Santa Cruz, California has a lot to recommend it. Of course, there's the surfing, which is great enough to get the town name dropped in the iconic Beach Boys song "Surfin' USA." There's California's answer to Coney Island, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which was shown in one of the greatest bad movies of all time, "The Lost Boys." Santa Cruz was also the filming location of a legitimately great movie, "Harold and Maude."
These films, and others, were set in and/or filmed in Santa Cruz because of the beautiful environment of the area. In addition to the beaches, there's plenty of other natural beauty, such as the Santa Cruz Mountains with epic hiking and mountain biking.
In the mountains around Santa Cruz, you will find the Polo Grounds of Aptos, a lovely park over 60 acres, with everything you could ask for in a park. There is a baseball diamond, a couple of soccer fields, ample picnic facilities, even an area for dirt jumping mountain bikes. Especially, and most importantly, there is a sizeable dog park.
The Aptos Dog Park, at Polo Grounds Park, is over an acre in size. It's divided into two fenced areas, one for smaller dogs. There's a lot of seating, including benches and chairs. There is a tented area for sunny days, and there are water fountains for the puppies and people.
The Aptos Dog Park is beloved by local dog owners, and volunteers help the county keep the dog park in excellent condition, with plenty of toys and doggie bags for visitors.
Dog Park is part of the Polo Grounds Park. It's open from 8 AM until sunset. There
is no fee for entry, and, strangely enough, no polo grounds, either. But there
are a lot of walking trails, and a lot of very happy dogs.