Destination and Delivery: Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA
Santa Cruz is one of our customers’ favorite places to take their rented Airstreams because not only is it relatively close to our San Jose garage but also because Santa Cruz has some of the best that California has to offer. If you’re looking for a mountains-and-forest kind of vacation then we recommend Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort, but if you’re looking for more of a beach experience with your family then the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA is the place for you. This family friendly KOA is about an hour south of our Airstream garage in San Jose and is located on the northern edge of Monterey Bay. And best of all it’s only 1 mile away from the nearest beach, Manresa State Beach Park, which is a popular destination for surfers (and on the way to the beach there’s even a surf shop where you can rent boards). But if you and your little ones are not quite ready for the rough seas, there’s still plenty to do at the KOA itself!
This KOA, like most KOA’s cater to families with kids. This Santa Cruz location not only has the usual playground, which is quite large, but they also have beach zone and a jumping pillow to ensure your kids expend as much energy as possible during the day. There’s also a mini train, outdoor cinema night, pool and hot tub. Click here to see all the activities this KOA provides for you and your family. This KOA is very pet friendly, and has its own dog wash to clean your pup after a day at the beach.
Each RV site has full hook-ups (water, sewer, electricity, cable) as well as a fire pit, and is well maintained and level. You will have to reverse the Airstream into your spot, but there is plenty of room to maneuver and the standard amount of space between each RV site.
When staying at this KOA, here are some suggestions for places to visit:
Manresa State Beach Park and Sunset State Beach Park: As I mentioned up top, the closest beach is Manresa Beach only a mile away, but if you’re looking for another beach to try during your stay, Sunset State Beach Park is about 4 miles south of this KOA (about a 9 minute drive). Both beach parks have beach hiking trails, but Sunset State Beach Park is larger and also has multiple picnic sites.
Seacliff & New Brighton State Beach Park, Rio del Mar State Beach Park: If the two closest beach above are not enough for your beach loving nature, then 15 minutes north of the KOA there are several more beaches. If you want some fabulous pictures of an old ship ruin, then head to Seacliff beach park to view the SS Palo Alto in all its degraded glory. And if you’re looking to build a beach side campfire, which is generally not allowed on California State Beach Parks, then there’s a small patch at Rio del Mar beach that allows for it.
Capitola: The tiny city of Capitola is located a few minutes north of Seacliff State Beach Park and also has its own city beach. Along the beach there are cute, colorful houses that are a perfect photo-op!
The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park: If you’ve had your fill of the beach and want to spend a day hiking amongst the redwood trees then this state park is also located about 15 minutes north of the KOA. This is quite a large state park with both hiking and biking trails.
Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row: This world famous aquarium is located about 45 minutes south of the KOA, but is worth the visit. There’s enough exhibits to last a full day and the sea otters are my personal favorite. Cannery Row offers a variety of restaurants and entertainment. For those who want a bit of adventure there are several companies that offer kayak rentals so that you can go out and explore Monterey Bay for yourself (and this is the best way to see the otters in their natural environment, though you are warned not to get too close).
Carmel-By-The-Sea and Pebble Beach: Also 45 minutes south of the KOA is Carmel-by-the-Sea, a charming seaside town filled with cute boutiques and great restaurants. There are so many good places for lunch there that I like to try a new place every time we go. There’s also the Carmel Mission if you’re looking for to visit a piece of California history. Pebble beach and the 17-mile drive are also popular activities in the area.
So if you’re looking for a family-friendly RV resort, located to near some of the most beautiful beaches in California, then the Santa Cruz/Monterey KOA is where you want to go!