Destination California: Monterey Bay

Destination California

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — As stay-at-home orders are relaxed, people are venturing out again, many in search of recreation.

Hiking, biking, boating and sunning are among the attractions of greater Monterey Bay. 

Kayaking has returned to Moss Landing where there is plenty of room to spread out on Elkhorn Slough where sea otters are known to paddle alongside.

“The Elkhorn Slough is one of the top 10 wildlife destinations in North America so there’s an enormous amount to see and do here,” said Dave Grigsby with Kayak Connection. 

“And we’re able to do things in a manner that makes sense, that’s safe. We’re spreading people out, we’re staggering groups throughout the day,” he explains. 

Further north, in Santa Cruz, also known as Surf City, the beaches have restricted hours to avoid crowding but are open in the mornings and evenings. 

At the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the rides are closed but the arcade and concessions are open. 

Outdoor dining is widely available and in the nearby Santa Cruz mountains, Henry Cowell and other state parks offer miles of hiking in the majestic redwoods. 

Parking may be limited and protocols could change, according to Ranger Gabe McKenna.

“State parks understand it’s really important for people to access our lands just for their wellbeing, for exercise, for whatever it may be,” Ranger McKenna said. “It is tough putting these restrictions on but this is an unprecedented time and we really need to focus on increasing that access to our park lands but doing it responsibly.” 

City and county parks are open minus playgrounds. Golf is back. The downtown Pacific Garden Mall beckons and further south, Capitola by the sea has sun, sand, and expanded shopping. 

It’s probably going to be a while yet before recreation returns as we knew it, but getting in a kayak or hitting the trail is a welcome relief.

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