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.
Weather (When to Go)
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.
Pajaro Valley Arts
A non-profit fine art gallery located in a 114-year-old historic Victorian. PVA presents rotating contemporary visual art exhibitions showcasing the diversity and talent of regional artists.
Sand Dollar Beach
Sand Dollar Day-Use Picnic Area is along the southern Big Sur coast about half-way between Cambria and Big Sur Station. The picnic area and Sand Dollar Beach are popular in the summer months. Surfers ride the waves here as this is one of the few worthy surf spots in all of Big Sur.
The Annieglass factory is one of the most unique places to visit in Santa Cruz county. Since 1983 the production studio produces over 200 pieces a day for distribution throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia to the finest stores, resorts, chefs and websites. The largest selection of Annieglass is featured in their retail store along with local artisans, jewelry, and home furnishings.
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.
Things to do in Watsonville
Silent as a whisper, the electric powered Selkie II glides across the water. Join them aboard their elegant, eco friendly electric cruiser! Explore with them the natural wonders of the Elkhorn Slough as you observe rare Southern Sea Otters, Harbor Seals and hundreds of species of birds. Telephone: +1 831-207-6305 Web: Whisper Charters
Blue Ocean Whale Watch
Blue Ocean Whale Watch is owner operated and has the most unique boat on the bay. Their boat, High Spirits, is a 60ft yacht with plenty of space for you inside and out. They have an observation deck up top which provides a 360 degree view of the bay – a perfect vantage point for taking photos. Their tours depart from Moss Landing Harbor, the heart of the Monterey Bay. Telephone: +1 831-600-5103 Web: Blue Ocean Whale Watch
Head to their Santa Cruz Harbor location to experience over a mile of calm protected waters – perfect for beginning kayakers or standup paddling enthusiasts. For the more adventurous, head out into the Monterey Bay for open ocean exploration. See the iconic Santa Cruz sights including the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the Santa Cruz Wharf and experience the surf stoke at Steamer Lane. Telephone: +1 831-724-5692 Web: Kayak Connection
Explore Monterey Bay year-round with a marine biologist aboard Sanctuary, a beautiful boat that is only booked to 80% of her capacity for a more personalized passenger experience. They run longer trips with fewer passengers. They really care about the environment and run 100% local biodiesel. Telephone: +1 831-350-4090 Web: Sanctuary Cruises
Sea Goddess Whale Watching
Whale Watching in Monterey Bay with the newest, most comfortable whale watching vessel “Sea Goddess” located in Moss Landing at the mouth of the deep ocean canyon where whales love to feed in their natural environment! Close to both Monterey and Santa Cruz, they can easily go either direction to view whales, dolphins, orcas, and much, much more. Telephone: +1 831-760-2500 Web: Sea Goddess Whale Watching
Best Restaurants in Watsonville
$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End
$$ – $$$ California Grill of the Pajaro Valley
The California Grill serves the finest locally grown produce, meats and desserts. We grow our organic produce here in Pajaro Valley so the food on your plate was likely picked fresh just hours before it was prepared and reflects seasonal flavors at their peak. Telephone: +1 831-722-8052 Web: California Grill of the Pajaro Valley.
$$ – $$$ The Fish House Bar & Grill
California cuisine, casual dining restaurant, fresh seafood, fresh pasta, steaks, and daily specials. They have a full bar and more, with happy hour and early bird dinner specials from 4 – 6 pm. Telephone: +1 831-728-3333 Web: The Fish House Bar & Grill
$$ – $$$ Imura Sushi
Imura aims to please and customer satisfaction is of utmost priority. Along with an extravagant and seemingly-unending sushi menu, Imura offers delicious bento boxes for lunch and dinner, as well as a select variety of Korean specialty dishes. They allow you to customize your rolls, bento boxes, and more so that you’re getting exactly what you like. Telephone:
+1 831-761-8799 Web: Imura Sushi
$$ – $$$ Miyuki Restaurant
This little gem is consistently offering fresh made sushi, tempura, teriyaki, Udon, etc. Hard to order anything but the sushi, but everything is good. Bento box for lunch is a good value. Friendly service and also does take out. Telephone: +1 831-728-1620 Web: Miyuki Restaurant
$$ – $$$ Beach Street Cafe
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: +1 831-722-2233 Web: Beach Street Cafe
Best Nightlife inWatsonville
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: +1 831-722-5200 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: +1 831-724-2600 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: +1 831-728-2311 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: +1 831-288-3152 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: +1 831-722-3662 Web: Ranch Milk
Best Watsonville Hotels
Best Western Rose Garden Inn
When you stay halfway between Santa Cruz and Monterey, you get the finest of both worlds. Delight in everything these two cities have to offer, but away from the hustle and bustle. They are minutes from Elkhorn Slough, a haven for birding enthusiasts the world over. They cater to road trippers, vacationing families and business travelers that desire affordable elegance. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Best Western Rose Garden Inn.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Watsonville
Make yourself at home in one of the 65 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and flat-screen televisions. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming is available for your entertainment. Conveniences include desks and microwaves, as well as phones with free local calls. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites.
Comfort Inn Watsonville
The Comfort Inn hotel is conveniently located between Santa Cruz and Monterey, close to Capitola Beach. This Watsonville, CA hotel is minutes from area attractions including Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, the National Steinbeck Center, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the Mystery Spot. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Comfort Inn Watsonville.
Seascape Beach Resort (Aptos)
Located in Aptos, Seascape Beach Resort is a luxurious oceanfront resort featuring three outdoor swimming pools with hot tubs and 2 restaurants on site. All accommodations includes free WiFi. For more information, pricing or to reserve your room visit the Seascape Beach Resort.
Rio Sands Hotel (Aptos)
The Rio Sands Hotel is nestled in the quiet Rio Del Mar neighborhood of Aptos in the county of Santa Cruz–minutes south of the city of Santa Cruz and just 35 minutes north of Monterey and Carmel. The Rio Sands is located an easy, two-minutes flat walk away from Rio Del Mar and Seacliff State Beaches where you can enjoy 20 miles of walkable sand. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Rio Sands Hotel.