People trying to escape "very unhealthy" air quality in Bay Area head to Santa Cruz, Monterey

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- As air quality levels in the Bay Area hit very unhealthy levels some are seeking refuge along the coast.

It's a rare sight while much of the Bay area is choked with smoke you can still see the sky in Santa Cruz.

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"It's kind of weird. It's more of a haze. Personally, I don't smell the smoke myself that bad," said Dino Stagnaro, owner of Gilda's Restaurant located on the Santa Cruz wharf.

A group of people walking the pier Thursday night had left Livermore seeking fresher air.

"I think the air quality was like 240. No, the highest was 272-- 272 yesterday," said Will Nowicki, Livermore resident.

The air quality in Santa Cruz is still at moderate levels making the oceanfront city a refuge for some.

"I filled-up on Saturday night. Most of them were coming from the fire area and we had some that came down over the week for one or two nights," said Lori Moser, Edgewater Beach Inn and Suites manager.

Tourism season in Santa Cruz generally goes from Easter to October, but due to the wildfire smoke in the Bay Area they're seeing an influx in tourists now in mid to late November.

RELATED: California Wildfires: Why the smoke is sitting over the Bay Area

"I did have another couple who came through here today and they had come from Monterey and they said down there it was beautiful," noted Stagnero.

Pictures taken in Monterey by an East Bay family escaping the smoke show a clear coastline. Smoke could linger in the Bay Area well into next week.

"Thoughts are it's not going to clear, but at least we got some fresh air for a couple of days," said Nowicki.

Hotels still have openings along the coast, but they could sell out over the weekend.
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