Aptos offers both beachside homes just steps from the sand and private redwood retreats that back up to the forest. Most days begin with morning walks in the woods and close with strolls at sunset along the beach with your pup or non-canine companion. Nearly every neighborhood has its own shopping center filled with small, locally-owned businesses, cultivating community and quickly making this small historic town feel like home.
Here’s your guide to experiencing the Aptos lifestyle:
Spend your Saturday mornings stocking up on fresh, organic produce at the Aptos Farmers Market located on the Cabrillo College Campus. Year-round, rain or shine, over 90 vendors bring their freshly harvested crops and specialty food items like handcrafted cheese, raw honey, and handmade pasta to share with the Aptos community. Listen to live music, browse rotating art exhibits, and meet your neighbors, including the farmers who live and grow the food in your market basket a few minutes away.
Catch every sunset at Seacliff State Beach where you can track the S.S. Palo Alto’s slow descent into the Pacific Ocean. The old cement ship is a local landmark with a rich history dating back to World War I that makes for the perfect backdrop as the sun sinks below the horizon. This stretch of picturesque sand connects to neighboring Rio del Mar State Beach to the south and continues all the way to Moss Landing.
The beaches in Aptos are stunning but the acres of forest right in the middle of town are equally beautiful. Wear your hiking boots and bring your backpacking gear or take out the mountain bike to explore nearly 10,000 acres of shady forest trails through Nisene Marks State Park. Panoramic ocean views, waterfalls, and old-growth redwoods make this park a true local gem. Aptos Creek, lined by red alders, runs through the park, criss-crossed by several bridges. Coho salmon and steelhead spawn in the creek and the flowing water attracts a variety of other wildlife.
In the heart of the historic Aptos Village, Aptos Village Park hosts weddings, picnics, and the ‘World’s Shortest Parade’ on the 4th of July. Several neighborhood parks have playgrounds, soccer fields, and ball diamonds to use up a little of your kids’ seemingly endless supply of energy. You can also take the whole family to cheer on the local basketball and football teams and attend a variety of other athletic events at Aptos High School. During the summer 4-18-year-olds will have plenty to do with Cabrillo Summer Youth Programs from photography and culinary camps to science and engineering.
On the weekend, take the family to check out the interpretive exhibit at the Seacliff State Beach Visitor Center before heading down to the sand or take a hike, or mountain bike ride, through Nisene Marks. Rugrats to preteens love exploring Aptos Creek and you can even push a stroller down the redwood-lined fire road. For something a little different, the dancing chickens at the egg vending machine at Glaum Egg Ranch will mesmerize even the fussiest toddler.
With 37 craft beers on tap, the best smoked BBQ in the entire county, and live blues every night of the week, Aptos Street BBQ will quickly become your new neighborhood hangout. There’s also The Hideout with a heated patio and fresh California-style cuisine or you can fill up on tacos at Manuel’s. For special occasions, Sanderlings at the Seascape Beach Resort has breathtaking ocean views and Severino’s Bar & Grill offers indoor and outdoor dining with views of a koi pond and waterfall. Meet friends for drinks and dinner and stay for the live music on Friday and Saturday nights. When you’re ready for that night cap head over to The Parish Publick House and savor your drink over a basket of beer battered onion rings.
In addition to the neighborhood bars and restaurants, Aptos has no shortage of ways to unwind. Spend your Sundays playing the 18-hole course at the Seascape Golf Club. Lift weights, play a game of racquetball, or swim a few laps in the outdoor saltwater pool at the locally-owned Cabrillo Fitness Club. And don’t forget to leave time for some relaxation time after your workout in the steam room, hot tub, and sauna, or bring a book and work on your tan by the pool.