An Awesome Day at Aptos, Seascape and La Selva & Manresa State Beach

Maverick Kelly’s 52 Day Trips
8 min readFeb 16, 2020


We began today’s adventure at La Selva Beach near Watsonville, CA. La Selva is a small village that our fun East Bay friend Wendy told us is her favorite local mini beach vacation. Little did we know it’d be a launchpad to 2 nearby communities: Seascape and Aptos!

La Selva Beach (pictured above) is mostly a residential town with a corner store, fire department, library and post office. It is most well known as the home of 2 beaches (La Selva Beach and Manresa State Beach). Before we headed to the beach we decided to go get some picnic lunch and coffee at nearby Seascape.


So we cruised off to the small community of Seascape in nearby Aptos:

Wendy had recommended we head to Seascape Foods (16 Seascape Village, Aptos, CA 95003) to get a picnic lunch to eat at the beach.

Seascape Foods

It’s an awesome deli with just about anything you can think of including hot food, freshly-squeezed juice and homemade pastries.

We ended up getting a turkey sandwich and chia pudding. But our favorite item was the bacon by the Slice! ($1 each — this was a bargain based on how yummy it tasted).

…and the jelly donut:

Check out this cute way Seascape Foods displays some of its packaged bread:

A lot of love went into Seascape Foods — we can tell!

Southpoint Seascape for Coffee

We then headed next door for some coffee at Southpoint Seascape (10 Seascape Village).

The team was super-friendly and the cafe has plenty of seating:

Most importantly, the coffee and service was great! With coffee and picnic in hand, we headed to the beach!

Manresa State Beach

There are plenty of beaches nearby and we chose Manresa State Beach (1445 San Andreas Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076). It’s $10 to park which we’re always happy to pay to contribute to state park funds (plus, the state park beaches have parking and restrooms!)

Manresa State beach is dog-friendly and allows bonfires (but no lifeguards and there are rip currents)

Manresa Beach is family-friendly with lots of dogs cruising around:

Lots of familes were picnicking at Manresa Beach

There were dozens of surfers out. The waves can be huge, and rip currents strong but we saw plenty of beginner surfers out. Most were surfing the inside break but there was a bigger break further out.

Plenty of surfers and boogie boarders at Manresa

State Beach

And our 4 year-old was fine playing in the shallows:

We’ve heard that you can see dolphins and the occasional seal and otter. We didn’t see. We did see plenty of people fishing.

Cantine (Wine And Tapas)

Hungry again! After the beach we headed to Aptos for lunch. We landed at Cantine Winepub (8050 Soquel Drive, Aptos, CA 95003).

Here’s Cantine owner Jason who was as nice a host as you’ll meet.

Cantine owner Jason McKay — an incredibly nice guy!

The inside is beautiful with a bunch of restored wood and comfy seating.

We sat outside which was super-comfy with an awesome view. Our 4 year-old was very happy.

The food and beverage menu is full of great options:

Cantine Winepub Food and Beverage Menu

We chose the chicken pot pie:

…and the kale/arugula salad:

Both were delicious. We drank the Chardonnay and Albariño by the tap — both were perfect.

It was a warm day but check out these cool hats and blankies Cantine provides in case you want to sit outside on a colder day!:

Jet Set Bohemian

Next we strolled around Aptos and found Jet Set Bohemian, a fun consignment store run by the mother/daughter team of Chelsea and Rebecca. It’s at 8049 Soquel Drive.

They’ve been in biz for 25 years and we see why — our family is picky about shopping and we walked out with a sweater, a fleece and a belt! They curate their clothing superbly!

Plus, they played with our 4-year old which gave us more time to shop!

Coffee in Aptos

Coffee time again. We headed over to what a few locals told us was the best coffee in Aptos: The Cat & Cloud (10 Parade St suite a, Aptos, CA 95003):

This place is like a mash-up of Cofffee meets Apple Store. Beautiful and great service! There’s indoor and outdoor seating and the place has an airy feel.

Cement Ship at Sea Cliff State Beach

We then went down to the pier to check out the S.S. Palo Alto sunken ship which was originally built in Oakland CA and now resides at Sea Cliff State Beach (State Park Dr, Aptos, CA 95003).

The SS Palo Alto cement ship, Sea Cliff State Beach State Park Dr, Aptos, CA 95003

Check out how it looks at night:


Here’s the background on the S.S. Palo Alto from Wikipedia:

SS Palo Alto was built by the San Francisco Shipbuilding Company at the U.S. Naval Shipyard in Oakland, California. She was launched on 29 May 1919, too late to see service in the war.[2] Her sister ship was the SS Peralta.

Palo Alto was mothballed in Oakland until 1929, when she was bought by the Seacliff Amusement Corporation and towed to Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, California.[3] A pier was built leading to the ship in 1930,[4] and she was sunk in a few feet in the water so that her keel rested on the bottom. There she was refitted as an amusement ship, with amenities including a dance floor, a swimming pool and a café.[5]

The company went bankrupt two years later during the Great Depression, and the ship cracked at the midsection during a winter storm. The State of California purchased the ship,[4] and she was stripped of her fittings and left as a fishing pier.

Next Time

A few things we’ll try to check out next time we visit the Seacliff/Aptos/La Selva Beach area:

La Selva Beach (the actual beach) — La Selva Beach is another nearby beach but it doesn’t have easy public access because the parking lot is gated for resident access only. If you want to get to La Selva Beach you can A) walk a short distance north on the sand from Manresa State Beach or B) contact a local who has a key to the gate to the parking lot near the train trestle.

Seascape Resort — 285 rooms including timeshares.

Aptos St. BBQ — This place looked like a fun scene:!

Bay View Hotel (Historic Inn in Aptos) — This Inn seems to be out of business but is enchanting — we want to learn more about what’s going on here!

Cilantro Restaurant — The South Point Seascape coffee folks raved about the food here (1934 Main St, Watsonville, CA 95076)

Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing (20 min. drive south of Aptos).

Please let us know if you have any tips for fun things to do in the area of La Selva Beach/Seascape/Manresa Beach/Aptos.

And thanks for joining in our adventure!



Maverick Kelly’s 52 Day Trips

Hi! I’m Maverick. My mommy, daddy & me are on a mission to take 52 day trips around the San Francisco Bay Area! Thx for joining in the fun!