Modern transportation amenities ensure quick and easy travel in and through Santa Cruz County. Highway 1 traverses north/south along the California coast through both Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. The highway provides some of the most spectacular vistas in California as well as access to many of the region’s beaches and scenic attractions. In addition, Highways 17 and 9 move traffic northeast from Santa Cruz to ensure convenient travel through Felton, Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek, and Scotts Valley.
Travel to destinations outside the county is equally convenient. The Monterey Peninsula Airport, located in nearby Monterey, is served by several airlines offering connecting service to destinations worldwide. For expanded service, international airports in San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco are all within an hour’s drive. The county’s own Watsonville Municipal Airport is well equipped to handle private aircraft and all general aviation needs.
The Santa Cruz Office of Education maintains 10 local school districts. The office is headed by an elected County Superintendent of Schools. The office and each district are also served by a Board of Education that is elected by the community. Within the public schools, test scores tend to be well above average for each district. Alternative education is also possible through charter schools and a number of private schools–both parochial and independent.
For those launching a degree program or completing their higher education, the region offers several quality choices. On the community college level, Cabrillo College offers campuses in Aptos and Watsonville. Offering 40 undergraduate degree programs, as well as Master’s and doctoral degrees, the University of California at Santa Cruz now serves 11,000 students each year in eight separate colleges. For an even wider selection of academic opportunities, California State University-Monterey Bay, Central Coast College, and the Monterey Peninsula College are all located in adjacent Monterey County.
Quality of Life
Offering the perfect climate for outdoor activities, the sun shines 300 days a year in Santa Cruz County. With miles of beaches and acres of lush parkland, residents can choose from a myriad of outdoor activities and recreational opportunities. From the towering redwood trees of Portola Redwoods State Park and Big Basin Redwoods State Park to the sandy shores of Sunset State Beach and Natural Bridges State Beach, the area is filled with scenic places to hike, bike, picnic, camp, and swim. The sparkling blue Pacific Ocean waters are ideal for surfing, sailing, and whale watching.
Back on shore, the communities of Santa Cruz County are brimming with cozy cafes, charming bistros, bustling boardwalks, art galleries, and unique specialty shops. Nestled in an atmosphere of rich culture and artistry, Santa Cruz serves as home to an impressive list of artists, actors, and musicians.
Those who appreciate the arts will be pleased to discover an entire array of music festivals, art exhibits, stage productions, and symphony performances. At the same time, the county’s inland valleys are dotted with vineyards, farms, ranches, and orchards.
Here, the county’s fertile soil and mild climate combine to produce a delightful variety of fresh vegetables, sun-ripened fruits–and delicious, award-winning wines.
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