Discover Watsonville

Watsonville is at the heart of Santa Cruz County, deeply rooted in humble beginnings, an industrious culture, and, most famously, local soil. Know nationally for its rich agricultural industry, this southernmost city in Santa Cruz County goes way beyond neat rows of crops. Here, you’ll find delicious eats, tons of places to play outside, the only airport in the county, and a thriving agricultural community waiting for you to join in. It may not be as flashy as the other big names in the county (we’re looking at you Capitola) but we’re warning you: don’t underestimate Watsonville.

In the Community

Food

We’ll start with all of the good eats, because how can you be expected to do anything on an empty stomach? Begin in the heart of downtown, right on Main Street, and get some authentic Mexican fare at Jalisco Mexican Cuisine, handmade tamales at The Tamale Factory, or artisan pizza at The Slice Project

If you’re looking for another local hotspot, you’ll have to check out The Hangar. This new-ish complex is at the Watsonville Airport in a converted (you guessed it) airline hangar. Sidle up to The Beer Mule for local brews, house-made food, and tons of outdoor games. The Hangar also has Zameen, Mr.Z’s Crepes & Teas, and  

For something that’s more OG, you’ll have to go to Freedom Meat Lockers or Corralitos Market & Sausage Co. We have to warn you though: locals will absolutely ask you which of these competing butchers has your loyalty. It’s a tough choice because both have house-stuffed sausages and the freshest cuts of meat this side of the Mississippi (basically). 

You can’t have all of that food and not need something to wash it down, right? You could head back to the Beer Mule, but you could also hit up The Slough Brewing Collective or Corralitos Brewing. Which reminds us – the Corralitos Wine Trail is a must. You won’t find anything near pretentious on this gorgeous, countryside booze cruise. You will find craft wine in some of the prettiest locations in the entire county. A few of the Strock Office favorites include Alfaro Winery, Lester Estate Wines, and Nicholson Vineyards. You could easily sip away a sunny afternoon on this trail. 

Family

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing solo afternoon or want to bring the whole fam along, Watsonville gives you a lot to choose from. 

If you grew up locally, chances are you’ve been to Watsonville on a field trip to go berry picking. In a town that boasts national heavyweights like Driscoll’s and Cal Giant, it’s no wonder that everyone wants in on the action; there’s even an annual Strawberry Festival! Head over to Gizdich Ranch to pick some berries, or connect with Open Farm Tours to see which locally owned ranches are open to the public on a given weekend. 

You could also fish at Pinto Lake, tour the historic Castro Adobe, or mark your calendar for the fall Santa Cruz County Fair (which features hog races, prize-winning chickens, and authentic funnel cake). Watsonville also has plenty of beaches where you can enjoy the coastline: Sunset Beach, La Selva, and Manresa are all local favorites. If you’d rather see a birds’ eye view of the coastline, Specialized Helicopters at Watsonville Airport gives passengers the aerial view of the entire Monterey Bay. 

Whether you’re a large family or a couple on the go, Watsonville has every housing option available. In town, you’ll find historic charmers running the gamut of styles, from Victorian to California Bungalow. You’ll also find beautiful homes that feature slough views, as well as trendy townhomes that are within walking distance to The Hangar. 

Not enough space? Say no more. The Corralitos hills offer homes on acreage, folded into the beautiful countryside. Or, you could live right on the sand at Pajaro Dunes or the community of La Selva Beach. 

Fun

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing solo afternoon or want to bring the whole fam along, Watsonville gives you a lot to choose from. 

If you grew up locally, chances are you’ve been to Watsonville on a field trip to go berry picking. In a town that boasts national heavyweights like Driscoll’s and Cal Giant, it’s no wonder that everyone wants in on the action; there’s even an annual Strawberry Festival! Head over to Gizdich Ranch to pick some berries, or connect with Open Farm Tours to see which locally owned ranches are open to the public on a given weekend. 

You could also fish at Pinto Lake, tour the historic Castro Adobe, or mark your calendar for the fall Santa Cruz County Fair (which features hog races, prize-winning chickens, and authentic funnel cake). Watsonville also has plenty of beaches where you can enjoy the coastline: Sunset Beach, La Selva, and Manresa are all local favorites. If you’d rather see a birds’ eye view of the coastline, Specialized Helicopters at Watsonville Airport gives passengers the aerial view of the entire Monterey Bay. 

Whether you’re a large family or a couple on the go, Watsonville has every housing option available. In town, you’ll find historic charmers running the gamut of styles, from Victorian to California Bungalow. You’ll also find beautiful homes that feature slough views, as well as trendy townhomes that are within walking distance to The Hangar. 

Not enough space? Say no more. The Corralitos hills offer homes on acreage, folded into the beautiful countryside. Or, you could live right on the sand at Pajaro Dunes or the community of La Selva Beach. 

Fitness

You may not realize it at first, but Watsonville is actually built on an 800-acre wetland that’s teeming with wildlife. Over seven miles of trails lace through town before running along the slough shores. Hop on your bike, go for a run, or just walk along the trails as you watch for endangered Red-Legged Frogs or Golden Eagles that call this watershed home (there are 23 threatened species). 

For more activity, you can head over to Ramsay Park to shred on the Pump Track, join a game of tennis, or play at Soccer Central Indoor Sports. There’s also a cycling studio over at The Hangar called Ritual Ride Studio if you’re really looking to break a sweat. Lastly, the Byrne-Milliron Forest hiking trail up in the Corralitos hills is a hidden gem that gives you sweeping views of Monterey Bay.

We warned you: don’t underestimate the city of Watsonville. As beautiful as it is diverse, there’s something for everyone here. 

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