There are so many ways to relax and rejuvenate and Santa Cruz County has proven to be an expert in the field. Whether you’re looking for a trip dedicated to R&R, or you just have a free hour during your day, Santa Cruz knows how to bring that chaos to calm. And the best part is there’s something for everyone and every budget!
Whatever your thing, here are a few suggestions to take it all in:
Have a Sauna and Soak at Well Within Spa
Specializing in age-old treatments including sauna and massage therapy, Well Within has been a locals’ favorite for almost 35 years. Their Japanese garden complete with babbling brook, koi pond, ferns, bamboo, and banana plants will help you leave the city far behind. Reserve a sauna with a tub for $20, and for 50 minutes, allow yourself to be escorted to another place and time. Towels and a simple tea service are offered, and your private room is complete with cool drinking water, shower, and cedar decking for lounging and engaging the world outside your window. If you time it right, you can bathe in the rays of either the sun, or the moon.
Boost your therapy by enjoying an aromatic foot massage with a scrub and essential oils before your soak ($55 for 25 minutes).
417 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Tub Rooms open daily 11 am to Midnight
Try a CBD Massage at Chaminade Resort & Spa
Chaminade is one of the premier spas on the central coast and their spa services now offer a CBD cream full-body massage. Enjoy their lovely surroundings and amazing views while you experience one of the most on trend, relaxing, calming experiences around. In this offer, Chaminade celebrates our area’s pioneering days in the medical cannabis movement. Using an organic 50mg CBD cream with 8 healing herbs this special full-body massage will relax you, and soothe your sore joints and muscles. Choose between 50 Minutes or 80 minutes $145/$190. You can also add on a CBD booster to any of their signature massages, from express treatments to day-spa packages.
Chaminade Resort & Spa
One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz, CA 95065
Reservations: (800) 283-6569
Reset at Squid Row Alley
Squid Row Alley is a local’s favorite one-stop shop downtown for a lovely few hours of relaxation.
Squid Row Alley is an iconic Santa Cruz destination. The building that houses these points of respite and wellness is an erstwhile co-living and artists’ workspace. The “squid” was a favorite dish on the menu at India Joze, the restaurant located next door for decades, now occupied by the Food Lounge, a great local-chef incubator, and the new and already much-loved, 11th Hour Coffee. Back in the day there were Calamari fashion shows, parties, and parades—they recently held a reunion with over 200 people in attendance. It doesn’t get more Santa Cruz than this. Take a stroll around the block when you’re there. Much of the material history of this bucolic seaside town was lost in the ’89 Loma Prieta earthquake, but quite a bit survives. There’s a great theater, art galleries and cafés, a very old redwood with its very own plaque, and plenty of charming historical houses to boot.
Downward Dog: Baby Goat Yoga at Hotel Paradox
Yes, it’s a thing. Baby Goat Yoga at the Hotel Paradox is a recurring special event that needs to be booked a little bit ahead of time, but as the Hotel notes, “Yoga is about health and self awareness, and what’s more self aware than a baby goat?”
If you don’t need an answer to that question, this is certainly the relaxation method for you. Tap into the ancient practice in a way the ancestors might have—with ruminants.
Take a Walk in the Woods: The Redwood Forest
Are you familiar with the Japanese art of forest bathing? It doesn’t get any better than right here in Santa Cruz County. The old-growth redwood forests in the Santa Cruz mountains are hundreds of years old, thanks to the foresight of our local landowners.
And the towering old-growth redwood forests are lucky to still be here – 96% of the forests around them have been lost, mostly due to logging concerns for over the past two hundred years. Truly old-growth forests have a richness of biodiversity that is unparalleled in areas of human occupation. It’s been said that just one hour spent in these forests has the same health benefits as a whole day of a really good vacation.
The Pacific Ocean
Blue Mind studies tell us that just standing by the edge of the ocean you experience its restorative benefits. Jump right in and soak it all up: the sea energy, the minerals in the misty air, the sight of happy people enjoying themselves. This is the original saltwater treatment—from a sail on the Chardonnay, to interacting with marine life at the Seymour Center to experiencing the wonders of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center, whether you’re joining a surf group, taking a lesson, or even just simply standing on one of the county’s many beaches, your body experiences the benefits—even if you don’t feel it right away.
Just breathe, and take it all in. Whatever you need, from a soak, a deep-tissue massage, the sound of the waves, it’s all here for you.