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!

Year-Round Events

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.

Seasonal Events

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.

2024 Summer Events

June 8 & 9, 2024 – 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 16, 2024 — 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.

June 23, 2024 – 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.  Racing fans, sponsors and drivers enjoyed the return of IndyCar to Monterey.”

July 4, 2024 — 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 6, 2024 – Music Series #2

Hosted by the Pajaro Dunes Association; Second Annual Live Music Event at the Sandpiper Center at 1pm. This event is open to Pajaro Dunes homeowners, their guests and folks staying at Pajaro Dunes Resort. Food & Drinks will be available for purchase. Music fans of all ages are welcome.

July 13 – 27, 2024 — 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 18 – 21, 2024 — 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 28 – August 11, 2024 — 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 28, 2024 — 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 31, 2024 – Music Series #3

Hosted by the Pajaro Dunes Association; Second Annual Live Music Event at the Sandpiper Center at 1pm featuring Alex Lucero.This event is open to Pajaro Dunes homeowners, their guests and folks staying at Pajaro Dunes Resort. Food & Drinks will be available for purchase. Music fans of all ages are welcome.

August 31, 2024 – Sandcastle & Sculpture Contest

Hosted by the Pajaro Dunes Association; Third Annual Sandcastle & Sculpture Contest. Open to all staying at Pajaro Dunes South. Prizes for the top 3 Builders from Best in Show to the People’s Choice Award. Building starts on the beach between Cypress 1 and Pelican Point Building A, from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. All participants must register at the South Gatehouse. Awards will be presented at 5:00 p.m. at the Recreation Center on the tennis courts at Sandpiper Lane.

August 2 – 4, 2024 — 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 3, 2024 – 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 3rd 11:30AM-3:30PM.

August 18, 2024— 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.

2024 Fall Events

August 29 – September 2, 2024 — 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 11 – 15, 2024 — 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 14 & 15, 2024— 41st 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 21, 2024 – Endless Summer BBQ

Hosted by the Pajaro Dunes Association. Located on the Deck at Sandpiper Center starting at 1:00 p.m. Everyone at Pajaro Dunes is Welcome. We will provide hamburgers, hotdogs, and sodas.  It would be great if folks would bring sides to share.  You may also bring your own alcoholic beverages. RSVPs appreciated

September 27 – 29, 2024 – 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.

September 27 – 29, 2024 –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 26, 2024 — 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.

2024 Winter Events

January TBA, 2025— 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

January 29 – February 2, 2025 — AT&T Pro-Am Golf Tournament

Location: Pebble Beach, California on 2 of the Monterey Peninsula’s premier golf courses: Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course.

February 22 & 23, 2025 — 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.

2025 Spring Events

April 10 – 13, 2025 — Annual Monterey Wine Festival

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.

April 19 & 20, 2025 — 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 11, 2025— 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 TBA, 2025— 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 25 & 26, 2025  — 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!”


  • Premium = Modernized, updated homes ($$$)

  • Standard = Comfortable beach homes with full provisions ($$)

  • Economy = Affordable ”beach on a budget” older homes ($)