Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Scotts Valley, CA

  • Published 2022/12/15

Situated in Santa Cruz County, in the middle of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Pacific Coast, Scotts Valley is a small city that is said to be one of California’s most popular coastal destinations.

It is known for its rich history, dating back more than 150 years.

It’s also a popular vacation destination among visitors who appreciate the scenic beauty and easy access to the Pacific Ocean, only seven miles away.

The city owes much of its charm to an abundance of oaks, cypresses, redwoods, and other trees that provide ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and picnicking in parks and on trails.

In addition, this quaint city has plenty of attractions for visitors.

Here are some of the best things to do in Scotts Valley, California:

Have Fun with Your Family at Skypark

The grounds of Skypark

Michael Barajas /

If you’re looking for a family-friendly destination in Scotts Valley where you can picnic and play sports, Skypark’s a great option.

Skypark on Kings Valley Road is a well-known sprawling complex where Scotts Valley residents can do activities with their families and friends.

With amenities such as a large BBQ area, gazebos, Linear Trail for walking, jogging, and cycling, a children’s play area, and a dog park, it’s no surprise everyone prefers to visit this park.

Soccer field at Skypark

Michael Barajas /

Scotts Valley’s Skypark is a popular destination for birthday parties and community events, such as live concerts, festivals, sports competitions, and more.

The park boasts soccer fields, bocce courts, tennis courts, chess tables, and other sports facilities to entertain visitors of all ages.

Make sure to visit Skypark with the whole family on your next trip to Scotts Valley!

Appreciate Nature’s Beauty at Lodato Park

Scotts Valley boasts an impressive number of parks, one of the most popular being Lodato Park.

Although Lodato Park is a known spot for exercise enthusiasts, many people are unaware of its tranquil atmosphere.

Tucked away in the back of the business park, this serene location boasts tall redwoods, evergreens, flowering plants, ferns, and local wildlife.

This park has 1.5 miles of easy-to-follow hiking trails, providing enough space to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life.

You can also walk your dog through the park as long as it’s on a leash.

However, bikes and strollers are not permitted.

Even so, on-street parking is free nearby, so you can leave them there while touring around Lodato Park.

Enjoy Movie and Burgers at CineLux Scotts Valley Cafe & Lounge

CineLux Scotts Valley Cafe & Lounge is a movie theater that provides affordable cinema experiences for everyone.

CineLux is a second-generation, locally owned company, and it now accommodates over seven locations, including Scotts Volley, far from where it began in 1966 in Campbell with just a single large cinema screen.

With its amenities like deluxe seating, digital surround sound, and digital projection in the auditorium, you will have a great time staying and watching movies here.

CineLux Scotts Valley Cafe & Lounge on Mt. Hermon Road strives to be an inclusive and diversionary place for all, with wheelchair spaces and hearing-impaired devices available.

It also has a wide range of food options, including hotdogs, boneless chicken wings, cheeseburgers, mozzarella sticks, and more.

Cocktails, mimosas, craft beer, and wine are also available inside, making this a great spot in Scotts Valley for all moviegoers.

See a Variety of Racing Vehicles at Canepa Motorsports Museum

Canepa Motorsports Museum on Scotts Valley Drive was established to celebrate the existence of motorcycle and automobile competitions, including engineering excellence.

This museum features a collection of classic and modern motorcycles and race cars, all of which have played a role in sports car history.

The cars on display were hand-picked by retired American race car driver and dealer Bruce Canepa.

Inside the museum are some of his preserved race cars, such as the 1981 Pikes Peak, the 1977 Porsche 934.5, and the Porsche 935.

These cars were integral to his success in racing competitions.

Canepa Motorsports Museum also houses cars driven by world-famous race car drivers such as Freddie Agabashian, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Rick Mears, and more.

Spoil Yourself at Zinnia’s Gift Boutique

Tim and Dedra always dreamed of opening a gift boutique in Scotts Valley where people could come to find charming presents.

After years of working in the corporate world, they finally took their retirement as an opportunity to turn their dream into reality with Zinnia’s Gift Boutique.

With their 25 years of experience in business, the couple managed to make this gift shop on C Mount Hermon Road a warm and welcoming home for garden decor, fine furniture, cooking items, jewelry, handbags, and men’s and children’s items.

Zinnia’s Gift Boutique is perfect for finding presents or treating yourself!

They have many items, including self-care products, accessories, and other unique things.

This makes it one of the best places in Scotts Valley, especially during special occasions like Christmas or birthdays.

Observe Nature and Wildlife at Glenwood Open Space Preserve

Aerial view of Glenwood Open Space Preserve

Michael Barajas /

Glenwood Open Space Preserve is a 170-acre preserve owned by Scotts Valley and managed by Santa Cruz County’s Land Trust.

This vast open area comprises wetlands, riparian forests, grasslands like prairies, redwood, freshwater marshes, chaparral, oak savannas, and evergreens.

There’s never a dull moment at Glenwood, especially with its wide variety of plants and animals.

You can see rare species like the Scotts Valley polygonum and Scott spineflower, as well as more common flora and fauna.

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are also trails to explore and bird boxes to discover different types of birds.

A fish pond is also available at the preserve.

You’ll enjoy exploring Glenwood Open Space Preserve with your friends and loved ones.

Enjoy Some Alone Time at Vern Hart Fishing Park

Vern Hart Fishing Park on Glen Canyon Road is a quaint and pleasant place worth visiting.

Although this park doesn’t have a lot of features, it’s perfect for visitors who need some time to themselves.

It has a small picnic table near a creek, a BBQ area, and parking.

Even though there aren’t many fish in the creek, the park is pristine and lined with trees, making the air feel fresh.

If you’re looking for peace and quiet or want to relax, Vern Hart Fishing Park is the spot for you.

Get in Shape at Enterprise Sports Club

Want to get in shape?

Enterprise Sports Club on Enterprise Way has you covered!

This club has 26,000 square feet of space for amenities every visitor can try if they want to lose weight or bulk up.

The club has a gym with regularly maintained technology and equipment for cardio and strength and some of the best personal trainers who will help track your fitness progress.

Aside from these, it has large fitness rooms for classes such as yoga, Zumba, aqua fit, circuit training, bike boot camp, and more.

Enterprise Sports Club also has a 25-yard swimming pool for aqua classes, a basketball, and a tennis court, making it an ideal fitness facility in the city.

Get Inspired at Scotts Valley Art Center

If you’ve ever thought about being creative, there’s an art center in Scotts Valley that anyone can visit.

Professional graphic artist, painter, and typographer Shirley Lehner-Rhoades founded Scotts Valley Art Center on Hilltop Way.

Shirley has taught people of all ages about fine art, painting, and crafting since 1997.

She ensures that everyone taking her class is taught the basics of sketching, pastel drawing, line art, watercolor painting, oil painting, and acrylics.

Each week, each student is assigned a project, and they are free to choose the subject of their own artwork.

Every piece of artwork you create is yours, so if you want to learn the art and hang art pieces on your wall, try taking classes at Scotts Valley Art Center.

Become a Pro Diver at Pro Scuba Dive Center

Pro Scuba Dive Center is the place to go in Scotts Valley if you want to learn to dive and become a certified diver.

It is a family-owned dive shop on Scotts Valley Drive that offers extensive diving training at a professional level.

In this center, more than six professional instructors are dedicated to helping you with your diving training from start to finish.

The shop is also said to be the city’s only authorized Scubapro Dealer, providing professional-grade services and equipment.

Everyone is welcome to join the Pro Scuba Dive Center’s active dive club, which has over 200 members.

If you want to have an adventure while on vacation with your family, you should consider enrolling here to become a professional diver.

Get a Glimpse of the Past at Mac Dorsa Park

Mac Dorsa Park on Civic Center Drive is one of Scotts Valley’s many parks, ideal for a picnic and play area for children and a home for heritage tourism.

The Scott House, a Greek-style building, known as a historical place museum and constructed in 1853 by Hiram Scott, is located in this park.

When you visit Mac Dorsa Park, take the time to learn about Hiram Scott, his family’s importance to the community, and the magnificent architectural design of their home.

Aside from this well-known and historic home, the oldest building in the city, visitors can also take advantage of other amenities like a picnic area, playground, BBQ area, and wide open grass to make memories with their family and family friends.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Beyond Scotts Valley, you can also visit other nearby attractions.

Most visitors use Scotts Valley as a base to travel to other places such as Santa Cruz, Felton, Watsonville, and others.

Here are other things to do near Scotts Valley:

Test Your Grit and Determination in Thrilling Adventures at Mount Hermon Adventures

Thrilling courses at Mount Hermon Adventures

Taylor Robinson /

Intending to be the go-to destination that will help people to destress, Mount Hermon Adventures provides outdoor challenges and adventure for everyone to try.

Just a nine-minute ride from Scotts Valley, this attraction in Felton was first established in 1906 as a Christian retreat center where everyone goes to unwind from their hectic lives and connect with their loved ones.

There are two main challenges at Sequoia: the aerial adventure and the zip line.

The aerial adventure will put guests to the test as they navigate through timber obstacles and rope between redwood trees.

It’s not for those who are afraid of heights!

Rope course at Mount Hermon Adventures

Taylor Robinson /

With over 40 elements, including two zip lines at 80 feet in height, it’s an experience that is worth trying for two hours.

The Redwood Canopy Tour is another great challenge with a maximum height of 150 feet and six zip lines spanning redwoods.

Guests can also enjoy two suspension bridges while enjoying amazing views.

Just like the aerial adventure, this tour lasts around two hours.

Get ready for thrilling adventures with your friends and loved ones when you visit Mount Hermon Adventures!

Try Horseback Riding at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Trail at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Zack Frank /

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park has over 4,650 acres of forested wide land.

This location is just 4.5 miles and an eight-minute ride from Scotts Valley.

Visitors can try picnicking, camping, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, and more in this park.

The park offers many opportunities to those who love nature, including hikes where you can see the river, grassland, sandhills, and redwoods that the park is protecting.

Tall trees at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Zack Frank /

You will also be amazed by how tall and wide most trees areover 277 feet tall and 16 feet wide!

With all this Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park offers, you will never get bored and will relax during your time here.

Creek at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

AlessandraRC /

Check Out a Mystical Location at The Mystery Spot

Entrance to The Mystery Spot

JHVEPhoto /

Located in the forest of redwoods outside of Santa Cruz is what the locals call The Mystery Spot.

This circular area that was discovered in 1939 by the surveyors is around 150 feet.

This destination was later publicized in 1940.

As you enter the Mystery Spot, your understanding of physics and gravity will be tested as you encounter different perspectives, gravity, and height.

A person standing at The Mystery Spot

Lawrence Lansing, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It also has 30 minutes of hiking trails that everyone can try, allowing you to see the native animals and plants of California aside from redwoods.

Mystery Spot is also listed as a California Historical Landmark, just five miles and an 11-minute ride from Scotts Valley.

It sees hundreds of thousands of visitors yearly, many returning repeatedly, so you’re sure to have a good time!

Have Fun at the Amusement Park Rides at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Rollercoaster at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

David A Litman /

Do you want to visit an amusement park beside a long sandy beach?

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, voted the best seaside park in the world, is just 15 minutes from Scotts Valley.

It has been in service since 1907 and provides visitors with various rides and a stunning beach setting.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has everything you seek, from restaurants and shopping facilities to attractions and games.

Swing ride at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Irene Wang /

The amusement park also offers several types of rides, including thrill, family, and kiddie rides.

In addition to the rides, many games are available that kids and adults will enjoy, like Casino Arcade, Boardwalk Bowl, Mini Golf, Laser Tag, and more.

The restaurants here serve dishes with main seafood ingredients such as fish, shrimp, clams, calamari, and beer and wine for drinks, including various snacks and desserts that kids will love.

People at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

randy andy /

Final Thoughts

Scotts Valley is a great place to visit and explore.

With its redwood forests, zip lines, amusement parks, horseback riding trails, and the Mystery Spot, plenty of experiences can be had here.

It’s also close to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, so you can enjoy a variety of attractions and activities.

With so many parks to choose from, you will undoubtedly find a place that provides solace and a short-term escape from the stresses of everyday life.

Start planning your trip to the area today, and keep these 15 best things to do in Scotts Valley, California, in mind to make the most out of your trip!

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