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Aptos

Aptos is a small coastal town in Santa Cruz County with a population of 6,372. Living in Aptos offers residents a quiet suburban atmosphere, as most own their homes. The town has many coffee shops and parks. Aptos attracts young professionals and has residents with moderate political views. The public schools are highly rated.


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Aerial view of downtown Aptos

Aptos, CA Houses for sale Real Estate Statistics

Average Price $2M
Lowest Price $4K
Highest Price $12.5M
Total Listings 99
Avg. Price/SQFT $1.1K

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More about Beach Homes For Sale in Aptos, CA

This historic coastal town is located in the unincorporated Santa Cruz County area, which includes Rio Del Mar, Seacliff, and Seascape. Aptos hosts the Aptos Village and serves as an entrance to the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. Hikers, runners, and mountain bikers examine the 30 miles of trails in its 10,000 acres of regenerated redwood forest, passing by old mill sites and trestles. The historic presence of railroads and logging here is still evidenced. People interested in learning about the history—from native Ohlone Indians who named Aptos to the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake—can ramble through a display of artifacts and photos at the Aptos History Museum.

The small community of Aptos grants residents an easy lifestyle in beautiful, natural surroundings. This charming town overlooks the sparkling Monterey Bay and hosts breezy beaches, rolling hills carpeted by redwood forests, and panoramic views—all within minutes from the city center. From the variety of shops and a fine selection of restaurants to the numerous local attractions, Aptos offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of big city living. This is now a very desirable location, with its benign climate and access to Santa Cruz and Watsonville.

Seacliff State Beach offers the best location for a cookout or picnic, with barbecue grills and shaded tables along the sand. Find out about Pacific wildlife migration patterns from the visitor center. There is a mile-long seaside paved path that runs parallel with the ocean, passing by fossils of extinct marine creatures embedded in the bluffs. "The Cement Ship" sits at the end of the fishing pier—a local landmark. That large experimental concrete tanker, the S.S. Palo Alto, built during World War I, now graciously leans onto its starboard side from winter storms and serves as an artificial reef for marine life. "The Cement Ship" turned 100 years old in 2019, but the storms of 2022 have all but swallowed the old ship up.

Downtown Aptos Village, CA

On the south side of the pier, Rio Del Mar State Beach provides a great place for dog owners who like beaches and bonfires. One of Aptos' favorite Fourth of July tradition events is their "World's Shortest Parade", in which nearly every resident, along with their pets, gets dressed up in their finest patriotic colors and parades into Aptos Village Park to enjoy live music and merriment. Aptos Village heart beats with a vibrant new town center perfect for pedestrians to enjoy artisanal ice cream, local shops, specialty coffee, restaurants, and a quaint park that will add to the charm of this mid-county destination.

The bay's best-known feature is its hefty marine life, particularly during the peak migration seasons: from mid-January through mid-March. It's not uncommon to spy humpback whales, gray whales, and dolphins during these periods. In March, April, and May, there will also be an enhanced possibility of being able to view killer whales.

Aptos also hosts some out-of-this-world events and festivals throughout the year that draw in residents and visitors alike, including the Aptos Farmers Market, Aptos 4th of July Parade, and Aptos Wine Wander.

There are ample places to stay in Aptos, ranging from hotels to vacation rentals to campgrounds. Some of the popular ones include the Seascape Beach Resort and Seacliff Inn Aptos.

History

For thousands of years before the Spanish completed Mission Santa Cruz in 1794, American Indians lived in the area now known as Aptos. Largely, the mission system had ended Native Americans way of life. After Mexico won its independence, lands of missions were secularized and granted to local citizens involved in governing and development of the region. In 1833, the 6,686-acre Rancho Aptos was granted by the Mexican government to Rafael Castro. It ran from the current day Seascape Boulevard to Borregas Drive near Cabrillo College. Castro initially produced hides from his cattle but later, in 1850, when the statehood of California was established, he leased out the land for industrial purposes to the Yankees. The yankees provided a wharf, general store, and lumber mill. The old town sat on the site of the modern-day Aptos Village Square, with Castro's original general store still on the site.

The sugar millionaire Claus Spreckels began buying the land from Castro and commenced improving the site by 1872. He erected a lovely, large hotel overlooking the beach, as well as a road leading in-cum-private driveway called Spreckels Drive. Further inland, he built a summer mansion and ranch complete with a racetrack for his horses near what is now Rio Del Mar Boulevard. Another project was the fencing off a large tract of land which he stocked with deer to hunt, naming it "The Deer Park." He also helped finance the 1876 opening of the Santa Cruz Railroad, whose original steam engine "Jupiter" now resides in the Smithsonian. The town moved to its present site east of Aptos Creek upon the arrival of the railroad. A brother-in-law of Spreckels built a mansion up the present-day Aptos Creek Road; nearby, Rafael Castro's son-in-law Joseph Arano constructed the Bayview Hotel.

Logging Redwood timber was the major industry of Aptos between 1884 and 1924, and the town became a boomtown. The Loma Prieta Lumber Company clear-cut all of what is now Nisene Marks State Park, and the Valencia Mill did the same to the east. Valencia Hall was the community center of the Valencia Mill town. The nearby hills had turned bald within just 40 years. Apple orchards were next major industry of Aptos until 1959.

After Spreckels' death in the 1920s, lands in Seacliff Park and Rio Del Mar were gradually developed. A country club consisting of a clubhouse, a grand hotel overlooking the ocean bluffs, a private sea club for the members, a polo field to play polo, and a expansive links golf course were constructed. During construction, the estuary was filled in and the Aptos Creek was rerouted and dammed to form a large freshwater swimming pool, complete with a bathing pavilion. The developers also bought an unused World War I concrete oil tanker and turned this into an amusement pier with a restaurant, a swimming pool, arcade games, and a dance hall. Back in the days of Prohibition, that is during the 1930s, Rio Del Mar and Seacliff took center stage as focus points where drinking and gambling could take place under the radar. These playground areas, however, were soon disrupted by the straight-kick from the Great Depression and World War II.

In the early 1960s, a period of rapid growth began when Cabrillo College was opened at a site Gst halfway between Watsonville and Santa Cruz. Soon after, there followed Rancho Del Mar Shopping Center and the Seascape development.

Auto Area Schools
Aptos has three elementary schools, one junior high school, and one high school within the Pajaro Valley School District. To learn more about Aptos schools, visit the PVUSD website or call (831) 728-6200. Funding & Budget overview for 2032-2024. The Mission of the Pajaro Valley Unified School District is to educate and to support learners in reaching their highest potential. We prepare students to pursue successful futures and to make positive contributions to the community and the global society.

Aptos Area Restaurants 

Severino's Bar & Grill
Categories: American Restaurants, Bars, Foods, Lounges, Nightlife, Restaurants
7500 Old Dominion Ct., Aptos CA 95003

Sanderlings Restaurant
Categories: American Restaurants, Bars, Banquet Rooms, Breakfast/Cafe Restaurants, Cafes, California Cuisines, Corporate Event Planning, Event Planning, Foods, Nightlife, Restaurants, Weddings, Lodging
One Seascape Resort Drive, Aptos CA 95003

Aptos New Leaf Community Market
Categories: American Restaurants, Delis and Meats, Markets and Specialty Foods, Grocery Stores, Restaurants, Sandwich Shops
Aptos Village Way, Aptos CA 95003

Bittersweet Bistro Categories: American Restaurants, Bars, Breakfast/Cafe Restaurants, Cafes, Delis and Meats, Markets and Specialty Foods, Nightlife, Restaurants, Sports Bars, Live Music Venues
787 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos CA 95003

Aptos St. BBQ Categories: American Restaurants, Barbeque, Nightlife, Restaurants, Live Music Venues
8059 Aptos St., Aptos CA 95003

Marianne's Ice Cream
Categories: American Restaurants, Markets and Specialty Foods, Ice Cream, Restaurants
218 State Park Drive, Aptos CA 95003

Sushi On The Run
Categories: Japanese Restaurants, Restaurants, Sushi
7959 Soquel Dr.Aptos CA 95003

Manuel's Mexican Restaurant
Categories: Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants
261 Center Avenue, Aptos CA 95003

Aptos Burger Company
Categories: Burger Joints, Restaurants
106 Rancho Del Mar, Aptos CA 95003

Persephone Restaurant
Categories: American Restaurants, Restaurants
7945 Soquel Dr., Aptos CA 95003

Cafe Rio
Categories: Restaurants, Seafood Restaurants, Steak Restaurants
131 Esplanade, Aptos CA 95003

Cafe Sparrow
Categories: French Restaurants, Restaurants
8042 Soquel Dr., Aptos CA 95003

Sid's Smokehouse & Grill
Categories: Barbeque, Burger Joints, Pizza Restaurants, Restaurants
10110 Soquel Dr., Aptos CA 95003

Pizza One
Categories: Pizza Restaurants, Restaurants
253 Center Ave., Aptos CA 95003

Taqueria Los Gordos
Categories: Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants, Burrito Places
7488 Soquel Dr., Aptos CA 95003

Sofia's Taqueria
Categories: Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants
140 Rancho del Mar, Aptos CA 95003

Palapas Restaurant & Cantina
Categories: Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants
21 Seascape Village, Aptos CA 95003

Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine
Categories: Mediterranean Restaurants, Restaurants
7528 Soquel Dr., Aptos CA 95003

GG Restaurant and Bar
Categories: Bars, Italian Restaurants, Nightlife, Restaurants, Cocktail Bars
8041 Soquel Drive, Aptos CA 95003

Ambrosia India Bistro
Categories: Indian/Pakistani Restaurants, Restaurants
207 Sea Ridge Rd., Aptos CA 95003

Burger
Categories: American Restaurants, Burger Joints, Foods, Restaurants
7941 Soquel Drive, Aptos CA 95003

Lucky Dragon
Categories: Chinese Restaurants, Restaurants, Asian Restaurants
9071 Soquel Dr., Aptos CA 95003

Bangkok West Thai Cuisine
Categories: Restaurants, Thai Restaurants
2505 Cabrillo College Dr., Aptos CA 95073

Robin's Cake Creations
Categories: Bakeries, Markets and Specialty Foods, Restaurants
1528 Wilshire Dr., Aptos CA 95003

Erik's DeliCafé
Categories: American Restaurants, Restaurants
102 Rancho del Mar, Aptos CA 95003

Panda Inn
Categories: Restaurants, Asian Restaurants
783 Rio del Mar Blvd, #5, Aptos CA 95003

Taqueria Los Gordos
Categories: Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants
Heather Ter., Aptos CA 95003

Uncle Kwok's
Categories: Chinese Restaurants, Restaurants
101-199 Aptos Wharf Rd., Aptos CA 95003

Hong Kong Garden
Categories: Chinese Restaurants, Restaurants, Asian Restaurants
14 Seascape Vlg, Aptos CA 95003

Rio Del Mar Mexican Cuisine
Categories: Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants
9067 Soquel Dr., Aptos CA 95003

Sno-white Drive-in
Categories: Burger Joints, Restaurants
223 State Park Dr., Aptos CA 95003

Little Owl Italian Kitchen
Categories: Bars, Italian Restaurants, Nightlife, Pizza Restaurants, Restaurants
8017 Soquel Dr., Aptos CA 95003

KFC
Categories: Restaurants, Fried Chicken Restaurants
150 Rancho Del Mar Shopping Center, Aptos CA 95003

Pino Alto Restaurant
Categories: American Restaurants, Restaurants, Dessert
6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos CA 95002

Taco Bell
Categories: Fast Food, Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants
7887 Soquel Dr., Aptos CA 95003

Au Midi
Categories: French Restaurants, Restaurants
7960 Soquel Dr., Aptos CA 95003

Village Host Pizza & Grill
Categories: Pizza Restaurants, Restaurants
4 Seascape Village, Aptos CA 95003

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