Scenario: I can’t stand cigarette butts and K is not allowed to play where they are syringes littered about. Given these two requirements a trip to Santa Cruz beach was out of the question. In an effort to find a beautiful, clean beach I headed further south and ended up at Manresa State Beach in Aptos.
You never heard of Manresa State Beach? You’re in good company because neither had I. Only Santa Cruz locals have the insight on this hidden jewel in Aptos, California. Never heard of Aptos? That’s okay, it’s a small town just outside of Santa Cruz.
I was pleasantly surprised that on a Saturday afternoon, the beach was barely inhabited. There were a handful of people enjoying the sand and surf, making Manresa state beach perfect for family fun and relaxing.
The parking lot was almost empty and manned by a guard shack. (I’m unsure of whether or not they charge for parking in the lot. The guard happened to be absent from his post when we drove in, so he might be there to collect parking fees. Not sure.) The beach is clean. (I only noticed one cigarette butt and no syringes.) There are bathroom facilities which are fairly clean for public bathrooms. The beach is manned by a lifeguard in case you get swept away. There are overly-expensive homes lining the beach hillside, but they don’t encroach upon or spoil the beach. For property lovers, these homes only enhance the scenery.
Temperate was in the high-60s, which doesn’t seem hot enough for a beach day but it was perfect. Yes, the water was cold but the sand was nice and warm. My son had fun building sand castles and running in and out of the cold surf.
What sucks is that Aptos is a small-town, not a tourist town so there is no industry built around the beach. That’s actually a good thing, at least until you get hungry and find that there is nowhere to eat. So bring plenty of snacks and beverages to keep you satiated while at the beach. When you are ready for a real meal, head over to Aquarius in Santa Cruz for some fish and chips or clam chowder.
I give Manresa State Beach a 10 out of 10. It is one of the best Santa Cruz beaches. More on Manresa.