Remind yourself that 10 million short years ago California was at the bottom of the Pacific by heading down to Henry Cowell State Park ($10 day fee) near Santa Cruz. It’s easy to be distracted by the towering redwoods but if you look down near the Sandhills Mobile Visitors Center (Open Saturday & Sunday 10-2) you’ll notice that what is slowing your hike is the mostly sandy trail (keep you eyes out for ancient sand dollars). Yes, this area is a fairly weird mix of forest glens and remnants of the ocean. ¬†At the Sandhills observation deck you’ll be treated to a widescreen view of Monterey and on clear days the Boardwalk.

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