbnb.com/
One of things that i don't like about S.C. county are the lodging choices. Many are over-priced and not so nice.
You can find an entire apartment for less than an expensive hotel room. For example, i just looked at airbnb for Santa Cruz and saw a 1 bedroom over looking the ocean in Aptos for $175 night. There are much less expensive options and much more expensive options.
I've used airbnb when out of state and it's a great way to travel.

Last edited by blueskywalker; 03-11-2016 at 11:59 AM..
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:33 PM
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You got some great ideas from MtnSurfer and blueskywalker . . . I'd add a quirky Santa Cruz attraction called the Mystery Spot. It's inexpensive, doesn't take too long, and has a great gift shop. I think it's better to just go than hear a lot about it if you're not familiar, so I won't give a "spoiler," but it is often booked up, so make reservations in advance if you want to check it out. The tour lasts about 30 minutes.

Santa Cruz also has quite a few fantastic, inexpensive music venues. Ones that I think capture the vibe of the area best are Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz, Don Quixote's in Felton (this venue also serves dinner), and the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz.
Moe's Alley - Home of Great Live Music - Santa Cruz, CA
Don Quixote's International Music Hall~ Come Have Dinner &A Show
Rio Theater & Cafe: Film, Food, and Fun on the River

Have fun!
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:57 PM
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Oh yeah the mystery spot. of course. good suggestion.
And ^^^^ those venues >>>
I'll add one more.
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Old 03-23-2016, 11:15 AM
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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One thing to keep in mind about lodging in Santa Cruz is that, in addition to it being limited and overpriced, it can be quite sketchy near the Boardwalk.

The large Dream Inn and the motel right next to the Dream Inn are fine, and some of the motels are safe enough, but there can be some fairly nefarious activity going on at others. I think people come from out of town and think "Great, it's near the beach and Boardwalk!" and don't realize that the Beach Flats area has quite a bit of prostitution/drug activity. I'd second blueskywalker's airbnb suggestion, and consider looking in Rio Del Mar or Aptos if you'd rather avoid that kind of thing.
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Old 03-23-2016, 11:28 AM
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Rio Del Mar is in Aptos. And there are nice airbnb's in great areas (better than Rio del Mar) all around the county. There's no need to limit oneself to Aptos although there are certainly some sweet areas in Aptos.
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Old 03-28-2016, 11:13 PM
Location: Silicon Valley
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Great, free people-watching on Pacific Ave in Santa Cruz. I love to go down there to just people-watch, though there is a lot of shopping and eating there, too. I vote Santa Cruz for the best and most varied tattoo viewing, for instance.


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Old 03-29-2016, 04:11 AM
Location: Mountains of Oregon
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We enjoyed watching folks along the BoardWalk.....
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Old 03-29-2016, 04:55 AM
Location: Caverns measureless to man...
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In Monterey, the Aquarium is very much worth seeing. It's also a cool place to just spend a half a day wandering around the harbor and Fisherman's Wharf. You may be a little early for whale season, but if they're earlier this year for some reason, taking a whale watching boat tour is a lot of fun.

Honestly, though - like some of the others, I'd just drive around and explore Big Sur. Drive down as far south from Monterey as Pfeiffer State Park, then work you way back. At Pfeiffer, park the car and walk out to the ocean; those trails have beautiful ocean views, and it's a short walk.

Then head back north and hit Garrapata State Park, and for that one you want to hike the other direction - uphill. The trail will wind sharply up the side of a canyon, where you'll be looking straight out (or even down) at the tops of towering redwoods. As you get farther into the redwoods, the trail becomes more shaded, and you'll quickly find yourself buried deep within a silent, ancient redwood glade. You half expect to see a velociraptor or apatasaur peeking out at you from behind a tree at any moment. You can explore in there for an hour or two; it's one of the most beautiful hikes on the entire Big Sur coast - if not the most beautiful, period. I warn you, it's really easy to miss the parking area, because it's not well-marked at all. You don't even see the sign until you're parked. If you go more than 10 miles south of Carmel, you've missed it. The parking area is on the east side of the highway, so it's easy to be looking in the wrong direction and go right by. Watch for a thick grove of cedar trees separated from the highway by a strip of parking area maybe 30 feet wide and a couple hundred yards long. It almost looks like a wide spot on the shoulder, rather than a parking area, because sometimes there are no cars there.

It's also worth stopping at Point Lobos State Park on your way back up to Monterey; it has stunning seaside trails, and gorgeous ocean views. Really, what makes the area truly special is the outdoors; everything in the town itself is a distant second or third to the beauty of Big Sur.

In fact, I wouldn't even bother with Santa Cruz. If you have only 2 days in the general area, I'd stay in Monterey and spend them both hiking and sightseeing Big Sur. Put it this way - 20 years from now, there's nothing about Santa Cruz that you'll really remember, nothing that really stands out more than any other city you've visited in your life. But 2 whole days hiking and sightseeing in those state parks, and just sitting on a rocky, secluded beach? You'll remember that until the day you die. That's where you get what people are talking about when they're talking about Big Sur.

Oh, and take a few minutes to pull over at Hurricane Point, just a mile or two south of Bixby Bridge. Great whale watching spot, although you need to be careful of cars there even if you're just driving through. The pulloff is on a sharp curve at the top of a steep grade, and comes up on you very suddenly. Way too many people are paying more attention to the view or trying to find a parking space really suddenly, rather than watching where they're going. It's best to park 50 or 100 yards away from the bend, either north or south of it, rather than right on the curve.
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