Strawberry fields and apple orchards provide a gorgeous backdrop that welcomes visitors. The Pajaro Valley – which can be seen from the summit of Mount Madonna – includes the communities of Corralitos, Freedom, La Selva Beach, Pajaro, Royal Oaks, Pajaro Dunes, and Watsonville. A variety of options awaits; from an early morning bird watching excursion to an afternoon at a u-pick farm or museum, sunset stroll on an expansive beach or attending a signature festival.
Watsonville Weather (When to Visit)
Average temperatures in Watsonville vary somewhat. If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Watsonville, the hottest months are July thru September. The warmest time of year is generally late August to early September where highs are regularly around 79.3°F with temperatures rarely dropping below 54.2°F at night.
The busiest month for tourism in Watsonville, is May through August. Prices for hotels and flights will be most expensive during these months, though you can save if you purchase well in advance. Starting in September prices start to drop for hotel and air.
Best Watsonville Area Beaches
Manresa Uplands Beach
There is a walking path and a long stairwell that leads down the steep bluff. The beach at Manresa Uplands is wide, sandy, and very long. This portion of the Monterey Bay shoreline is pretty much a continuous sandy crescent from Moss Landing to Capitola.
La Selva Beach
This public beach near Watsonville has many names – La Selva Beach, Lundborgh Beach, and Trestle or Trestles Beach. Technically this beach is state-owned property on the northern end of Manresa State Beach. Swimming is dangerous at La Selva Beach because of rip currents and the lack of lifeguards.
Palm Beach is a day use area of Sunset State Beach which has a separate entrance. This park provides access to a wide sandy beach on Monterey Bay that is backed by beautiful grassy dunes. This beach is popular with local farming families because most of the other beaches in the area don’t have a free parking option.
Manresa State Beach
Less well known than its neighbors Sunset and Seacliff beaches, Manresa State Beach has been a favorite of locals for years. They appreciate its relative anonymity, its long expanse of clean beach, and its well-maintained facilities. Most of the visitors enjoy shore side activities like walking, flying kites, playing sports, or sun bathing.
Sunset State Beach
This is a popular state park with a campground, nice day use picnic facilities, and a long wide sandy beach. The main unit of Sunset State Park has two separate day-use parking lots: Upper Ramada Picnic Area (near the park entrance) and Lower Ramada Picnic Area (at the end of the park road). Both areas have picnic tables and covered picnic areas with BBQs.
Best Watsonville Area Tours & Activities by Viator
Roaring Camp Steam Train Through Santa Cruz Redwoods
Board a historic steam train for a 1-hour ride through the Santa Cruz mountains from Felton’s Roaring Camp, and go deep into redwood groves and California’s past. Chug up the narrow gage tracks under trees that soar over 270 feet (82 meters) above the forest floor. Learn the history of the forest, the railroad and the logging camp it served. Stroll through the towering trees at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, visit an old fashioned general store and sheriff’s office and take in serenity of California's ancient forests. Learn more about the Roaring Camp Steam Train.
Beginner Surf Lesson in Santa Cruz
Get wet while learning to surf in Santa Cruz, a picturesque coastal California town popular with surfers. Your 3-hour lesson starts with the basics of how to paddle out, pop up, balance, and catch a wave, along with surfing etiquette and understanding the ocean. Your instructor has you practice on the beach before accompanying you into a spot with small waves that are ideal for beginners. Includes all necessary equipment and instruction. Learn more about the Beginner Surf Lesson in Santa Cruz.
Beach Train from Roaring Camp through Redwoods to Santa Cruz
Pack in views of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the California redwoods, and the Monterey Bay during this beach train from Santa Cruz’s Roaring Camp Railroads. Along with a scenic train ride through the Santa Cruz Mountains, you’ll get a 1-hour stop in the middle of your route to relax or explore the area at your own pace. This fun experience is perfect for families, and children under two ride free as an added bonus. Learn more abou the Beach Train from Roaring Camp thru Redwoods to Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz Harbor Standup Paddle Board Rental
This rental is the perfect way to dip your paddle in the water without the half-day commitment. You can paddle free of the large swell from the open ocean in our protected Santa Cruz Harbor. After your paddle, you'll have earned that beer & fish tacos at El Palomar, Crows Nest or Johnny's Harborside. Wildlife spotting, adventure, and some iconic scenery make this paddle a must do. Ideal for beginners, or bucket-listers who want to get the most out of their Santa Cruz visit! Learn more about the Santa Cruz Harbor SUP Board Rental.
Santa Cruz Single Kayak Ocean Rental
Come paddle for fun, fitness, relaxation or imagination! See the ever adorable southern sea otter, whales lunge feeding, or enjoy the rowdy sea lions as they porpoise through the waves. Learn more about the Santa Cruze Single Kayak Ocean Rental.
Best Restaurants in Watsonville
California Grill of the Pajaro Valley $11 – 30
The California Grill serves the finest locally grown produce, meats and desserts. We grow our organic produce here in Pajaro Valley so the food on your plate was likely picked fresh just hours before it was prepared and reflects seasonal flavors at their peak. Telephone: 831-722-8052 Web: California Grill of the Pajaro Valley.
The Fish House Bar & Grill $11 – 30
California cuisine, casual dining restaurant, fresh seafood, fresh pasta, steaks, and daily specials. They have a full bar and more, with happy hour and early bird dinner specials from 4 – 6 pm. Telephone: 831-728-3333 Web: The Fish House Bar & Grill
Imura Sushi $11 – 30
Imura aims to please and customer satisfaction is of utmost priority. Along with an extravagant and seemingly-unending sushi menu, Imura offers delicious bento boxes for lunch and dinner, as well as a select variety of Korean specialty dishes. They allow you to customize your rolls, bento boxes, and more so that you’re getting exactly what you like. Telephone:
831-761-8799 Web: Imura Sushi
Miyuki Restaurant $11 – 30
This little gem is consistently offering fresh made sushi, tempura, teriyaki, Udon, etc. Hard to order anything but the sushi, but everything is good. Bento box for lunch is a good value. Friendly service and also does take out. Telephone: 831-728-1620 Web: Miyuki Restaurant
Beach Street Cafe $11 – 30
They serve breakfast and lunch all day. From big hearty omelettes, pancakes, and waffles to delicious handmade burgers, and cold cut sandwiches. At Beach Street Cafe you wont just receive delicious home made style food, you will also receive fast and friendly service. They make sure they always serve fresh food crafted with quality ingredients. Telephone: 831-722-2233 Web: Beach Street Cafe
Best Watsonville Bars
Best little Bar in Watsonville that stays open till there is no one drinking. Only takes cash but it does have an ATM in the bar area. It has one old juke box that the music hasn't been updated since who knows when. Very strong drinks! Telephone: 831-722-5200 Web: Villager
Wooden Nickel Bar & Grill
Located in Freedom, California the Wooden Nickel Bar and Grill provides a great atmosphere, amazing food and excellent service. They look forward to your visit! Their full menu is also available for take-out. Telephone: 831-724-2600 Web: Wooden Nickel Bar & Grill
Corralitos Brewing Co.
Located in Corralitos, California. They brew & pour their own hand crafted ales. Visit their friendly new taproom & experience what all the buzz is about. Telephone: 831-728-2311 Web: Corralitos Brewing Co.
Elkhorn Slough Brewing Company
Elkhorn Slough Brewing Company specializes in small batch specialty beers, with a focus on barrel aged wild ales, crafted from locally harvested yeast, and other locally sourced ingredients, creating a terroir, or regionally distinctive style. Telephone: 831-288-3152 Web: Elkhorn Slough Brewing Company
This is a place where you can get gas, groceries, quality Mexican food, and has 20 taps. Very unassuming from the outside, but once you walk in you are greeted with a tap room, small store and counter top service restaurant. A few tvs are generally turned to sports. Telephone: 831-722-3662 Web: Ranch Milk