From Gilroy, California’s Highway 152 weaves westward through Santa Cruz County and reaches Highway 1 just north of Moss Landing. A leisurely half-day drive takes you past 32 miles of undulating vineyards, stands of redwoods, and views of the mist-draped coastline, with opportunities to sample the region’s agricultural offerings at every turn.
This roadside store two miles south of Gilroy on Highway 101, home to the world’s longest garlic braid, stocks such goodies as stuffed olives, chocolate-garlic ice cream, and organic fruit juices.
A mile past Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park, a gravel drive leads to this relaxed tasting room and grassy picnic spot at the foot of Mount Madonna. Genial staffers pour white and red Rhone blends and juicy pinot noir.
Savor the sight of Watsonville’s orchards and berry fields as you descend from Hecker Pass, then turn left on Carlton Road for a stop at this family farm. Estate fruit flavors 14 kinds of pie—apple and olallieberry are crowd favorites.
Sierra Azul Nursery and Gardens
A stroll here reveals sculptures among swaying grasses and otherworldly succulents. Take home a dragonfly garden ornament or a pot of native sage.
Moss Landing State Beach
Just north of the landmark power plant, Elkhorn Slough and the ocean connect, making a prime spot for wildlife views. Sandpipers pepper the beach and seals, sea lions, and sea otters loll in the harbor.
Phil's Fish Market
Bikers, golfers, and beach-buff families jostle in line here for cioppino, chowder, and fish and chips. Grab a table in the heated atrium, where salt breezes complement the fresh seafood.