Aptos is an unincorporated area of Santa Cruz county, consisting of several small communities:
Aptos is located at GR1.(36.981500, -121.907432)
Aptos was named by Native Americans for the confluence of Aptos Creek and Valencia Creek. The name is Ohlone, meaning "the meeting of two creeks". "Aptos" is pronounced "app-toss", however it is sometimes incorrectly pronounced "app-tose".
In 1833 the government of Mexico granted over 6,000 acres (24 km²) of Aptos Rancho to Rafael Castro. Initially Castro raised cattle for their hides, but after California became a state in 1850, Castro leased his land to Americans who built a wharf, general store, and lumber mill. The original town was located where Aptos Village Square is now. In 1853 a leather tannery was built, and the main building is now the Apple Lane Bed & Breakfast Inn.
By 1872, Claus Spreckels, the sugar millionaire, began buying the land from Castro. He built a hotel near the beach and a summer mansion and ranch with a racetrack for his horses. A large area was fenced and stocked with deer for hunting, and became known as "the Deer Park," home of today's Deer Park Center. With the coming of the railroad, the town moved to the other side of Aptos Creek.
From 1880 to 1920 redwood timber harvesting became the major industry, and Aptos became a boom town. The Loma Prieta Lumber Company logged all of what is now The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. The Valencia Mill logged everything to the east. Within 40 years the hills were bare, and apples became the next industry. Village Fair Antiques is now located in the old apple packing plant.
After Spreckels' death, Seacliff Park and Rio Del Mar Country Club (today's Seacliff State Beach) were developed in the late 1920s. Rio Del Mar Country Club included a clubhouse, a grand hotel on the bluffs, a beach club, a polo field, and a golf course. The estuary was filled in, and the S.S. Palo Alto cement ship was moored and converted into an amusement pier with restaurants, swimming pool, and a dance pavilion. Both Rio Del Mar and Seacliff were popular during prohibition as drinking and gambling were discreetly available. These amusements were interrupted by the great depression and World War II.
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 9,396 people, 4,055 households, and 2,428 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 517.5/km² (1,339.6/mi²). There were 4,486 housing units at an average density of 247.1/km² (639.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 90.38% White, 0.56% African American, 0.65% Native American, 2.39% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 2.49% from other races, and 3.42% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.97% of the population.
There were 4,055 households out of which 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.1% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.1% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.78.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 19.3% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 29.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.0 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $61,843, and the median income for a family was $73,515. Males had a median income of $51,848 versus $40,050 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $33,210. About 2.5% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.
Aptos is also home to the annual Fourth of July "World's Shortest Parade," so called because the parade route is about one-fourth of a mile.
Cabrillo College is a two-year community college in Aptos.