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Contact: Christina Glynn, Communications Director/Film Commissioner

February 19, 2003

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA—On a budget? Need a fall getaway that won’t break the piggy bank? Look no further than Santa Cruz County. From wine tasting to touring eclectic gardens, many of Santa Cruz County’s attractions and activities won’t even cost you your spare change. Listed below are the top 10 free things to do and see in Santa Cruz County.

1. Sample Fine Wine: Dozens of wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains offer free wine tasting. Chart your next wine tasting adventure with a map and guide from the Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association or the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council.

2. Tour the Historic and Eclectic: A variety of free walking tours bring to life the history of Capitola, the logging days of Boulder Creek, the Victorian homes of Watsonville, the outdoor art of Santa Cruz and more. Tour brochures are available at the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council.

3. Explore Magical Gardens: Wander through bamboo gardens, smell the scents of rare roses, and see exotic plants from around the world. Bamboo Giant Nursery, Roses of Yesterday and Today, UCSC Arboretum, and many other gardens are free to explore.

4. Discover Museums: Learn about Santa Cruz surfing legends, the farming methods of a bygone era, the old logging days and more at admission-free museums such as the Surfing Museum, Agricultural History Project, San Lorenzo Valley Historical Museum, Capitola Museum and the Aptos Museum.

5. Savor Fine Art: Peruse galleries exhibiting rare glass paperweights, masks of Carnaval, electronic interactive art, and the work of local printmakers and watercolor painters. L.H. Selman Glass Gallery, Pajaro Valley Arts Council, Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery, Santa Cruz Arts League, and Santa Cruz Mountain Arts Center are just some of the galleries offering a glimpse into Santa Cruz County’s visual arts world.

6. People Watch and Window Shop: Stroll the vibrant streets of Downtown Santa Cruz. The pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined streets are populated with unique shops, exquisite art galleries, outdoor bistros, public art and an eclectic cadre of sidewalk musicians.

7. Hike Amid Towering Redwoods: A number of Santa Cruz County parks with great hiking trails are admission-free, including Pogonip, DeLaveaga Park, Quail Hollow Ranch and Fall Creek State Park. Other state parks only charge a $3 to $5 admission fee per vehicle.

8. Walk Scenic West Cliff: On foot, by blade or by bike, head north from the Santa Cruz Wharf following the scenic two-and-a-half mile path paralleling West Cliff Drive. Along the way, check out the Surfer Statue, Surfing Museum, and the big wave riders at the world-famous Steamer Lane.

9. Enjoy the Beach: With 29 miles of coastline, finding an admission-free beach for playing in the surf or lazing away on the sand is easy. Favorites include Main Beach, Capitola Beach, Rio Del Mar Beach, Twin Lakes Beach and Seabright Beach.

10. Watch a Free Sea Lion Show: The Santa Cruz Wharf is the gathering place for playful and boisterous sea lions. Stroll to the end of the wharf and watch these lumbering creatures as they suddenly acquire a ballerina’s grace the moment they hit the water.

A private, non-profit corporation, the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council (CVC) exists to enhance tourism and the economy by positioning Santa Cruz County as a visitor, conference and film destination. For more information, contact the CVC at 831-425-1234 or 800-833-3494. Or visit the CVC's web site at


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