Natural Things to Do in Santa Cruz:
All the Year Round
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We all love Santa Cruz for the natural beauty and rich environmental diversity along this magnificent central coast. Here are just a few ways to get close to nature all throughout the year!
Tidepools are located along much of the local coastline. Searching for sea stars, anemones, crabs, and sea urchins is a fun activity for all ages. For a guide to the best locations, try this list of tidepools at California State Parks.
Hummingbirds are found in all areas. For a close view go to the UCSC Arboretum.
Whale, dolphin and porpoise are seen year round. Monterey Bay's abundant food resources attract Orca, Minke, Fin and Beaked whales; Pacific White-Sided, Nothern Right Whale, Risso's and Bottlenose dolphins and Dall's and Harbor porpoises. Tour boats depart from the Santa Cruz Wharf, Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, and Moss Landing Harbor. The best location for land sightings is at Davenport.
California Sea Lions rest on the Santa Cruz Wharf pilings and at Seal Rock located off-shore from Lighthouse Point.
Bird spotting is prolific throughout the year. Different species are found in various regional habitats. Popular locations for birding are at Wilder Ranch State Park, UCSC Arboretum, Neary Lagoon and Elkhorn Slough.