There’s always something exciting happening in the Monterey Bay Area. Whether you are looking for live music or the latest in gourmet cuisine, you can find it within a short drive of Pajaro Dunes Resort!
Marine Mammal Research Tour — Tours most days each week
Location: Seymour Marine Discovery Center, End of Delaware Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA (831) 459-3800. Tuesday – Sunday, 10 A.M. – 4 P.M. Learn about the work of Scientists and their studies of dolphins, sea lions, elephant seals and harbor seals.
UCSC Arboretum —The UC Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic Garden is open daily from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Location: UCSC, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA (831) 502-2998. Tour the Arboretum’s world-class collections with a knowledgeable guide to see what is blooming.
Downtown Santa Cruz Antique Street Fair — 2nd Sunday of each Month
Location: Lincoln Street between Pacific and Cedar, Santa Cruz, CA (831) 476-6940. 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. (weather permitting) Vendors offer an eclectic blend of antiques and unique items.
Docent led Tour of Elkhorn Slough — Saturdays & Sundays
The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is 1700 acres and located at the east end of the Slough, inland from Moss Landing. The Reserve has 5 miles of trails that meander through oak woodlands, wetlands, and meadows.
Tours will be offered first-come, first-serve on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 A.M. and 11 A.M. with limited capacity (one household unit or mixed groups of up to 5 people). Find out more…
The Early Bird Tour and Mindfulness Tour occur once a month and require you to RSVP. Space is limited.
Locations: Elkhorn Slough, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville, CA (831) 728-2822. Saturdays and Sundays 10 A.M. & 11 A.M. Meet at the reserve and then learn about the unique area on a guided tour. Open Wednesday thru Sunday, 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Roaring Camp Railroads— 5401 Graham Hill Road Felton, CA 831-335-4484.
Redwood Forest Steam Train — Departing Daily!
Santa Cruz Beach Train — Departing Weekends! Ride a steam train through Northern California’s redwood rain forest at its dramatic best, and learn fascinating information about the ecology and seasonal changes of this unique environment. Departing from the Santa Cruz Mountains, travel through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, down the scenic San Lorenzo River Gorge, across a 1909 steel truss bridge and through an 1875 tunnel before arriving at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
Santa Cruz Winegrowers Passport Program
Various wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains (831) 479-WINE (9463). A special opportunity to visit wineries that are not open to the public at other times. Meet the winemakers. 11 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Mountain Winery Concerts — June through October
Location: In the hills overlooking vineyards and the city of Saratoga, CA.
Name artists performing all summer.
Guided Elephant Seal Walks — December Through March
Location: Ano Nuevo State Reserve, Highway 1, Pescadero, CA 800-444-4445. Winter is the prime season to view thousands of elephant seals, including pups, mothers and giant bulls. Ranger-led tours last 2.5 hours, covering 3 miles. Reservations required.
2023 Spring Events
April 8 & 9, 2023 — Eggstraordinary Egg Hunt
Roaring Camp Railroads Felton, CA (831) 335-4484. Kids take the steam train to Bear Mountain to hunt for thousands of Chocolate candy eggs hidden by the Easter Bunny in a redwood forest and win prizes.
May 14, 2023— Mother’s Day Brunch
Treat Mom to something memorable on her special day with a delectable Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet accompanied with live music. After a lovely brunch, relax with a train ride through the towering redwoods.
Roaring Camp Railroads Felton, CA (831) 335-4484.
May 19 – 21, 2023— Annual Carmel Art Festival
Devendorf Park Carmel, CA (831) 624-2522. Gallery events, lectures, receptions and demonstrations at 43 art galleries and a Plain Air Painting competition. Outdoor art show featuring bronze, glass, stone, marbles and acrylic sculpture.
May 27 & 28, 2023 — Annual SCLU Longboard Invitational
Steamers Lane 700 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. “The best longboard contest in the US. Longboarders from across the state take over Steamer Lane each Memorial Day weekend, as nearly 200 contestants compete in the longest-running longboard surf contest on the West Coast!”
2023 Summer Events
June 3 & 4, 2023 — Annual Monterey Wine Festival
Know as “America’s original Wine Festival” the Monterey Wine & Fine Living Festival has continued to grow since 1976. More than just a showcase for great wine, the festival is a major educations forum for wine connoisseurs as well as members of the restaurant and food service industry.
June 10 & 11, 2023 – Castroville Artichoke Festival
Castroville, CA (831) 633-2465. Sample the many unique flavors of the artichoke in an atmosphere of pleasure, tasteful treats, musical entertainment, arts and crafts. Enter the AGRO-Art competition, too!
June 18, 2023 — Father’s Day Brew Train
Roaring Camp Railroads Felton, CA (831) 335-4484. A lucky dad rides from Bear Mountain in the cab of each steam locomotive. Reservations recommended. 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.
July 4, 2023 — Aptos 4th of July Parade
Soquel Drive & State Park Drive Aptos, CA (831) 688-1467. “World’s Shortest Parade”. Pancake breakfast before the parade. Party in the park afterwards with music. 7:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M.
July 15 -29, 2023 — Carmel Bach Festival
Carmel, CA (831) 624-1521. America’s preeminent festival of Baroque music will celebrate its 86th season with 100 musicians from around the world, performing in venues including Sunset Center, Carmel Mission Basilica and the Church in the Forest, Pebble Beach, and All Saints Church.
July 20 – 23, 2023 — California Salinas Rodeo
1034 North Main Street Salinas, CA 93902 (800)-771-8807 or (831) 775-3100. The California Rodeo Salinas promises edge-of-your-seat thrills for the entire family. Top pro competition in steer wrestling, bull riding, calf roping, are back bronco riding, and barrel racing. Enjoy parades, night shows and great food booths.
July 30 – August 13, 2023 — Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music
Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church Street, Santa Cruz, CA (831) 420-5260 (Box Office). Hailed as the most distinguished ongoing festivals of New Music in the United States.
July 30, 2023 — Moss Landing Annual Antique Street Fair
Downtown Moss Landing, CA (831) 633-4501 A community know for its many antique stores show their wares in the stores and on the streets. Always held the last Sunday of July starting at 7:30 am, this antique buying event is one of the most eagerly anticipated outdoor markets in California.
August 5 – 7, 2023 — Strawberry Festival
Downtown, Watsonville, CA (831) 768-3240. Ripe strawberries take center stage at the weekend celebration featuring strawberry delights, foods, arts & crafts. Enjoy the carnival Friday evening from 5 – 9pm. Weekend festival hours are on Saturday 11am – 8pm & Sunday 11am – 7pm.
August 6, 2023 – Salinas Valley Food and Wine Festival
Experience the Tastes, Sights, and Sounds of the Unique Salinas Valley Food & Wine Culture. We will celebrate the bounty of the Salinas Valley this August when the Salinas Valley Food & Wine Festival returns to Oldtown, Salinas / Salinas City Center. The Food & Wine Festival will take place on Saturday, August 6th, 2022 11:30PM-3:30PM.
August 20, 2023— Pebble Beach Concourse d’ Elegance
Pebble Beach, CA (831) 622-1700. This spectacular event exhibits some of the most unusual prewar and post war marquees along with the latest in concept car designs, all in the beautiful setting of Pebble Beach.
2023 Fall Events
August 31 – September 4, 2023— Monterey County Fair
Monterey County Fairgrounds Monterey, CA (831)372-5863. The County Fair is always fun for all, with livestock exhibitions, a wine-tasting booth, amusement midway and delicious foods, plus great live entertainment.
September 8 – 10, 2023 – WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca – Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Monterey, CA (800) 327-SECA. “The road to the NTT INDYCAR Series Championship makes an important stop at the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. This exciting race will serve as the finale for the 2022 INDYCAR season. A champion will be crowned on the WeatherTech Raceway podium on September 11. Racing fans, sponsors and drivers enjoyed the return of IndyCar to Monterey.”
September 9 & 10, 2023— 40th Annual Capitola Art & Wine Festival
Capitola Village, Capitola, CA, (831) 475-6522. Art, wine, food and music. A magical way to say farewell to summer at the water’s edge. 10 A.M. – 6 P.M. both days.
September 13 – 17, 2023 — Santa Cruz County Fair
County Fairgrounds, 2601 East Lake Avenue; Off Hwy 152 Watsonville, CA (831) 724-5671. Six days of fun and festivities, including a large carnival. Safe, FUN and affordable.
September 22 – 24, 2023 – Monterey Jazz Festival
Monterey Fairgrounds Monterey, CA (831) 394-2652. Every year we ask: how can this longest-running jazz festival in the world get any hotter? And then the line-up of artists comes out, and we say: oh, that’s how. In 2005, look for artists-in-residence Branford Marsalis and John Scofield, headliners like Tony Bennett, Sonny Rollins, the Pat Metheny Trio and Carla Bley Big Band featuring Steve Swallow, plus Lee Ritenour with Dave Grusin, Larry Carlton with Sapphire Blue, the Clifford Brown-Stan Getz All-Stars, and over 500 artists appearing on seven stages.
October 7 & 8, 2023 –California International Air Show
Salinas, CA (831) 754-1983. Prepare to be dazzled by fantastic flying exhibitions by high-flying jets and helicopters, aerobatics, skydiving, and much more.
October 22 2023 — Annual Chili Cook Off
9 A.M. to 10 A.M. — Preparation Period (no heat): 10 A.M. to 1 P.M. Cooking period starts at 1:00 P.M. Public tasting at 4:00 P.M. Winners announced. Location: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
2023 Winter Events
January TBD, 2024— Santa Cruz Fungus Fair
Louden Nelson Center, 301 Center Street, Santa Cruz, CA. Enjoy fabulous mushroom display, delicacies, mouth watering cooking demonstrations, and bring mushroom for identification. 10 AM to 5 PM
February 2 & 3, 2024 — AT&T Pro-Am Golf Tournament
Location: Pebble Beach, California on 3 different golf courses.
February TBD, 2024 — Annual Clam Chowder Cook-Off
Location: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. 10 AM to 4 PM. A Santa Cruz tradition featuring “supper” recipes, wacky chefs, nautical decor, and teams competing for best-tasking Boston or Manhattan Chowders.