You may never want to leave the wide, pristine beach when you stay at Pajaro Dunes. But if you decide to explore further you’ll find unlimited activities at Pajaro Dunes and throughout the Monterey Bay area.

Play at Pajaro Dunes

Activities within the Dunes:

  • Trails: miles of paths for walking or jogging on picturesque boardwalks, through shady eucalyptus groves, and along wildlife filled wetlands.
  • Sports: courts for tennis, bocce, volleyball, basketball (½ court) and a softball backstop.

  • Birding: situated between ocean, estuary and slough, Pajaro Dunes has become a renowned destination for bird-lovers. This rich environment hosts more than 225 species of shorebirds, songbirds, and waterfowl.
  • Wildlife: spot whales, dolphins, otters, seals and sea lions frolicking just offshore from Pajaro Dunes. From time to time some of these come ashore to sun themselves on Pajaro’s beach.
  • Water Sports: surf conditions are ideal for body-boarding, skim-boarding, surfing and other aquatic activities.
  • Fishing: surf-fishers catch wall-eyed and barred surf perch, striped bass, sardines and other fish from Pajaro’s shore.
  • Beach: and don’t forget Pajaro has more than a mile of uncrowded white sandy shore for shell-collecting, long walks, making sandcastles, or just soaking up the sun.

Explore Monterey Bay 

There’s so much to do in the Monterey Bay area! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
    See floating jellyfish, playful otters, and the interior of a kelp forest at this world-famous aquarium.
  • Golf
    Home of the legendary Pebble Beach, the Monterey Bay area is a world-renown golfing destination offering some of the best golf courses in the country. With more than 50 nearby courses, golfers of any level can find a great place to hit the links and enjoy spectacular views.
  •  Wine tasting
    The first vineyards in the Monterey Bay area were planted over 200 years ago, and local vintages have been winning international awards for over a century. Today the area is known for two distinct regions: Monterey and the Santa Cruz mountains. With some of the world’s most innovative vintners, the combination of tradition, technology, and the unique coastal climate has created some of the best wines in California.
    Santa Cruz Mountain Wineries
    Monterey Wineries
  • Sport Fishing
    Anglers may catch salmon, halibut, cod, albacore, sand dabs and other Monterey Bay species. Boat charters and rentals are available at local harbors.
    Moss Landing Harbor
    Santa Cruz Harbor

  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
    Visit one of the last classic seaside amusement parks and ride the historic Giant Dipper, an all-wood roller-coaster, and the Looff Carousel, built in 1911. Both rides are registered National Historic Landmarks.
  • Whale-Watching
    Get close to immense and majestic grey whales during their annual migration along the California coast.
    Whale Watching Cruises
  • Elkhorn Slough
    Visit this National Estuarine Research Reserve and learn about the important ecosystem that feeds into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
  • Tide Pools
    Discover a fascinating array of plants and animals living in Monterey Bay’s tidal zones. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary boasts some of the best tide-pooling in the world!
    Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary 
  • Kayaking
    Paddle through the miles of wildlife-filled coastal wetlands of Elkhorn Slough on a guided expedition. Or kayak along the “last mile” of Watsonville Slough which runs behind Pajaro Dunes and is an important wildlife habitat.
    Moss Landing Harbor District

  • Redwoods
    Hike through old-growth redwood forests—home to some of the oldest and largest trees on earth. The most impressive specimens are almost 300 feet tall, 50 feet in circumference and nearly 2000 years old.
    Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
  • Monarch Butterflies
    See up to 100,000 monarch butterflies in their winter roost, Monarch Grove, at Natural Bridges State Beach – the only State Monarch Preserve in California.
    Natural Bridges State Beach
  • Carmel Art Galleries
    Browse through world-class art galleries and enjoy fine dining in the charming seaside village of Carmel-by-the-Sea
  • National Steinbeck Center
    The Nobel prize wining author John Steinbeck often wrote about the people and places of the Monterey Bay area. The museum honors this local author’s works and promotes values inspired by Steinbeck’s words: building community and celebrating creativity.
    Steinbeck Center

discover birders

  • Elephant Seals
    Larger than walruses, elephant seals are the biggest members of the pinniped (seal) family. Visit them at their breeding and resting grounds, Año Nuevo Natural Preserve, to watch them in their natural habitat.
    Año Nuevo Natural Preserve
  • Scenic Trains
    Ride an authentic nineteenth-century steam train through a towering redwood forest.
    Roaring Camp Railroads
  • Berry Picking
    Pick strawberries, olallieberries, and other seasonal fruit at a nearby farm.

Discover more activities and local events near Pajaro Dunes at: