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aptos

Aptos is a small, unincorporated town just south of Santa Cruz, but it packs a lot into the six square miles it takes up. Some of the highlights include the only community college in the area, Cabrillo College, the Seascape Resort, a large state park, a historic World War 1 ship, multiple beaches to choose from, and a small “village” that winds through town at the end of Soquel Drive.

Though the area has been developed recently, the coziness of Aptos Village still remains, along with many of its original rustic charms, reminding you that you’re in a small coastal town that’s surrounded by trees. The houses in the area are uniquely styled, often with multiple levels, vaulted ceilings and wooden decks built around them to take advantage of the peaceful, forested outdoor views.


 

 

APTOS ATTRACTIONS

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SS Palo alto (the cement ship)

One of the oddly iconic parts of Aptos is the presence of the old cement ship at the end of the pier at Seacliff State Beach. Formally known as the S.S. Palo Alto, the cement ship was brought to Aptos after it was built for use in World War 1, but never used. After a brief stay in Oakland, the S.S. Palo Alto has called Aptos home since 1929. Initially, the cement ship was used as an entertainment venue, but that was a short-lived endeavor and the deteriorating ship is now owned by the state of California and mainly just a sightseeing destination.

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cabrillo college

Cabrillo College in Aptos is the only community college in Santa Cruz County and offers a number of programs to locals and commuters who wish to further their education. The college offers a wide variety of programs leading to an associate’s degree, as well as certifications and skills certificates across a number of different academic fields. In addition to having a beautiful campus and a great teacher to student ratio, Cabrillo also sends more transfer students to UC Santa Cruz than any other college.

APTOS BEACHES

Seacliff State Beach, Aptos

seacliff state beach

Home to the cement ship, Seacliff State Beach offers a long stretch of sunny beach perfect for strolling. It also offers an RV campground, shaded picnic areas, small pier, and a visitor center.

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rio del mar State beach

South of Seacliff State Beach you’ll find Rio Del Mar State Beach, another sunny slice of sandy heaven. Rio Del Mar State Beach is dog friendly, has public restrooms and showers and has a neighborhood market and eateries nearby.

 

 

APTOS RECREATION

Nisene Marks State Park

the forest of nisene marks state park

A California State Park with its entrance tucked away behind Aptos Village, Nisene Marks has over 40 miles of hiking trails among the 10,000 acre space. There’s also ample opportunity for mountain biking, but riders are restricted to mostly fire roads. Barbecue pits and picnic tables can be found in different areas of the park. There is also a small campground available to backpackers. If you enjoy a good outdoor adventure, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to hike than among the redwood trees of Nisene Marks.

Polo+Grounds+Aptos

polo grounds park

What was once a polo field is now a large county park in Aptos. The Polo Grounds County Park is home to 3 baseball diamonds, 3 soccer fields, a dog park, BMX jump park, picnic areas, and walking paths.

APTOS SCHOOLS

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Public:

Rio Del Mar Elementary - K-6th grade

Valencia Elementary School K-6th grade

Mar Vista Elementary K-6th grade

Aptos Junior High School 7th-8th grade

Aptos High School 9th-12th grade

Cabrillo College (community college)

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Private:

Santa Cruz Montessori Preschool-8th grade (private)

Delta Charter School 9th-12th grade (charter school)

To view other schools in Santa Cruz County go here.