Parks & Rec

Parks & Recreation

Forest of Nisene Marks

Easy trails in Nisene Marks wend among some old-growth redwoods. Photo credit: Leor Pantilat.

Thirty miles of redwood-shaded trails.

Rio Del Mar State Beach

Aptos Creek meets the Pacific Ocean at Rio Del Mar, sometimes creating a summertime lagoon. Photo by Garrett McAuliffe.

A vacation rental hotspot on the bay.

Steamer Lane

Steamer Lane is almost always breaking — and packed with protective locals. Photo by Chip Scheuer.

The ultimate Santa Cruz wave.

Año Nuevo SP

Elephant seal mothers and pups at Ano Nuevo. Photo credit: MonicaSP54 on Creative Commons.

World-class wildlife viewing on a windswept point.

Henry Cowell

A huge redwood at Henry Cowell with burls—dense knots of wood created when the tree undergoes stress. Creative Commons photo.

The easiest way to see some of the world's biggest trees.


A mob of longboarders on a sunny day at Cowells surf break. Photo credit: Hilltromper

Easygoing waves on the Westside.

Elkhorn Slough

A mass of terns (white seabirds) taking flight over a wetlands. Photo by VIcki and Chuck Rogers/Creative Commons.

A global birding destination on Monterey Bay.

Sunset State Beach

Sunset State Beach. Photo credit: Creative Commons.

A remote beach with camping on the bluffs.

Greyhound Rock

Looking down on long Greyhound Rock from the Highway 1 bluffs. Photo by Finitor on flickr.

Secluded coves and tidepooling on the North Coast.

Porter Caves

Porter Caves.

Where UCSC undergrads go underground.