THings to See On The Way To The Cruz?
May 27, 2007 11:34 PM   Subscribe

Sight-seeing filter: What are some things we should stop and see during a leisurely drive from San Francisco to Santa Cruz?

My girlfriend and I are visiting San Francisco. Tomorrow, we're renting a car and driving to see some friends in Santa Cruz. We're planning on going via US 1 and taking in some sights. We're not in any hurry. Any suggestions on must-see areas to visit, places to stop at, cool restaurants for lunch (we're vegetarian), etc? In addition to the great scenery I know we'll encounter on this route we also like off-the-wall shops and tourist traps. Any ideas or suggestions are appreciated.
posted by General Zubon to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
La Cabana Taqueria is the only taqueria on Highway 1 in Davenport and was a delicious "let's-get-off-campus-for-a-while" stop for me and my fellow Banana Slugs.

Instead of following (ahem) California Highway 1 into Santa Cruz, take a right at the first traffic light (Shafter), a left onto Delaware, a right onto Swanton, and then a left onto West Cliff Drive, which will lead you along the undulating, gorgeous coast for a few miles. It will almost certainly be really crowded, so perhaps don't try to stop and park, but it's a nice drive at any speed.
posted by mdonley at 11:54 PM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Santa Cruz is not terribly far from Monterey, and Monterey is pretty cool. The Aquarium, 17-Mile Drive, Cannery Row, Carmel, etc.
posted by frogan at 12:00 AM on May 28, 2007

If you like tourist traps, go to the Mystery Spot. It's about three miles north of Santa Cruz.
posted by number9dream at 12:32 AM on May 28, 2007

Bean Hollow state beach is IMO the nicest beach to get out and walk around on.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:50 AM on May 28, 2007

Just North of Bean Hollow is a small turnout marked "Pebble Beach" or "Bean Hollow/Pebble Beach." Here's the general area.

This turnout has two major features -- Pebble Beach itself (accessible via wooden stairs), and the natural tafoni sculpture steps leading down to tidepools. The two sections are inaccessible from the other. If you go at the right time, you get to see tons of sea critters like crabs, starfish, etc ... go at the wrong time, you still have tafoni, seals, etc.

You will also want to eat at Tres Amigos in Half Moon Bay. It's on 1.
posted by user92371 at 1:24 AM on May 28, 2007

The elephant seals at Ano Nuevo State Reserve are awesome. It's midway between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. It's about a mile hike to see the seals.
posted by Xurando at 6:41 AM on May 28, 2007

- Barbara's Fish Trap in Princeton (the harbor area about 5 miles north of Half Moon Bay), geat seafood and it's an institution.
- Duarte's Tavern in Pescadero, great soup
- Cetralla Bistro in Half Moon Bay.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:58 AM on May 28, 2007

Gayle's Bakery in Capitola. Yum!
posted by DakotaPaul at 12:00 PM on May 28, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. We had a lovely drive today and enjoyed some of the suggestions above.
posted by General Zubon at 6:15 PM on May 28, 2007

Buy this artichoke bread, and buy strawberries off the highway a bit further south.

Also, if you have more time, go kayaking at Moss Landing / Elkhorn Slough. I've been twice, and both times I saw otters, seals, and an amazing quantity of birds. It takes about half a day, though, and you have to call ahead to find out the tide schedule.
posted by salvia at 9:26 PM on May 28, 2007

Oh, oops, too late! Glad you had fun.
posted by salvia at 9:26 PM on May 28, 2007

You've apparently already completed your drive, but I thought I'd add to the list for posterity. A stop one should absolutely make is for sandwiches at The San Benito House Garden Deli Cafe. I cannot recommend this place strongly enough. Though they're only open during lunch hours (11-3pm, approx), it's well worth the trip. They bake their own bread fresh daily, and the squaw bread is to die for!
posted by numinous at 12:04 PM on May 30, 2007

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