If strawberries and mushrooms can be considered a good combination, the city of Watsonville in California’s Pajaro Valley has both. Watsonville is the mushroom capital of the United States. However, visitors staying in budget hotels in Watsonville soon learn that local residents prefer the title of Strawberry Capital of the United States. Strawberries, mushrooms and other locally grown produce all have their places in the County Fair held on the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds each September. If you visit the Codiga Center and Museum you can see antique tractors, milking machines, and other agricultural equipment. You can even watch experts restore vintage vehicles. There is also a display that recalls Watsonville’s days as the Frozen Food Capital of the West.
Guests staying in discount hotels in Watsonville at the right time of year can go to the Gizdich Ranch where they can pick their own raspberries, strawberries and olallieberries, a tart berry similar to the blackberry. They can also buy freshly made juice, pies, fritters and other pastries. There is great swimming nearby at Manresa State Beach, Sunset State Beach, Palm Beach, and Salinas River State Beach. Pinto Lake City Park offers camping, swimming and fishing. On Memorial Day Weekend in May, Watsonville is the site of the West Coast Fly In and Air Show. Come in early August for the Monterey Bay Strawberry Festival.
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