By The Sea!
Day trip, Santa Cruz Coast
|There's a $5 admission fee to the UCSC Arboretum just outside the entrance to UC Santa Cruz.|
|Open daily "10 to 4" but we found them open at 9AM. Great place to wander, take photos, picnic.|
|Native, non-native succulents, cactus, bright, scented plants in this area.|
|Some of the cactus are in bloom.|
|Saw 2-3 varieties of brightly colored flowers resembling Sticky Monkeyflowers.|
|Leaving the scented garden, follow paths that weave among some very exotic trees and shrubs.|
|What a sight! These bright colors will take your breath away!|
|Large pom-pom sized flowers with little or no scent.|
|Vivid colors and lots of different varieties.|
|In bloom now but will fade in the days, weeks ahead.|
|Lots of photo opportunities throughout the arboretum.|
|There are benches and shaded picnic tables at various places.|
|There's a handful of exotics with flowers resembling seedpods.|
|The Arboretum is wonderful habitat for birds, insects, butterflies, lizards, and definitely snakes.|
|Lots of exotic flowers are in bloom. Really fun place to take photos.|
|These are just a fraction of the flowers that bloom in the arboretum.|
|Plan to spend at least 1-2 hours exploring the grounds, visiting the Arboretum's gift shop.|
|North of Santa Cruz, this old truck caught our eye - and the sign announcing Jam Tasting.|
|The jam tasting shop is behind a cluster of farm buildings.|
|Lots of jams, jellies, seasonal fruit, coffee, tea, strawberry-lemonade, pies, pastries, chocolate-dipped fruit.|
|Unique payment method ... note the sea shells, bits of driftwood in cash drawer.|
|Impressive display honoring Caesar Chavez, farm workers organizer and founder of the UFW.|
|Brightly colored chairs, picnic tables outside, but what caught our eye was the "pet stairs" beneath the window.|
|Further north, we stopped at Ano Nuevo State Park. This old barn is now a visitor center and gift shop.|
There's a level, wheel-chair accessible loop trail out to the beach and back.
|Wildflowers bloom along the way.|
|We visited these places on a Monday. I imagine it's fairly crowded on weekends, except the Arboretum.
It's one of the coast's best kept secrets.
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