Great Outdoors & Adventure
Hiking at Santa Cruz County State Parks
Santa Cruz County boasts 14 state parks covering a range of terrain from wave-swept beaches to rugged mountain ridges. These vast expanses of preserved land are a testament to conservation efforts that have been ongoing for over a century. Get the best of what Santa Cruz has to offer by starting a trail in a thicket of redwoods and ending on the sandy shore.
Though Redwood National Park may not fit into your travel schedule, two of Santa Cruz’s State Parks feature these ancient trees:
- Encompassing 18,000 acres California’s oldest state park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is home to the largest continuous stand of ancient growth redwoods south of San Francisco.
- With 20 miles of hiking trails Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park includes a variety of forested areas including redwoods, mixed evergreens, riparian, ponderosa pine, as well as rare ancient marine deposits called Santa Cruz sandhills.
Follow the following links for information and maps on the other 12 State Parks in Santa Cruz County:
- Castle Rock State Park
- Castro Adobe Park Property
- Lighthouse Field State Beach
- Manresa State Beach
- The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park
- Wilder Ranch State Park
- Natural Bridges State Beach
- Twin Lakes State Beach
- Sunset State Beach
- Seacliff State Beach
- Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park
- New Brighton State Beach
If you are looking to stay on property, Chaminade has three miles of scenic hiking trails stretched over its 300 acre property. Click here to view trail map.
Golf Near Chaminade
High-Rise Canopy Tour & Zip Line
Redwood Canopy Tours at Mount Hermon offers visitors an exciting eco-adventure into the redwood canopy of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Enjoy the coastal redwood forest from the unique perspective only a zip-line canopy tour can offer. The two hour guided tour includes six zip-lines and two sky bridges at heights of up to 150 feet. Each tour of up to eight is led by two certified guides who share their ecological knowledge and bring the history of the Santa Cruz redwood forest to life. The Redwood Canopy Tours are the original canopy tour zip-lines in the redwood forest and are the only facility of its kind in the region.
"One if by land, and two if by sea", the saying goes, so bring a friend! Elkhorn Slough is one of the last coastland wetlands in California. Located on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, 3.5 miles from Moss Landing, it has been described in the San Francisco Chronicle as the best place for wildlife viewing along the length of California Highway 1. This dramatic backdrop has wildlife year-round - otters, seals, sea lions and an infinite variety of birds.
Visit Kayak Connection which has rental locations in Santa Cruz and pick your adventure!
Learn to Surf in Surf City USA
Santa Cruz's nickname is Surf City USA. So, what better place to give it a try? Surfing is a tradition thousands of years old, passed down from generation to generation by Hawaiian kings. Learning to surf isn't just about trying to stand up and catch a wave, it's also about adventure, exploration, ocean safety, and surfing etiquette. Ready to make a splash? Contact one of these local surfing schools to get started:
- Club Ed Surf School - www.club-ed.com
The increasingly popular Stand-up Paddleboarding, or SUP: not surfing, not canoeing, not kayaking, but a way to get a unique perspective on the Monterey Bay while working your core muscles. Given its popularity, there are many companies within Santa Cruz where you can learn to SUP and rent equipment.
Spend a relaxing afternoon aboard a sail boat in the middle of the beautiful Monterey Bay. Sail by the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Walton Lighthouse, beautiful beaches, and be sure to keep an eye open for the rich sea life in the bay. A number of charter companies depart from Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, just minutes from Chaminade Resort & Spa.
Historic Steam Train
Roaring Camp, located just six miles up the hill from Santa Cruz, is a re-creation of an 1880's logging town, operating trains every day of the year except for Christmas Day. This heritage railway boasts authentic 1880's steam locomotives operating on our Redwood Forest Steam Train excursion and 1920's era Beach Trains to Santa Cruz. Choose your ride between two main rides:
- Beach Train - A 3-hour round trip ride, from Roaring Camp to the Beach Boardwalk.
- Steam Train - A one-hour round-trip featuring a ride up Bear Mountain.
Roaring Camp also has special events throughout the year. Visit www.RoaringCamp.com for train schedules and more information.