Promoted content

Why Santa Cruz homes are so in demand

We all say it: Santa Cruz is a magical place to live (despite the expenses, traffic, and other inconveniences). What makes Santa Cruz unique is its variety, with many activities within a 30-minute drive.

As a local real estate broker (and someone who was born and raised in the area), I wanted to share why this place is so special to me, and highlight the perks of choosing to buy a home in Santa Cruz. We have so many cool things to try around Santa Cruz County, and I’ve always been rewarded when I get out of my routine to do one. I’m sharing some of my experiences to encourage all of you to get out there and gain a new perspective of this area. I challenge you to try something new!

A view like no other


Getting out past the waves yields a wider view of Santa Cruz, and a chance to observe sea life that you just don’t see from shore.

If you don’t happen to have some friends with a boat, you can book a sailing trip on the O’Neill’s catamaran or the Chardonnay 2 for less than you might think. I’ve had memorable trips on both: during one particular heat wave, my family and I lounged on the netting that stretches between the twin hulls of the O’Neill catamaran. It had to be the coolest place in town!

The water refreshingly churned just below, while we looked back at the Boardwalk and the mountains beyond.


On my last trip on the Chardonnay with some friends, we found ourselves entering a low-hanging mist about a mile offshore. The complete stillness of gliding quietly through the calm water was shattered by two large bellows. To the delight of all aboard, a pair of whales had decided to join the boat mimicking our course for part of our cruise. The majestic creatures seemed as curious about us as we were awestruck by them.

To be the skipper of your own craft, you can have a blast on a kayak, or small motorboat rented from the end of either the Santa Cruz or Capitola Wharves. Over the years I have kayaked and paddle boarded off of Capitola numerous times.


My most memorable trip out was a fishing trip with my oldest son. Although I have experience fishing, the two of us still showed up with none of our own equipment at Capitola Boat and Bait. We were able to rent two poles, a boat, and everything else we needed. We followed their tips for bait choices and where to fish.

5 ½ short hours later, with a bucket of rockfish on board, I gave the call to reel ‘em up we’re calling it a day. My son says he thinks he is snagged on the bottom, but then his line starts reeling in slowly. Nothing is pulling back on his line, but it’s like reeling in a tire! Then, out of the deep rises a beautiful 33-pound Halibut, much to our surprise and excitement.


Call Santa Cruz your home!

Drifting off into the sea, I find boating a beautiful way to look back on the place you call home. If you want to call Santa Cruz your home, here are some “beachy” homes for sale:

163 Crest Drive, La Selva Beach


2665 Lode Street, Santa Cruz


220 Aptos Beach Drive, Aptos


6800 Cypress Garden


Lastly, I challenge you to see a new side of Santa Cruz this late summer. Get out on the water, even if you’re an avid beach walker or sunset aficionado. You won’t regret gaining a new perspective of where you call home. I’ll see you out there.

In my next segment, I’ll take you to the local hills for a new kind of getaway: your dream home in the Santa Cruz mountains.

About the Author: John Hickey, Owner & Broker - Monterey Bay Properties / Thunderbird Real Estate

John Hickey
(Rebecca Stark Photography)

John is the managing Broker of Monterey Bay Properties and Thunderbird Real Estate. He enjoys the challenges of the complexities of the real estate business. John served as the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors President in 2013 and served on the board of directors of MLSlistings, Inc through 2016.

John Hickey was born and raised in Santa Cruz County, growing up in the wonderful communities of Corralitos and La Selva Beach.

Interested in buying a home or selling?

About Monterey Bay Properties & Thunderbird Real Estate


In 2016, Thunderbird Real Estate joined forces with Monterey Bay Properties when it was purchased by the locally owned and operated brokerage. Combined Monterey Bay Properties and Thunderbird Real Estate is a highly regarded office with over fifty experienced agents. Ours is the perfect blend of high production with the special attention of a boutique brokerage. We pride ourselves on being comprehensive in our coverage of Santa Cruz County, with abundant numbers of listings from the North Coast’s Bonny Doon to the golden beaches of La Selva Beach and Pajaro Dunes.

But the mainstay of our company and the key to our success is our agents and staff. We are refreshingly innovative, specializing in unique and exciting coastal and rural properties, as well as raw land sales. With incredible client service and a culture of contributing back to our beloved community, we strongly believe we are the best real estate office in Santa Cruz County and you can feel that difference as soon as you walk into our door.