Spring Break in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Kaya Lindsay

March 2, 2020

While most people will be ditching their books and heading to the beach for spring break, there are those of us who prefer a canopy of trees to the sound of the waves, and would rather hike to the top of a mountain instead of lounging in the sun. 

If you are more of a ‘mountains and shade’ kind of person, then you’ve come to the right place. Below you will find several activities and tourist destinations that are perfect for a different kind of spring break. Welcome to Spring Break in the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

Mystery Spot Sign in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Entrance to the Mystery Spot

The Mystery Spot

A classic Santa Cruz experience: The Mystery Spot. For a meager fee, a tour guide will walk you through the mysterious house and demonstrate the ways this place bends and breaks the laws of physics. Discovered in 1939 by surveyors The Mystery Spot has been open since 1940 and has dazzled people from all over the world. For Spring Break, it’s the perfect place to take a cool walk among the trees and delight in the mysteries of the universe. And don’t forget to bring your camera! 

Cost: $8 per ticket, $5 for parking

bridge creek trail
Trail Head at Nisene Marks State Park

Hike the Loma Prieta Loop Trail 

The Loma Prieta Loop Trail is a beautiful moderate hiking trail that winds through Nisene Marks State Park. The trail is 11.2 miles in length and makes a perfect all-day adventure. Pack a lunch, bring extra water, and maybe a blanket for a picnic! It can get cold, even on warm days, so remember to pack a light jacket as well. You’ll spend the day hunting for banana slugs, splashing past cascading waterfalls, and stretching your legs in one of the most beautiful redwood forests in the world. 

Cost: $8 parking fee 

garden of eden
Garden of Eden at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Garden of Eden

A trip to Santa Cruz for Spring Break wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the swimming hole, Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a magical place to spend a day splashing in the water and tanning on the warm river rocks. That being said, there have been issues with overuse in the past, please respect park requests and pack out your trash. Also, leave your dogs at home so you can enjoy this secluded swimming hole without having to pick up after them! The Garden of Eden is free, close to Felton, and an easy walk from the parking lot. This whimsical little getaway is the perfect place to relax and have fun on your spring break! 

Cost: Free

Bigfoot Discovery Museum
Bigfoot Discovery Museum

The Bigfoot Museum

Just off Highway 9 on the corner of San Lorenzo Ave sits the base camp of the Bigfoot Discovery Project. Also known as The Bigfoot Museum, this small building has big secrets inside. Founded and run by Michael Rugg, this museum is his passion project and the work of over 13 years of his life. Those who would like to support Michael in his quest to find bigfoot can do so on his website. You can stop in to learn all about the current search for bigfoot, where he (bigfoot) has been spotted most, as well as the most recent sightings right in Santa Cruz County. Enjoy this wonderful museum on your spring break, there isn’t any other place like it. 

Cost: Free to enter, but there are items for purchase

Santa Cruz in springtime is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The wildflowers are blooming, the sun shines through the canopy of new leaves growing on every tree, the world seems to be waking up again after a rainy and cold winter. Many people think of Spring Break in Santa Cruz as an excuse to lounge by the beach and enjoy the ocean waves. While this can be true, there are hidden and mysterious gems in the Santa Cruz Mountains that will delight and entertain those who seek them. So why not spend your Spring Break, not by the beach, but in the wooded wonderland of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Kaya Lindsay
Kaya Lindsay

Kaya Lindsay is a writer and photographer with a passion for rock climbing and the outdoors.  In 2016 she converted a Sprinter Van into a tiny home and has been traveling around the US & Canada to pursue her passion for rock climbing ever since. You will most likely find her in a parking lot or coffee shop, camera in hand, planning her next grand adventure. Connect with her on Instagram @OneChickTravels

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