Micro Tour: Felton

Felton is a hidden gem in the San Lorenzo Valley that invites you to slow down, connect with nature, and indulge in local delights. Tucked away in the redwood-studded hills of Santa Cruz County, Felton offers a perfect escape into nature’s embrace. From towering redwoods to charming eateries, this quaint town has something for everyone. Whether you’re hiking among ancient redwoods, savoring delectable cuisine, tasting wine, or enjoying live music, Felton offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. So next time you’re seeking a peaceful retreat with plenty of charm, consider spending 24 hours in this magical town at the heart of the redwoods.

Morning

Kickstart your day with breakfast and coffee to ensure you have plenty of energy for a day of exploring Felton. If you’re looking for a full breakfast, head to the classic brunch spot, Rocky’s or just outside of town, visitors can find the iconic Heavenly’s Roadside Cafe. If a bakery sounds more your pace, grab some freshly baked pastries from The Grove Cafe and Bakery right in the heart of downtown Felton. The Grove has excellent tea offerings, and right next door at the White Raven, you can grab a coffee to caffeinate your day the local way!

Roaring Camp Railroads – Photo by Monica Multer

Spend the rest of your morning adventuring at your own pace. Families can head over to Roaring Camp, where visitors can take steam trains into the redwoods. During the summertime, the stream trains follow an enchanting journey through redwood forests, downtown Santa Cruz, and ends at the Beach Boardwalk. Exercise aficionados have miles of park trails to explore in Henry Cowell State Park and Fall Creek. Henry Cowell has trails for hikers of all levels from the family friend Big Trees Loop, which showcases some of the biggest and oldest redwoods in the area in an easy mile-long trail to miles of mountainous trails that will satisfy every level of experience. Fall Creek, a separate sector of Henry Cowell features historic lime kilns, a rushing river with multiple bridge crossings. Mountain bikers can explore the pipeline trail in Henry Cowell State Park or head to the bicycling trails in the Upper UCSC Campus trail system and Pogonip, which can be accessed along Highway 9 just south of Felton. Regardless of how you want to spend your morning, Felton has something for everyone!

Afternoon

The Grove – Photo by Jenn Day

After working up an appetite, head to Wild Roots Market for a fresh and organic lunch. This market has an excellent selection of fresh goods and takeaway lunches that you can eat in the parklet, perfect for people-watching in Downtown Felton. You can even buy local cheeses and drinks to make your own picnic to eat in the numerous parks in the area like Felton Covered Bridge Park, home to one of the last remaining covered bridges in California. This picturesque spot offers a glimpse into the town’s history and provides a lovely backdrop for a picnic. The Grove also has food offerings like craft sandwiches and bagels. Patrons can enjoy the delightfully decorated cafe while sipping drinks and trying a variety of baked goods. Visitors can check out Empire Grille or Redwood Pizzeria if you’re looking for a bigger meal.

After fueling up with lunch, spend the remainder of your afternoon shopping along the store-studded scenic historic downtown area. There are endless shopping opportunities, from fine arts at Skavenge Arts to jewelry and home goods at Mountainside Made. Don’t forget to check out the great vintage clothing store, Tomboy and Cindillily. After shopping, head to Hallcrest Vineyards for wine and cider tasting in a gorgeous meadow setting. Sit back and relax on this scenic property while taking your tastebuds on a journey.

Evening

S.C. Bread Boy Smash Burgers at Humble Sea – Photo by Monica Multer

Finish your perfect day in Felton with a great meal. If you’re here on the weekend, Humble Sea’s Tavern houses a pop-up smash burger eatery, known as S.C. Bread Boy every Friday through Sunday. Every weekend, Humble Sea is open for drinks and food until sell-out and you don’t want to miss these delicious smash burgers paired with a crisp cold Humble Sea beer. Other great dinner options include the Cowboy Diner which has an excellent outdoor patio and tap list or stop by Taqueria Vallarta for some delicious food!

End your day on a high note with live music at Felton Music Hall. This intimate venue hosts a variety of local and touring artists, ranging from folk to rock to blues. Check their schedule for upcoming performances and prepare to unwind with great music and a vibrant atmosphere. The music hall also has a full bar and delicious food that make it the perfect spot to end your visit to Felton.

Whether you spend a full day or half a day in Felton, visitors have endless options to explore and experience this great little hidden gem of a mountain town. Only 20 minutes from Downtown Santa Cruz, your mountain escape awaits in Felton!

Header Photo by Daniel Gorostieta at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park