Aptos might be a beach town, but it offers much more than just surf and sun. The surrounding foothills are home to some of the best crops in the state and the perfect place for wine tasting. The town of Aptos and nearby Santa Cruz are filled with delicious restaurants and stylish stores, and they offer exciting activities for adventurous guests with a boardwalk and national parks.

We've rounded up our favorite spots to eat, play and stay in Aptos, so you'll be ready for your next visit. Read on for Patrick James' definitive guide to this getaway.

Aptos California Coast


Seascape Beach Resort
The famous Seascape Beach Resort overlooks the Monterey Bay and features all suite-style lodging. Each room includes a convenient kitchen and a fireplace to keep you cozy on those cooler beach nights. Whether you're there for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, the beach fire-to-go is a great option for enjoying s'mores (without having to do any of the work) on the resort's private beach.

Monarch Cove Inn
Monarch Cove Inn is a historical landmark in the neighboring town of Capitola. In 1895, it was originally developed by two English families as a private retreat. Since then, Monarch Cove has had several celebrities and athletes stay with them. The hotel is also a sanctuary for monarch butterflies migrating during the months of October through February (hence the name).


Aptos St. BBQ
Stop by for a bite of the best bbq in Aptos at the family-run Aptos St. BBQ. This spot offers live blues music daily, perfect for setting the tone for your plate of tri-tip or ribs. You might just think you're in Kansas City or Memphis by the time you get the check.

Housed in a building that's been in chef Cori Goudge-Ayer's family for decades, Persephone is a bustling fine dining restaurant that shows off her culinary prowess. Her entire family is involved in the restaurant, making sure to give customers the best dining experience possible, and serving some of the area's best food and wine.


For him: Patrick James
Spend a chilly fall day shopping at our centrally located Aptos location. We always carry timeless and of-the-moment men's fashion, offered with a hands-on approach to service.

For her: Cotton + Rye
Located near Pleasure Point, Cotton + Rye is a boutique that features a bohemian chic vibe – perfect for the laid back vibe of the Central Coast.

Cliffs on coast of Aptos California


Seacliff State Beach
This beach is the perfect place to enjoy a warm beach day. While you're lounging, keep your eye out for the famous SS Palo Alto, a concrete ship that has been lying underwater since World War I.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is an amusement park that is sure to keep the whole family entertained. The venue's summer concerts can't be missed and the classic roller coasters are fun for all ages.

Nicholson Vineyard


Nicholson Vineyard
As a ninth-generation California family, the Nicholsons have deep roots in the foothills of Santa Cruz. Escape to their vineyard in Pleasant Valley for a perfectly tranquil afternoon of sipping on delicious wine.Photo credit to Nicholson Vineyard.

Forest Of Nisene Marks
Located just outside of Aptos, the Forest of Nisene Marks is the ideal spot to get some exercise while taking in nature. With over 10,000 acres and 40 different hikes, this park is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of a city.

Aptos Farmers Market at Cabrillo College
Voted America's favorite farmers market in California, the Aptos Farmers Market offers a large selection of the best produce in the state. Pick up California's freshest offerings while visiting with the farmers who made it possible on Saturday mornings.