The Santa Cruz Mountains are known for incredible vistas, majestic redwoods and world class vineyards. Our guests enjoy relaxing in this incredibly scenic area - hiking, biking, wine tasting, exploring the beaches and nature photography. Oh, and there’s a really scary zip line too.

Here are some ideas to get you started when thinking about your vacation…

Wine Tasting

There are 4 vineyards within 2 miles of the Cliff House (and dozens more nearby - we’ll provide you with a map):

A bit further away and with the most stunning view we’ve ever seen is Loma Prieta Winery. It’s about a 10-15 minute drive up Loma Prieta mountain. Definitely worth the drive though, especially on a clear day.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Roller coasters, mini golf, arcades and bowling are just some of the things you can do here. You will also experience some of the best people watching ever! Lots of fine dining restaurants and bars are sprinkled throughout the downtown area as well.

Seal Lions at the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf

While you’re in Santa Cruz, be sure to check out the sea lions that hang out at the pier. They can be a noisy bunch!

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Frolic through amazing hiking trails with wonderful photo opportunities among giant redwoods. Be cure to check out The Chimney Tree and Berry Creek Falls. From the California Parks website:

“Established in 1902, Big Basin Redwoods is California’s oldest state park. In the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains, its biggest attractions—literally—are its ancient coast redwoods. Some of these giants are more than 50 feet around and as tall as the Statue of Liberty. At 1,000 to 1,800 years old, some may predate the Roman Empire. The park also offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, lush waterfalls, and a fascinating natural and cultural history.”

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

More amazing hiking and photo ops. The Fremont Tree and The Giant are some of the more famous trees in the area.

Nisene Forest

And if you haven’t had enough hiking and redwoods yet, there is the Forest of Nisene, which is great for picnics and features 30 miles of trails.

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond is a hidden gem, a reservoir maintained by the City of Santa Cruz. It features lots of activities including picnicking, boat rentals (pedal boats and row boats), fishing, and hiking trails.

Climb 200 feet up the Redwoods (yes we’re serious…)

For the adventurous of spirit, there are guided tours of the redwoods, from atop the branches! Check out Tree Climbing Planet for a one of a kind experience you will never forget. And you can walk there right from your door at Cliff House.

The Swoop Bike Trail

The Swoop Trail is well known to mountain bikers around the country. It is a long gentle hill with swooping curves. We have had people visit us just to do this trail over and over.

Bay Area Hiking Trails Guide

In addition to the hikes mentioned above, here is a list of Bay Area Hikes from easy to difficult. Many of them are very close by. This list is a great resource.

Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad

Travel back a few decades and take a train ride through the redwoods. There’s even a rollercoaster for adrenaline junkies. This is a great place to hang out for a few hours - for adults and for the kids.

The Mystery Spot

OK so maybe this sounds a little bit hokey, but it’s cool and so well known that it’s worth a visit. You may experience changes in perspective - people taller or shorter than normal, standing at a 70 degree angel… Spooky.

Land of The Medicine Buddha

For the more spiritually inclined, or if you are just looking to find some calm and peace away from your hectic life there are the Medicine Buddha Trails: 8 Verses Loop Trail, the Enchanted Forest and Giant Golden Buddha. They also offer classes and retreats.