Explore Santa Cruz

Discover what Santa Cruz has to offer in a day

UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

Jen Siska

Stop and smell the flowers

Love exotic plants? The UC Santa Cruz Arboretum boasts the largest number of Aussie flora this side of the Southern Cross. Wander on a self-guided tour among banksias, grevilleas, proteas, and other plants from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, many of which are low-water growers. Look for the stunning red and yellow pincushions (Leucospermum), which resemble finely tendriled sea creatures.
$5; High St. at Western Dr.; 831/427-2998.

Emily's Good Things to Eat Bakery, Santa Cruz

Jen Siska

Picnic by a creek

Pop into Emily’s Good Things to Eat for a made-to-order sandwich on fresh-baked bread or a “sliver” (you know, thinner than a slice) of moist apple cake. Then grab a seat on the outdoor deck above trickling Laurel Creek, and you’ll have no choice but to heed the bakery’s motto, posted above the entrance: Relax you have plenty of time.
$; 1129 Mission St.; 831/429-9866.

Bookshop Santa Cruz

Jen Siska

Read locally

Bone up on regional gardening, green living, and growing your own food at 43-year-old Bookshop Santa Cruz, crammed with timely, eco-conscious titles by local authors. Check the website (bookshopsantacruz.com) for new author-led outdoor events.
1520 Pacific Ave.

West Cliff Drive

Jen Siska

Walk along the water

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk may be the best-known place to stroll, but the most breathtaking is a paved, coasthugging path along West Cliff Drive. Start near Natural Bridges State Beach and head 3 miles east to the Municipal Wharf, for an easy out-and-back, past views of Monterey Bay, rugged bluffs, and surfers. Free street parking is readily found on, or just off, West Cliff.

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