Micro Tour: SLV

After completing your perfect itinerary for a micro tour of Felton, expand your adventures into the greater San Lorenzo Valley area for even more scenic natural beauty, great shops, and delicious dining options! The San Lorenzo Valley (SLV) area is a picturesque and secluded region in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Known for its stunning natural beauty, lush redwood forests, and charming small towns, the San Lorenzo Valley offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling cities nearby. The towns within the San Lorenzo Valley exude a laid-back charm and a strong sense of community. In addition to Felton, visitors can explore the quaint towns of Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek, and Brookdale. Each town has its own unique character, with local shops, cafes, and restaurants offering a taste of small-town life.

Morning

All across the San Lorenzo Valley there are great coffee shops to fuel up at like Coffee 9 in Ben Lomond or in Boulder Creek check out the Tree House Cafe and Jenna Sue’s Cafe. All three spots offer great coffee and filling food options, including bagels, breakfast burritos, and delicious pastries. You can also start your day with brunch from a local favorite like Rocky’s Cafe and Spanky’s or pick up some of the best sweets in the county at La Placa Family Bakery, which dishes up delectable Italian pastries!

After you’ve fueled up, head into one of the incredible nearby parks to explore the natural beauty of the San Lorenzo Valley. The San Lorenzo Valley is home to some of the oldest and tallest redwood trees in the world. These majestic giants create a serene and awe-inspiring atmosphere, perfect for hiking, camping, or simply taking in the natural beauty. Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California’s oldest state park, is a highlight of the area. Here, visitors can explore miles of trails that wind through ancient redwoods. While still rebuilding the main infrastructure of the park after the 2020 CZU fires, many of Big Basin’s hiking trails are now open. The popular Skyline to the Sea trail remains closed at this point in time, but many trails within the main area of the park are open and accessible to the public.

Quail Hollow Ranch

If you’re looking for options a little closer to town, check out the nearby Quail Hollow or Loch Lomond, which are great options for both hikers and families. Quail Hollow abounds with wildlife and even hosts private parties at their historic farmhouse. Loch Lomond is a reservoir where visitors can rent boats, fish along the scenic shores, and stroll the network of gorgeous trails.

Masood’s Tri-Tip Sandwich

Afternoon

For lunch, if you find yourself in Boulder Creek after finishing up a big hike in Big Basin State Park, grab a sandwich or some ready-made food from Wild Roots Market. If you’re near Ben Lomond after finishing your explorations at either Loch Lomond or Quail Hollow, head to a humble hidden gem, Masood’s Liquor and Deli which serves up one of the best tri-tip sandwiches in town.

Spend the remainder of your afternoon exploring the best quaint towns by strolling the downtown stretches to pursue the many businesses. The downtown area of Boulder Creek is full of excellent gift shops and antique stores, and almost every wall is covered in giant murals. One in-town favorite is the Mountain Feed and Farm Supply store, overflowing with gorgeous plants and home decor, they even host excellent pop-ups like Fika Bakeshop on special occasions. This hub of local activity in Ben Lomond is a must-visit!

A favorite for wine tasters in the area is to head to the expansive estate winery for Big Basin Vineyards. This is arguably one of the most scenic vineyards in the entire Santa Cruz Mountains Wine AVA. The best times to visit are in the summer for fireside tastings and live music or in the fall when the rolling mountain vineyard turns gorgeous fiery colors. History aficionados can visit the San Lorenzo Valley Museum to explore the rich legacy of the valley through artifacts, exhibitions, and education. There is something to explore for everyone in the San Lorenzo Valley!

Evening

Finish your day with a delicious dinner at one of the great local establishments. If you’re looking for a sit-down, high-end dining experience, head to Scopazzi’s or Aroma. Check out the beloved Red Pearl, Boulder Creek Pizza and Pub, or Sawmill if you’re looking for local favorites and family-friendly spots.

End your night with a nightcap at Henflings or the Historic Brookdale Lodge, where live music and great drinks bring the community together to end a perfect day in the San Lorenzo Valley.

The San Lorenzo Valley is a hidden gem of Northern California, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, small-town charm, and cultural experiences. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat in the redwoods, an adventure in the mountains, or a taste of local culture, the San Lorenzo Valley has something for everyone. It’s a place where time seems to slow down, allowing visitors to connect with nature and immerse themselves in the laid-back lifestyle of the Santa Cruz Mountains.