Our last full day in Santa Cruz, and we decided to take it more slowly than the previous days. We went to the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum in the morning, wandered around the downtown area for lunch and early afternoon, then walked down to the Boardwalk for the late afternoon.
UC Santa Cruz Arboretum
We were trying to decide whether to go up to Año Nuevo State Park, but ultimately decided to stay in town and visit the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, mostly for something different than what we had done the previous day, but also because it was closer and would let us relax a bit more.
After parking, we were met by a very helpful woman who took our admission and let us know what she found interesting in the Arboretum, as well as other things we might see.
There were a couple recommended tour paths, and we chose to take the World Tour, going through gardens representing several areas: California Natives, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. We also went through the Eucalyptus grove where the Monarch butterflies are starting to show up (we saw a couple), along the Hummingbird Trail (again, saw a couple), and the Succulent and Aroma gardens.
There were several lizards basking, and we even saw a rabbit loping around the Hummingbird Trail. The bees were also extremely happy; some areas had a constant drone from their activity.
We proceeded back to the motel to drop off the car, and made the short walk to Downtown Santa Cruz to find some lunch. We ended up at a café where we shared a sandwich and salad. We must have been very slow, because the table next to us turned over a couple times while we were sitting there.
Our next stop was a couple blocks away, where we stopped into a café to get something to drink as well as avail ourselves of the free wireless access. The place was very busy; again, the table next to us turned over a couple times while we were sitting there.
Since we were right there, we took a look at the Town Clock, which sits on a small triangle between Water, Pacific, and Knight Streets. A few blocks more of walking brought us to The Penny Ice Creamery, where we had scoops of honey fig and burnt cinnamon ice cream. Having sampled our way through downtown, we walked along the San Lorenzo River to the east side of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The park was mostly closed (the season was over) but we were still able to walk through a good part of the midway as well as look out over the beach.
After grabbing some fish tacos for dinner, we went back to the San Lorenzo River to walk back to the room and retire for the evening.