Aptos is a short drive from Santa Cruz and a great spot to stop in and visit for a day trip when you’re driving down the PCH. The area is calm and serene, a lot different than Santa Cruz or Monterey, but perfect for those who aren’t looking for a wild spot to spend their time off.
The two hotels that town offers sit right on the beach, and there are numerous delicious restaurants anyone can enjoy.
If you’re planning to visit soon, then you’re in the right place to learn about all the fun things to do in Aptos, read on!
Always remember to double-check dates, opening times, and weather conditions before traveling.
Top Things to Do in Aptos
Rio Del Mar State Beach
- Address: Beach Drive, Aptos, CA
Paying a visit to the Rio Del Mar State Beach is simply perfect for the entire family. This more extensive beach is dog-friendly and perfect for fishing, surfing, and bird watching.
If you hit the beach at the right time of the season, you might also get a glance at whales migrating into the colder waters in CA. Lifeguards are also on duty during the summertime, and it is the perfect spot to spend the day.
Hidden Bear County Park
- Address: 660 Cliff Dr, Aptos, CA
Take the entire family over to Hidden Bear County Park to enjoy the scenery and your day. The park is located right off the beach and is great for walking your dog, picnicking with the kids, and just letting some energy out in the sunshine.
The park offers a playground, BBQs, access to the beach, and even vista points for phenomenal photos.
- Address: Sumner Ave, Aptos, CA
Sumner Beach, also known as Beer Can Beach, is a big sandy beach that offers beach access via stairs and near a hiking trail for those who love exploring and hiking.
Dogs are allowed on the beach, and the beach is well known for surfing, so you can sit down and enjoy the view.
Forest of Nisene Marks State Park
- Address: Aptos Creek Rd, Aptos, CA
This redwood forest is a must-stop for Aptos. There are over 30-miles of hiking trails offer steep inclines and beautiful slopes. Heading into this state park is perfect for escaping the loudness of your day and enjoying some fresh air.
Seacliff State Beach
- Address: State Park Dr., Aptos, CA
If none of the above fits you, and you’re still wondering what to do in Aptos, then check Seacliff State Beach. Established back in 1933, Seacliff State Beach is a massive staple in Aptos. You can easily stroll onto Seacliff Beach, which is great for swimming, picnicking, and fishing.
A pier extends out into the ocean, which is excellent if you enjoy fishing. This beach is one of the most popular ones in Aptos, so expect crowds.
SS Palo Alto
- Address: 201 State Beach Dr., Aptos, CA
Want more things to do in Aptos? Well, check this out! At the end of the pier at Seacliff Beach is the SS Palo Alto. This WWI ship is closed to the public, but you can still head out and view the wreckage from the pier.
The SS Palo Alto is a well-known concrete ship on the West Coast and was initially built as an oil tanker until it was intentionally grounded in 1929.
Aptos History Museum
- Address: 7605 Old Dominion Ct #B, Aptos, CA
Although Aptos is a smaller town, it is still filled with history and culture you can learn about. This museum host local artifacts, photographs, and exhibits to show what life was like in Aptos.
The museum covered events from 7000 BC when Native Americans lived in Santa Cruz County. Among the best places to see in Aptos, this museum is family-friendly and a great place to stop in for a little fun. Learn more in their official website.
Pleasant Valley Vineyards
- Address: 600 Pleasant Valley Rd, Aptos, CA
If you’re looking for a good vineyard, head into Pleasant Valley Vineyards and enjoy one of the many varietals they produce in the unique Monterey Bay climate. Their signature wine is the Estate Dylan David Pinot Noir, which locals love and enjoy as mich as visitors do!
Head to their website to discover all their labels or to get in touch for a visit.
- Address: 8042 Soquel Dr, Aptos, CA
A great place to hang out downtown Aptos CA is this quaint café. Prior to being Café Sparrow, their home was an old Post Office and general store for Aptos.
This café, which still has the rustic Post Office feel, offers delicious food. They are open seven days a week and have a brunch menu on Sunday. They have unique dishes like chicken with brie, French profiteroles or crème caramel.
Severino’s Bar and Grill
- Address: 7500 Old Dominion Ct, Aptos, CA
Honestly, Severino’s has it all. Koi pond, cascading waterfalls, and an incredible menu, you can’t go wrong stepping into this awesome bar and grill. They have award-winning clam chowder, a full bar, and an incredible drink menu.
They have classic dishes like tempura prawn tacos or calamari steak. Some evenings the bar and grill even offer live music for their guest to enjoy.
- Address: 2800 Pleasant Valley Rd, Aptos, CA
Sitting in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this fabulous vineyard is perfect for stopping into, grabbing a glass of wine, and enjoying the view. Trust us, a visit to Nicholson Vineyards can prove a one of the top things to do near Aptos CA.
Their tasting room is open Saturday and Sunday, where you can enjoy a flight of their favorite wines either indoors or under a giant oak tree on their outdoor patio. If you have a group and want a little more fun, book a private tasting and tour instead.
Aptos is the perfect place to relax, enjoy the beach, and not have to worry about running around and hitting every piece of town. This smaller town is perfect for those who want a leisurely experience and enjoy their vacation a little more.