Seascape, Rio del Mar, Seacliff, Cabrillo, Aptos Hills, California
This unincorporated region of Santa Cruz County
comprised of the towns Seascape, Rio del Mar, Seacliff, Cabrillo area and
Aptos Hills encompasses Mt. Madonna through 10,000 acres of redwoods and
canyons, and down to the beaches.
Aptos extends into the Corralitos & Larkin Valley hills where
you will find horse ranches, wineries and apple orchards. Located along Highway
1, the most prominent landmark is "The Palo Alto" cement ship at Seacliff State Beach. This two mile, sandy beach at the foot
of sandstone cliffs offers day parking, camping, swimming, fishing, bicycling
and roller blading for starters.
Docked at the foot of a pier, Palo Alto has gone to the
birds, so to speak. It was built at the Oakland shipyard in 1918 as a supply
ship for the World War I effort. The war ended before she ever saw service
and with time on her hands, she was sold to the Seacliff Amusement Company
of Nevada, and towed in 1929 to what would later become Seacliff State
Beach. A casino and dance hall, arcades and entertainment were featured
on this monster party boat until its owners went belly when the Great Depression
rocked the world in the early 1930's. .... Today, the Palo Alto lays in pieces on the floor of the Monterey
Bay, tenuously connected to a fragile pier which was damaged in recent
storms. One of the most photographed landmarks of the region, birds have
discovered a haven not accessible to humans. Take a pair of binoculars
to watch the hundreds of birds that sit on the ship. Beach facilities where
you can enjoy watching birds include a beautiful stretch of sandy beach,
covered picnic areas with barbecues public restrooms, trailer campsites
and an interpretive center which has natural and local cultural history
exhibits. For more information, call (831) 685-6444 or 685-6500 .
How Aptos got its name: It is believed that Native
Americans who lived here thousands of years before Mission Santa Cruz was
completed by the Spanish in 1794, named this part of the county Awatos
or "where the waters meet." The name honors the spot where two creeks joined
before traveling together to the bay. During Mexico's reign of the early
1800's, the land was used for cattle. Property was leased for a wharf,
genral store, lumber mill. After California declared itself a US state
in 1850, the sugar king, millionaire Claus Spreckels bought property
and built a hotel near the beach in 1872. He also built a summer
mansion and ranch with a racetrack for horses and a large fenced area stocked
with deer for hunting known as "The Deer Park."
Spreckels also helped finance the Santa Cruz Railroad
which opened in 1876. The original steam engine "Jupiter" is now in the
Smithsonian Institute collection in Washington D.C. With the coming of
the railroad, the town moved to the other side of Aptos Creek. Spreckels
brother-in-law Claus Mangels built a mansion, and Rafael Castro's son-in-law
Joseph Arano built the Bayview Hotel. Both are now Bed & Breakfast
Inns. For the next 40 years, Aptos experienced a boom as redwood
timber harvesting made its mark. In those 40 years, all the trees were
cut down in the region and industry put itself out of business!
Today, you'll feel right at home in Aptos with accommodations
ranging from hotels and historic bed and breakfast inns to park camping.
From the rugged, outdoor sports experience to shopping, wine tasting, golf
and visits to several museums, Aptos is a fun loving community which boasts
it hosts the largest garage sale in the county and smallest 4th of July
Parade in the World. Farmers' market, free musical and theatrical
events, demos by local restaurants, the California Open Tennis Tournament,
the Cabrillo College Music Festival and the KPIG Fat Fry each summer are
a few of the town's highlights.
It flows up to Mt. Madonna through 10,000 acres of redwoods
and canyons, and down to the beaches of Seascape, Hidden, and Seacliff
. Aptos flows into the Corralitos & Larkin Valley hills where
you will find horse ranches, wineries and apple orchards.
Santa Cruz Blues Festival held at Aptos Village Parkk
THINGS TO DO:
Rio Del Mar Beach Rio Del Mar Blvd.
Aptos, CA 95003 (831) 429-2850 A long strip
of white sand. You can take your dog for a walk here (with a leash). Also
enjoy fine restaurants and shopping nearby. No day fee. Open sunrise to
Seacliff State Beach 201 State Park Drive Aptos,
CA 95003 (831) 685-6444 An expansive white sand beach
offers picnic facilities for day use, and RV camping. Call for RV reservations.
Parking fee charged. Open sunrise to sunset.
Aptos Seascape Golf Course 610 Clubhouse Dr. Aptos,
CA 95003 (831) 688-3213 18 holes, 72 par "player friendly"
golf course open to the public.
Aptos History Museum 7605-A Old Dominion Ct.
Aptos, CA 95003 (831) 688-1467
Seacliff State Beach Visitor Center State Park Drive Aptos,
CA 95003 (831) 685-6444 Extensive exhibits about "The Palo Alto Cement
Ship" along with natural history, marine and plant life exhibits. Books
on marine and plant life, history, etc. Call for hours.
Airports Distance Driving Time
San Jose International 35 miles 45 Minutes
San Francisco International 62 miles
Oakland International 60 miles
Monterey Peninsula Airport 43 miles
Watsonville Municipal Airport 14 miles
Highway Access Five State Highways:
1, 9, 17, 129 & 152 (Providing access to U.S. 101)