Located just 70 miles south of San Francisco and filled with sandy beaches and redwood mountains, Santa Cruz is a great laidback destination. The city is a counterculture center and known for its liberal beliefs. Santa Cruz is home to all kinds of people from the University of California students to Silicon Valley techies to surfing enthusiasts.
Some of its hotspots include the Mystery Spot, a gravitational anomaly found in the redwood forests. It includes demonstrations that defy gravity on one of the hills as well as the wooden cabin. The classic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been a prime destination for more than a century. The mile-long boardwalk is also home to an amusement park.
Take a train ride from Roaring Camp in Felton through the redwood forests to explore the Santa Cruz Mountains. The steam locomotive is a perfect way to enjoy the Californian redwoods and learn about the region from your friendly train conductor. The train even stops at an old-timey village at the summit of Bear Mountain. The village includes many picture-perfect vistas as well as an antique general store. You can also take the beach trains from the same camp. They travel through the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park alongside a scenic gorge and through the city’s streets and along the waterfront and ends at the Boardwalk. You can also check out one of the many wineries that California is known for, located in the hillsides, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
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