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Pocket Guide: Watsonville

Situated between Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz in California's Pajaro Valley, Watsonville is a coastal farm town that's famous for growing strawberries and apples. Aside from agriculture, the town also offers great beaches and wetlands, as well as warm all year-round temperatures.

Why Choose a Hotel in Watsonville?

A 30-minute drive from Monterey and less than an hour from the Big Sur coastline, Watsonville is a great place to base yourself while exploring California's rugged central coast. And if you're on a budget, the town has plenty of pocket-friendly inns and motels in which to stay.

Things to See and Do in Watsonville

Watsonville's Sunset State Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand that's sprinkled with pine trees and backed by dunes. If you're seeking tranquillity you'll find that Sunset is much quieter than other beaches in the area. Watch dolphins and sea otters playing in the surf, and keep your eyes peeled for ‘sand dollars’, an unusual species of sea urchin.

Downtown Watsonville merits exploration for its historic buildings designed by the famous Victorian architect William Weeks, with many of the buildings along Main Street dating back to the 1880s and 1900s. While strolling around downtown, look out for the city's colourful apple crate murals, exact replicas of labels used in the town in the early 1900s.

Discover Watsonville’s Wetland Wildlife

Hike or cycle along the six miles of paved trails that stretch across the town's 800-acre freshwater wetland. Free to use and open every day of the year, the Watsonville Wetlands are perfect for bird-watching, with more than 200 species of to be seen here. You can also expect to see a diverse range of wildlife, including bobcats, golden eagles, tree frogs and muskrats.

Festivals in Watsonville

The town celebrates its most famous crop every August at the Watsonville Strawberry. Expect strawberry-flavoured everything, from beer to ice-cream. There are also carnival rides, live music and a pie-eating competition.

An air show takes place annually at Watsonville Municipal Airport, bringing some impressive antique aircraft to the tarmac. The airport also offers helicopter tours of the Watsonville area.