Along California’s coastal Highway 1, south of Half Moon Bay and north of Santa Cruz, sits the town of Davenport. Many travelers no doubt speed by this quaint town on their way to or from more popular destinations. But if you happen to be traveling along this stretch of road, slow down and enjoy Davenport, and all that it has to offer. After all, this area is known by locals as the SLOWCOAST.
As you walk through town, you may notice the air of history that shrouds its architecture and surroundings. That’s because Davenport’s roots go as far back as 1867, when whaling captain John Pope Davenport built a shipping wharf in the area. The town experienced a surge in development after the turn of the century, when the Santa Cruz Portland Cement Company opened its factory and drew workers to the region.
Within walking distance is Davenport Beach, a beautiful place that’s a favorite of visiting photographers. In the spring, wildflowers bloom upon the green hills, and many rocky formations, including the famous Davenport Crack, serve to create breathtaking landscape scenes.
Unique rock formations, including the “Shark Fin,” can also be found at Davenport Cove Beach, as well as a waterway that runs through a cave tunnel forming a small mossy waterfall. Steep cliffs, rock shelves, and large expanses of sand can be found at Bonny Doon Beach, which lies at the mouth of Liddell Creek, southward on Highway 1.
While in town, make sure to check out the Bonny Doon Vineyard Tasting Room. Here you can enjoy authentic South Bay wines in a playfully quirky setting. Sip on some of the area’s best vintages, and pick up a few bottles to take home. During the summer, consider a public or private wine tour of the Santa Cruz Mountains, led by local tour company Santa Cruz Experience.
If your plans involve spending the night on the coast, consider checking in at the Davenport Roadhouse Inn. This rustic retreat offers affordable accommodations, some of which overlook the ocean (and HWY 1). The Roadhouse Inn also has a charming restaurant as well as a bar & cafe. The restaurant’s dining options are diverse, with fresh seafood and California style cuisine. Another great place to stop for eats is the Whale City Bakery, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their early 6:30 am opening time makes it so that you can pick up warm pastries and richly brewed coffee, ready to take with you to the beach, or a scenic drive along the coast.
After stopping in at Davenport, it will be easy to see why it’s a favorite place of travelers who like to take it easy with some small town relaxation. Don’t miss it on your next drive through the SLOWCOAST.
See our Beaches of Davenport video playlist.