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Beyond its scenic appearance, Soquel, California, is a captivating destination offering natural beauty, culinary delights, cultural attractions, and shopping. This charming town blends outdoor adventures, farm-to-table dining, artistic expression, and boutique browsing into memorable experiences for visitors and residents alike.
Soquel, California has a rich history spanning centuries. The area was originally inhabited by the Sokel Native American tribe before significant development occurred when the logging industry moved in. Over time, Soquel transformed from a logging town into a tourism hub. Today, Soquel seamlessly blends past and present, offering visitors historic charm along with delightful experiences showcasing the town's vibrant cultural and natural heritage.
Population - 10,800
Weather - Mild with coastal influence Size- 4.6 square miles
ELEVATION: About 30 feet above sea level
Soquel is an ideal starting point for self-guided wine tasting tours, with vineyards draping the hills above town. Winding two-lane roads lead north through the mountains to numerous other wineries. Further up Main Street beyond the antique shops sits Bargetto Winery, a historic local winery that has been producing wine since 1933. Soquel is the gateway to the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, home to many other notable wineries located on Glen Haven Road and Old San Jose Road.
- Bargetto Winery 3535 N. Main St. Soquel CA 95073
- Anna Jean Cummings Park (locally known as Blueball Park) 461 Old San Jose Rd Soquel CA 95073
- Granny Purps Dispensary 2649 41st Ave Soquel CA 95073
- Kennolyn Camps 8205 Glen Haven Rd Soquel CA 95073
- Soquel Village 4700 Soquel Dr Soquel CA 95073
- Soquel Vineyards 8063 Glen Haven Road Soquel CA 95073
- Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery 7099 Glen Haven Rd. Soquel CA 95073
- Santa Cruz Haunted Tours Ideal Deck at the base of the Santa Cruz Wharf Santa Cruz CA 95060
Overlooking Soquel Creek, this world-famous restaurant, Shadowbrook Restaurant offers guests a scenic journey through lush gardens and waterfalls to reach its dining room, where creative specials complement traditional Prime Rib in an atmosphere of Old-World charm and grace. The beautiful and popular Rockroom Lounge, a separate destination for lunch and casual fare, is another highlight.
When Mission Santa Cruz was founded in 1791, the name Soquel is still unclear, one story mentions the area inhabited by the Sokel Native American tribe and another story mentions Suquer, a leader of the native people living along the nearby stream. What is certain is that this town in California was founded in 1853 and that locals pronounce it as "so-KELL."
The first European exploration of Alta California, led by the Spanish Portolà expedition, passed through the area on October 15, 1769. While traveling northwest along the coast, they camped at one of the creeks. The exact creek remains unknown, as the expedition diaries lack sufficient details. However, Franciscan missionary Juan Crespi, who accompanied the expedition, recorded in his diary that they "stopped on the bank of a small stream, about four yards deep with a strong current. Its banks were lined with cottonwoods and alders. Due to its depth, it may be impossible to use for irrigating the plains it runs through." Based on this description, translator Herbert Bolton speculated the location was Soquel Creek.
Martina Castro, daughter of José Joaquín Castro who arrived with his family in Alta California via the second De Anza expedition in 1775, was granted Rancho Soquel by governor José Figueroa in 1833. She was one of several Castro siblings who became rancheros in California.
During the Californio era, cattle grazed on the Soquel and Soquel Augmentation Ranchos. After 1848, fortune seekers quickly discovered the "red gold" of the area's redwood forests, cutting them down to build California's pioneer settlements. Founded in 1852, Soquel expanded in the 1860s as the sounds of logging echoed in the mountains and goods shipped from the wharf at Soquel Landing. By 1874, a railroad was built along the coast, and the beachside resort Camp Capitola was established. When the mills fell silent, Soquel slowly shifted toward agriculture.
The logging industry played a pivotal role in shaping Soquel, California's rich historical development. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the town's lush forests of towering redwoods and Douglas firs fueled a boom era as timber harvested from the region met the burgeoning demands of a rapidly growing California. Sawmills emerged along Soquel Creek, transforming raw logs into the lumber that built homes, bridges, and ships. However, this lucrative industry also substantially altered the local ecosystem, depleting forests and causing ecological changes.
In 1965, Soquel was the location of the first "Acid Test" party.
In 2021, the coastal town of Soquel, California had a population of 10,800 people. The median age was 41.6 years old and the median household income was $107,114. From 2020 to 2021, Soquel's population grew slightly from 10,721 to 10,806, representing a 0.8% increase. Over the same period, the median household income rose more significantly from $96,434 to $107,114, an 11.1% increase. The largest ethnic groups were White non-Hispanic (70.7%), White Hispanic (10.4%), Hispanic two or more races (5.85%), non-Hispanic two or more races (4.07%), and Hispanic other (3.86%). No households reported speaking primarily a non-English language at home. The vast majority (95%) of residents were U.S. citizens. In 2021, the median property value was $747,600 and the homeownership rate was 73.5%. Most residents commuted by driving alone, with an average commute time of 27.1 minutes. On average, households had 2 cars.
- Capitola-Soquel Chamber of Commerce
- Land of Medicine Buddha
- Masonic Lodge Soquel-Pajaro
- Soquel Creek Water District
- Congregational Church of Soquel
- Inner Light Ministries
- Seventh-day Adventist Soquel Conference Center
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