The World of Outlaws (WOO) races in Watsonville, CA have been going on since 1978 and have become one of the most popular race venues on the circuit. Watching the little Sprint Cars as they hit speeds of 160 miles per hour is exciting and fun for everyone involved. The unique shape of these winged beauties makes them fast as well as awesome looking. Just listening to the cheers of the crowd while the ground vibrates from the powerful motors will get your own motor going.
Being less than 10 minutes from the coast, you can see the gorgeous sunset on the ocean as you watch the cars race around the track, vying for the $10,000 prize for first place. And if you camp at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, which is where the Ocean Speedway is located, you can watch the sunrise on the ocean from your RV. Camping here means no traffic or crowds to fight with on the way in and out of the park. And it also provides you with all the fun and camaraderie of the other race fans who are camping there too.
The kids will love the WOO Sprint races at Ocean Speedway, too, with opportunities to get autographs and pictures with their favorite racers and Sprint cars. Grab a pit pass, and you can get in there and feel like part of the crew for a while. Whether you get a seat in the bandstands, general seating, or on top of your RV, your view will be spectacular here.
WOO Sprint Ocean tickets have often run between $35 and $50 for admission with a pit pass and around $15 for a reserved seat without a pit pass. Parking is free, and camping may cost $40 per night, including full hookups. Save some bucks by getting a camping package that includes admission to the races.
Located between Santa Cruz and Salinas, the Ocean Speedway is inside the Santa Cruz County Fairground and just eight miles from the coastline. You’ll also only be about 39 miles from San Jose and under 100 miles from San Francisco. The roads are easily traversed in any rig and the views are stunning with Monterey Bay and several mountain ranges including the Santa Cruz Mountains. Keep the camera handy but make sure it is the passenger taking the pics and not the driver.
The Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds has a huge parking lot and there are several other parts of the grounds that will be converted into parking areas as well. You should have no problem parking anywhere on the grounds. However, parking is first-come, first-served so you will want to get there early to get a good spot.
If you don’t mind hopping on the metro bus, route 79 has been known to take fans as far away as San Jose with a few transfers. The Santa Cruz County Metro bus runs on the weekends and weekdays. Of course, you can always call a taxi or use a rideshare app.
Right behind Marshall Field and next to horse arena number three, you can find a nicely arranged RV campground. There is plenty of room for at least 20 RVs up to 55 feet in length. Each site has 30- or 50-amp electric and water available. You’ll also have a picnic table and grill to use, just like a regular campground except you are right next to the track. Showers, laundry facilities, potable water, and restrooms are nearby as well. You can bring your furbaby too because pets are welcome as long as you keep them on a leash.
Because of the limited camping at the track, you may want to make alternate arrangements. Luckily, the Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA campground is less than 10 miles away and less than a mile from the beach. They have over 200 campsites with full and partial hookups available and a max length of 90 feet. There’s also a pool, playgrounds, dog park, water park, a video arcade, and showers. They even have an outdoor cinema and a hot tub. There are over a dozen other campgrounds in the area that offer primitive to glamping campsites.
You are going to have to do some walking, so you ought to bring or wear some comfortable walking shoes. Golf carts, bikes, scooters, and other wheeled or motorized transport is not allowed. However, strollers and wheelchairs are welcome. ADA accessible seating is offered at Turn 1 and Turn 4.
Bring the essential wardrobe that you would wear in the spring such as jeans, t-shirts, and maybe a jacket for evenings. The temperatures in Watsonville, CA are typically in the 70s during the day and 40s at night. You’ll also want to pack warmer clothes for camping and a swimsuit if you are staying somewhere with an indoor pool.
No coolers are allowed but you can bring a small backpack to carry your belongings. They do not allow you to bring any type of alcohol into the park, but they do sell beer at the track for guests with proper ID. It’s also a good idea to bring a camera if your phone doesn’t take good pictures. And binoculars will help you see the cars close up and personal.
Anytime you are going to be outside for any length of time in California, it is best to have sunscreen. Sunglasses and a hat are also a good idea to help keep you protected from the rays. You don’t want to have to worry about getting a sunburn at the track. Bring some insect repellent too because the California mosquitoes get hungry after dark.
Cooking in your camper will be easy with full hookups at the campground. However, bring along a camp stove just in case. There is a grill at the campsite you can use if you would rather cook outdoors, so bring some charcoal for the pit. Travelers could look for several large department stores and convenient stores in Watsonville if you forgot something.
If you get sick of track food and BBQ, go ahead and take a trip into town for a bite to eat. Watsonville has nine restaurants just on Lake Avenue, which is the same street that the track is on. And there are over a dozen more places to choose from on Main Street and Freedom Boulevard within five miles of the track. From Japanese food to burgers and hot dogs to steaks, you can find whatever you want just a short drive (or walk) down the road.
If you like hot dogs, burgers, and beer, you’re in the right place. But even if you would rather have chicken, kabobs, tri-tip sandwiches, or soft drinks, you are still in the right place. In fact, they have quite a few different types of food and drinks to choose from at Ocean Speedway. The merchandisers will be there as well, showing off their newest items.
Security is important to the staff at Ocean Speedway as well as the staff at the fairgrounds. You will see both police officers and security staff at WOO Sprint Ocean and you can tell who is who because they wear shirts that specify who they are. And they provide security for the campground 24 hours a day as well.
Late March in western California is probably the best weather you are going to see all year. If you like sunshine and warm temps, that is. The daytime temps range from the middle 60s to low 70s, and the nights get down into the middle 40s. You may want to bring an extra blanket to cuddle up with at night.
The staff at the Ocean Speedway are excellent, and they have medical personnel who can take care of minor illnesses and injuries. The park has a first aid stand near the office, or you can just ask any member of the staff if you need medical assistance. There are also three major hospitals within five miles of the track if you want to drive yourself.