Soquel, California

The Soquel Demonstration State Forest is a must-visit for the best trails and outdoor activities in Soquel, California. The hiking trail is moderately difficult, winding through towering redwood trees and offering scenic views of the surrounding forest. Along the way, you may spot unique rock formations and the clear, bubbling Soquel Creek. This trail is also popular for mountain biking. In the vicinity, Capitola Beach offers a different kind of outdoor adventure with opportunities for surfing, paddleboarding, and fishing. The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park is another top spot nearby, with over 30 miles of trails through redwood groves and along Aptos Creek. These outdoor attractions in and near Soquel provide a variety of scenic, engaging activities for all.

Top Spots in and near Soquel

  • Capitola, California

    New Brighton Beach Trail

    0.85 mi / 112 ft gain
    New Brighton Beach Trail is an out-and-back trail that takes you past scenic surroundings located near Aptos, California.
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  • Capitola, California

    Camp at New Brighton Campground

    / 0 ft gain
    This Capitola camping spot is the place to be if you're looking to do a variety of activities in a variety of landscapes. You can swim, fish, or explore the nearby forest of Monterey Pine and coastal Oak. In the evening, walk into Capitola for live music and great fish tacos.  The S.S. Palo Alto,...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Surf the Hook

    4.0
    The hook is a surf spot found on the east side of Santa Cruz, located along East Cliff drive.  If you keep driving past Pleasure Point, you'll get to it.  It's a right hand point break that is usually smaller in size than Pleasure Point.  It's a very crowded spot due to the easy access parking lo...
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  • Soquel, California

    Land of Medicine Buddha Loop

    4.5
    5.74 mi / 915 ft gain
    Near the retreat, there is a short trail called "Eight Verses Pilgrimage Trail" providing people with the opportunity to meditate on thought transformation in a peaceful and picturesque outdoor setting. From there, a beautiful 6 mile loop will take you up to the top of the ridge and then back aro...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Surf Pleasure Point

    4.0
    Pleasure Point is located on the east side of Santa Cruz, California. It is a right hand point break that breaks year round. It is a popular surf spot for many people that live in the San Francisco Bay Area.  There are 3 different peaks that break at Pleasure Point. Sewers, which is the furthest ...
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  • Aptos, California

    Hike to Nisene Marks' Maple Falls

    4.6
    8.5 mi / 900 ft gain
    As you enter the park, you'll need to pay $8 for parking via a self-pay envelope, so it's recommended that you bring exact change. At the park booth, be sure to grab a map. The hike can be a little tricky with no cell service and limited trail signage. Once you've grabbed your map, keep driving p...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    A Beach Bonfire in Santa Cruz at Twin Lakes SB

    This one-mile stretch of beach is the perfect option for those looking for a peaceful Santa Cruz experience, but without the crowds. The beach features soft sand, playful surf, an awesome view of Walton Lighthouse, and a handful of fire pits to choose from. It's a great spot to spend the entire d...
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  • Aptos, California

    Bridge Creek Trail to Maple Falls

    7.99 mi / 1089 ft gain
    Bridge Creek Trail to Maple Falls is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a waterfall located near Aptos, California.
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Bonfire at Seabright State Beach

    5.0
    This is a wide, beautiful beach that's an amazing spot to spend the day and enjoy a bonfire at night. Seabright is probably the most popular spot in Santa Cruz for a bonfire, due to its convenient proximity to the Beach Boardwalk. But luckily, this beach is tucked in between the San Lorenzo River...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Surf Cowell's Cove

    4.8
    Cowell's Cove is located just south of Santa Cruz’s iconic Steamer Lane. The break is a slow pealing right, and is a very user-friendly wave for beginners. It can get crowded on weekends, especially when it's sunny, but no need to worry, there are a lot people out on foam boards and most are begi...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Beach Day at Lighthouse Field State Beach

    4.0
    This beach is less crowded compared to other beaches in Santa Cruz.  I got there early on a Saturday and found easy street parking.  There was plenty of space to spread out on the soft sand.  Later in the day I saw dolphins several times!  This is close to the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum.  It’s als...
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  • Santa Cruz County, California

    Camp at Henry Cowell Redwoods Campground

    4.8
    / 665 ft gain
    Nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a great weekend option for Bay Area residents. With approximately 30 miles of hiking trails, the incredible Garden of Eden swimming hole, and proximity to Santa Cruz - this campground is not to be missed! On sunny days, view...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Hike the Rincon Fire Trail

    5.0
    1 mi / 300 ft gain
    The Rincon Fire Trail Starts at a small dirt parking lot next to CA-9 and traverses down the mountain to the San Lorenzo River Connecting with the Pipeline Trail. The trail can be a simple one of a mile out and back or up to 5 miles depending on your preference. The elevation will change by about...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Photograph the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

    5.0
    No matter the time you'll decide to visit the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, you'll have thousands of interesting plants and birds to see and watch. The Arboretum is located on the west side of UCSC campus, between the main campus entrance and the west entrance. Parking is 5$ for adults and 2$ for chil...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Natural Bridges State Beach

    4.3
    Natural Bridges State Beach is a wonderful place to photograph located in Santa Cruz off of West Cliff Drive. This is a great place to practice long exposure photography to capture awesome water movement as it passes through the "Natural Bridge" formation. The best time to shoot this spot is at ...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Surf at Natural Bridges State Beach

    4.5
    Natural Bridges is off of West Cliff Drive to the north of popular Santa Cruz break, Steamer Lane. The break is a right point break, which breaks on a rocky shelf and reef. The break is best during sizable swells (NW, SW, and West) and a low tide. Be sure to check the wind, this break gets blown ...
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Camping and Lodging in Soquel

Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA Holiday
La Selva Beach, California

Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA Holiday

Moss Landing KOA Express
Moss Landing, California

Moss Landing KOA Express

Salinas / Monterey KOA
Prunedale, California

Salinas / Monterey KOA

Santa Cruz North / Costanoa KOA
Pescadero, California

Santa Cruz North / Costanoa KOA

Asilomar Hotel and Conference Grounds
Pacific Grove, California

Asilomar Hotel and Conference Grounds

From $176 / night

Guides, Insights and Stories from Soquel

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10 Great Places To See Wildlife Near Santa Cruz

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4 Ways to Stay in Santa Cruz, California

4 Ways to Stay in Santa Cruz, California

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3 Ways to Fuel Your Days in Santa Cruz, California

3 Ways to Fuel Your Days in Santa Cruz, California

Sara Sheehy

The Perfect Weekend Adventure at Big Basin State Park

The Perfect Weekend Adventure at Big Basin State Park

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